Two-time Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond has completed his transformation to cycling, with selection for the New Zealand team to the UCI road championships in Norway.

Bond has flirted with cycling as part of his cross-training for rowing in recent years, but began focusing on the bike, after he and Eric Murray defended their coxless pair title at Rio last year.

He finished runner-up to veteran Jack Bauer in the national time trial championship, before training and racing in UK with a time trial-specific coaching group.

"We have been so impressed with the performances and the attitude from Hamish in his switch to cycling," said Cycling New Zealand chief executive Andrew Matheson.


"It is very clear to us why he has achieved so much, because he has left no stone unturned in his preparation, including a lot of work on the course."

Bond will be join Tour of California winner George Bennett in the time trial at Bergen next month.

Bennett was headed towards a top-10 finish in last month's Tour de France, when he was forced to withdraw through exhaustion, but will line up for the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) this weekend.

The climbing star will forego the road race at the championships and is buoyed by the unique nature of the elite men's time trial course in Norway. Normally the domain of the power riders over a 50km mainly flat course, this year, it is the shortest at 31km, but with a brutal final 3.4km climb with a gradient of around nine percent.

The 13-strong New Zealand team also includes rising stars Patrick Bevin and Dion Smith, who both made their debuts in the Tour de France this year, while the women's team is headed by 2015 world time trial champion Linda Villumsen and fellow Rio track Olympian Jaime Nielsen, who recently set the fastest sea-level time in history for the women's one-hour time trial.

Bevin, 26, the 2016 national time trial champion, has enjoyed an outstanding season for his Cannondale-Drapac World Tour team, highlighted when he was pipped for the win by superstar Philippe Gilbert in stage two of the Tour de France.

Smith, 24, third at the national road championships, was left without a pro team in January, before receiving a late call to join pro continental team Wanty-Group Gobert, based in Belgium. There he has prospered, including a debut at the Tour de France, where he finished inside the top-20 in the youth classification and figured in the bunch sprint with the same time as the winners in three stages.

They are joined in the road race by 2014 Commonwealth Games medallist Jack Bauer, who produced a powerful performance for the crack Quick Step-Floors team in the Tour de France, a key figure in the train that set up sprinter Marcel Kittel for five stage wins.

"It is a very powerful New Zealand team and there was a lot of competition, especially for the men's road race, where we only had three quota spots," said Cycling New Zealand chief executive Andrew Matheson.

"There are several riders who are competing in the Vuelta á Espana, but we had to select the team now and just could not predict how they would come out of three weeks of very tough racing.

"But all three riders we have selected for the road race were outstanding in the Tour de France. It is probably the strongest competition we have ever had to select the men's road race team.

"George Bennett signalled to us that he was keen to compete in the time trial because of the unique nature of this course, which should suit him."

In the women, Villumsen, who will ride the road race and the time trial, returned to the Women's World Tour following a break after the Rio Olympics, with some eye-catching efforts for her Team VeloCONCEPT.

She is joined in the road race by Rio Olympian on the track Georgia Williams, 23, who has been a revelation for the Orica-Scott World Tour team this year, earning plaudits from team bosses.

Her track team-mate in Rio, Nielsen gets her chance with Villumsen in the time trial, which does not include the massive climb for the women's race.

"We are delighted that Linda has returned to the top of the women's tour and Georgia has really prospered with her opportunity with Orica-Scott, who are one of the powerhouse women's teams," said Matheson.

"Jaime has enjoyed her opportunity to test herself in time trial and her recent effort with the one-hour on the track, gives an idea of her tremendous strength and stamina."

Rio Olympian and national criterium champion Regan Gough, who rides for the An Post Chain Reaction continental team in Europe, heads the elite under 23 contingent, and will compete in both the road race and time trial.

The two other riders selected for the under 23 road race - Sam Dobbs and Luke Mudgway - have been given the opportunity to gain the experience of a major event in a very demanding race.

The team is:

Elite Men, road race: Jack Bauer (Quick Step-Floors, Takaka), Patrick Bevin (Cannondale-Drapac, Taupo), Dion Smith (Wanty Group Gobert, Auckland). Reserves: Sam Bewley (Orica-Scott, Rotorua), Aaron Gate (Aqua Blue Sport, Auckland).

Time Trial: George Bennett (Lotto NL-Jumbo, Nelson), Hamish Bond (Cambridge). Reserve: Bevin

Elite Women, Road Race: Linda Villumsen (Team VeloCONCEPT, Christchurch), Georgia Williams (Orica-Scott, Auckland).

Time Trial: Villumsen, Jaime Nielsen (Cambridge).

U23 Men, Road Race: Regan Gough (An Post-Chain Reaction, Hawkes Bay), Sam Dobbs (Attaque Team Gusto, Cambridge), Luke Mudgway (RTS Monton Racing, Hawkes Bay).

Time Trial: Gough

Junior Men, Road race and time trial: Oscar Elworthy (Barfoot & Thompson Cycling New Zealand Performance Hub, Auckland), Ben Hamilton (Barfoot & Thompson Cycling New Zealand Performance Hub, Auckland).