KIRSTEN Howard might have been a surprise inclusion for Dutch outfit Maaslandster Veris in the Tour of Zhoushan Island last week, but the Bathurst cyclist certainly impressed.
Howard first linked with the international outfit last year and did enough for team officials to invite her back once more.
She both played an important role in helping Maaslandster to be the top ranked club team in the Chinese tour and assisted team-mate Sari Saarelainen to a top 25 finish.
On a personal level in the three-day tour which saw 24 riders withdraw, Howard did well to finish 35th in the general classification. She was 14 minutes, 37 seconds down on victor Charlotte Becker.
In the opening 85.35 kilometre stage Howard was given the same time as winner Emily Moberg after crossing the line in 32nd. She was 42nd in stage two after “suffering incredibly” according to the Maaslandster Facebook page, but in the final leg, Howard again was given the same time as the day’s victor as she placed 27th.