Top New Zealand cyclist Greg Henderson has been named to compete in the opening classic of the European season with his powerful British Sky team on Monday (Nzt) for the Paris-Nice race.
Henderson, the only New Zealand rider in the race, will be seeking to add another feather in his cap after winning the 203km first stage of last year's race by pipping Slovenian Grega Bole at the line.
Henderson will line up with Xabier Zandio Echaide, Rigoberto Uran Uran, Geraint Thomas, Jeremy Hunt and Simon Gerrans to support team leaders Bradley Wiggins from Britain and Australian Michael Rogers.
The eight-day, 1307km race begins at the village of Houdan, west of Paris and ends in Nice on March 14.
Henderson, a sprinter, will have his chances to make his mark in the first three stanzas of the race with the first day seeing a 154km circuit stage in Houdan followed by two relatively flat stages of close to 200km each before his thoughts turn to survival with the remaining five stages regularly punctuated with challenging climbs.
The other New Zealand professional in a prestigious race is Hayden Roulston for HTC-Columbia in the Tirreno Adriatico from March 9-15.
Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley (both Radioshack) will race in Belgium in the three-day Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen race while 2010 national road champion Jack Bauer has been listed by his Endura team for the Belgian race and also the three-day Murcia region race in Spain, both of which begin tomorrow (NZtime).