Between 20 - 24 January 2016 New Zealand sports fans will be treated to top-level road cycling when the New Zealand Cycle Classic is held in the Wairarapa. The international five-stage tour is a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 accredited tour and has attracted a top field of elite male riders says Race Director Jorge Sandoval.
“This year’s field is beyond my expectations with 90 riders representing a total of nine overseas teams as well as nine New Zealand teams. This event is Oceania’s only UCI 2.2 international cycle tour so to have such strength of riders is great,” says Sandoval. “All Australian and English teams have been racing at the highest level for the last month and will arrive race-fit. With the hilly course we have prepared for them around the Wairarapa, only the fittest will survive.”
Nine New Zealand teams have entered the Classic including a strong NZ national team lead by 2014 tour winner Michael Vink and 2015 Tour of Tasmania and tour of Southland winner Brad Evans. Meanwhile the Trust House cycling team is led by 2010 winner and professional rider Michael Torckler while the NZCT team is led by international Tim Rush and supported by strong riders from England and Australia.
Sandoval is also expecting new talent to emerge during the event which gets underway at 10am on Wednesday, January 20th 2016 from the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park in Masterton.
“Each year the Classic unearths new talent, and a number of those riders go on to win stages in the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy and world championships. We are also grateful for the continuous support from Trust House and NZCT to the event and the sport of cycling. Their support enables young up and coming New Zealand cyclists to get the experience of competing against top rider’s right here in our own country,” says Sandoval.
Complementing the Classic and being held simultaneously is Huri Huri: Wairarapa’s Bike Festival which celebrates the Wairarapa’s bike-friendly roads, tracks and trails; the people that ride on them and the bikes they ride. ‘Huri Huri’ comes from the Maori word Huri meaning to turn over, to revolve and to spin. The 2016 Festival (www.hurihuri.co.nz) has a variety of events and activities held across the region, catering to all levels of involvement in biking and to all ages.
NZCT is a long-time supporter of the New Zealand Cycle Classic. The accompanying images are from the 2015 race.