Two years have passed since Evelyn Stevens won the Trust House Women's Tour of New Zealand, but she will be the defending champion when the race returns next month.
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Stevens beat Australian Shara Gillow to win the UCI women's event in 2012 while racing for the Specialized-lululemon team.

Since then the race has had a two-year hiatus due to financial restraints, however the women's event will return this year thanks to the hard work of race director Jorge Sandoval.

The five-stage tour will take place entirely in the Wairarapa region in the lower North Island, from 18 to 22 February. The event is the third on the 2015 UCI Women's Calendar following races in Argentina and Qatar.

Stevens, who has won some of the big crowns in women's cycling including La Fleche Wallonne Feminine and La Route de France, will lead the USA National team.

The USA team's confirmation is great news forSandoval who says they will travel to New Zealand five days before the tour begins to do a training camp.

"Having the USA national team in the Wairarapa riding the Trust House Women's Tour is a big deal. They will come here fully prepared to win and news of their results will go around the world helping lift the profile of the race," said Sandoval.

"International teams know that winning this tour will enable them to pick up valuable international ranking points which will help qualify riders and teams for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games."

The Trust House Women's Tour of New Zealand begins on Wednesday 18 February with a 15km team time trial around Masterton.

USA National Team for the 2015 Women's Tour of New Zealand: Evelyn Stevens, Lauren Hall, Tayler Wiles, Megan Guarnier and Andrea Dvorak.