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Time running out for Roulston

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/06/2016 Cathy Walshe

Time is running out for veteran cyclist Hayden Roulston as he looks to seal a spot in New Zealand's endurance squad to the Rio Olympics.

The 35-year-old was tempted back onto the track late last year after a long professional career on the road.

The lure of adding another Olympic medal to his collection of individual pursuit silver and team bronze from the 2008 Beijing Games was strong, but Roulston knew he had his work cut out after a lengthy absence from the boards.

He missed out on making the pursuit team for the world championships in London in March, where the team of Pieter Bulling, Dylan Kennett, Aaron Gate and Nick Kergozou could only finish seventh.

It was a major disappointment after Kennett, Bulling, Alex Frame and Regan Gough had won gold at the 2014 edition in Paris.

Roulston is part of the seven-strong squad which has been competing and training in Europe, and is currently fine-tuning in Belgium before the final cut for the Rio Games is announced on July 7.

Roulston backed the decision to leave him out of the world champs.

"I wasn't quite firing, wasn't quite where I needed to be or where I wanted to be," he told NZ Newswire.

It had been hard for him to work out what wasn't clicking for him as he felt good on other bikes.

"But on the pursuit bike I just couldn't do it. It was probably more of a positional thing than anything, but it was just a bit of a bummer to be found out pre-worlds.

"At the end of the day, it's probably better to be found out then than later."

After a solid block of training in Cambridge before the team left for Europe in May, Roulston was confident he'd made progress.

"Things are starting to happen pretty nicely, and I feel good on the bike.

"I'm going to need every day leading into the Olympics, but every single athlete needs every day. It was never going to be easy."

Despite the less-than-ideal run-in to Rio, Roulston is confident the endurance team will deliver when it matters and is adamant he can play an important part.

"It's just about focusing on those weaknesses I have, coming from the road and being so long off the track," he said.

"If I can do all that, I really believe we can do something pretty special."

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