Two of New Zealand's finest code-swapping athletes are about to be reintroduced on the international stage.

Hamish Bond and Kate McIlroy have been selected for April's Commonwealth Games as part of a 33-strong cycling squad covering track, road and mountain biking.

For McIlroy, it will remarkably be her third appearance in her third sport at the Games, with the 36-year-old having finished fifth in the steeplechase at Melbourne and 12th in the triathlon in Glasgow.

Bond, meanwhile, is set to compete in the time trial after switching from rowing following the Rio Olympics. The 31-year-old is back at the top in a different sport following his two Olympic gold medals and nine world championships, and is excited for a new, unexpected experience.


"It's a good opportunity for me to get back on the international stage. I never thought I'd compete at a Commonwealth Games, but here I am."

An easy selection after cruising to victory in the time trial at nationals, Bond noted how crucial it was to book his spot at the Commonwealth Games to keep his long-term dreams alive.

"Given the short time frame of what I'm trying to achieve with Tokyo [Olympics] as the long-term goal – I have to keep hitting the targets otherwise there's not going to be much chance of getting to Tokyo.

"I knew I had to get Commonwealth Games selection and also perform well to justify support going forward. If one of these things doesn't happen, then it's perhaps curtains on the whole lot."

The pair are part of New Zealand's largest ever cycling squad, who are a reasonable chance to improve on the 15 medals won in 2014.

Twelve riders from Glasgow return, including the defending champion men's sprint team of Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins and Ethan Mitchell.

Webster, Dawkins and Mitchell head to Switzerland tomorrow to build-up for the world championships from late February to early March, and Webster says the quick turnaround going into the Games will be crucial.

"If we lose five days to jet lag, we'll only have 13 days before the Commonwealth Games. Travelling well can be a competitive advantage and hopefully we're only affected to the same degree as the British team heading back from [the world championships] in the Netherlands."


Webster and Dawkins will be chasing medals in their third straight Games, as will road cyclist Linda Villumsen.

Other 2014 champions returning for the Gold Coast include Anton Cooper in cross-country mountain bike and Shane Archbold, who won gold and bronze on the track, but moves to the road this time.

Despite not having all of their World Tour riders available, the men's road race squad still looks strong. 2014 silver medallist Jack Bauer had previously ruled himself out of contention, but was a surprise inclusion, and will be flanked by fellow World Tour rider Alex Frame, Archbold, and Continental Tour rider James Oram.

In the women's road race, Georgia Williams will be a strong contender, supported by the likes of McIlroy and Sharlotte Lucas.

Twenty riders will be making their Commonwealth Games debuts, although track riders Zac Williams, Natasha Hansen, Olivia Podmore and Racquel Sheath were all part of the team for the Rio Olympics.


Track Cycling:

Sprint: Emma Cumming (Invercargill), Natasha Hansen (Invercargill), Olivia Podmore (Christchurch).

Endurance: Ellesse Andrews (Wanaka), Bryony Botha (Auckland), Rushlee Buchanan (Te Awamutu), Michaela Drummond (Palmerston North), Kirstie James (Dunedin), Racquel Sheath (Cambridge).

Road: Georgia Williams (Auckland), Kate McIlroy (Wellington), Sharlotte Lucas (Hokitika).

Time Trial: Linda Villumsen (Christchurch),

Mountain Bike, cross-country: Samara Sheppard (Wellington).


Track Cycling:

Sprint: Eddie Dawkins (Invercargill), Bradly Knipe (Invercargill), Ethan Mitchell (Auckland), Sam Webster (Auckland), Zac Williams (Auckland).

Endurance: Regan Gough (Hawkes Bay), Jared Gray (Hamilton), Dylan Kennett (Waimate), Nick Kergozou (Invercargill), Tom Sexton (Invercargill), Campbell Stewart (Palmerston North).

Road: Shane Archbold (Timaru), Jack Bauer (Takaka), Alex Frame (Christchurch), James Oram (Auckland). Reserve: Hayden McCormick (Te Awamutu).

Time Trial: Hamish Bond (Cambridge).

Mountain Bike Cross-Country: Anton Cooper (Christchurch), Sam Gaze (Cambridge), Ben Oliver (Rangiora)

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