New Zealand's star from the Tour de France circuit will be among the riders huffing and puffing their way into Whanganui on April 6 as Julian Dean has thrown his helmet into the ring for the Tour of New Zealand.

The fourth edition of tour, which is held every two years, consists of separate North Island and South Island legs, with the riders from each converging on Wellington on April 8 for a criterium of the Parliament grounds.

Dean, a seven-time Tour de France veteran, will enter the North Island leg, which starts in Kaitaia in the far north this Saturday.

He joins multiple time Ironman champion Cameron Brown in bringing some star power to the event, which will include riders from 12 countries


The sixth day of the North Island race will start at Chateau Village at 8am in the national park and travel 80km to Pipiriki.

This will be followed at 12.30pm by a 60km stage from Ranana to Whanganui, travelling down the Whanganui River Rd and finishing at the Multisport clubrooms on Anzac Parade.

Sent off in small groups, the first riders should be there by around 2.30-3pm.

Dean said he has lived abroad for most of his adult life, so he was looking forward to spending the week in his old backyard and "meeting some new faces".

"Exploring any place by bike is always the best way and the opportunity to help out many of our important charities is going to really complete the experience for me.

"I am relishing the opportunity to pedal some of the wonderful roads in our beautiful country and share the experience with competitive and casual riders alike."

As of yesterday, the tour has raised over $250,000 for charity.