January's men's road cycling Tour of the Manawatu will have a UCI Professional Continental team competing for the first time.
The US-based Team Type 1-Sanofi is the first overseas team confirmed for the Tour which was formerly centred around Wellington.
The team, which has six of its 21 riders with Type 1 diabetes, includes Russian Vladimir Efimkin who won a stage on the 2008 Tour de France.
Organiser Jorge Sandoval is hopeful of signing another Pro Continental team for the January 25th event, and that Bike NZ will field a national squad.
A Continental squad is a level below the Elite teams.