Defending champion Aaron Gate will be racing in Tour de Ranges for the 7th time in the 10 year history of the event on 12 January 2019.
Gate has come off wins in Europe, with a stand out being his win in the King of the Mountains points classification at the Tour of Austria in July.
He is returning to Tour de Ranges after winning in 2017 and 2018. This year he will have an opportunity to take a third consecutive win. Gate said Tour de Ranges is a race that covers a bit of everything, with some of the best scenery Auckland has to offer.
“It generally works out great timing wise too, because besides the couple of occasions it has clashed with a track cycling commitment, it’s a race that I’ve always been back in NZ for and I’m always ready to give it a nudge.”
Gate described the course as “rolling terrain, with some fast-flat sections and more climbs. Just remember to enjoy the snake hill descent after you slog your way up it!”
He said it is an event set apart from others as it offers such great scenery close to the hustle and bustle of Auckland traffic.
“Its popularity has definitely increased in NZ which is great to see, and it helps the local scene keep up with the international standard of race speeds going up and up, as bikes get more technical and training gets smarter.”
Gate’s top tips are to keep the fluid and food intake up from right at the start of the ride, to prevent running out of steam on the final run from the coast into Clevedon.
“One top tip I have learnt from someone though, is if you do think you may run short on energy – take a fiver in your pocket as they do pretty good ice creams at the Kawakawa bay dairy!”
Female elite athlete Georgia Danford will be riding in Tour de Ranges for the third time, after coming second in the Elite Criterium Nationals in 2018.
“I always enjoy Tour de Ranges as it is a perfect combination of rolling terrain and country roads, making for an exciting course that suits a range of riders.”
Tour de Ranges was established in 2009 and winds through the Hunua Ranges, with stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf. It was created to attract all levels of cycling ability to some of the most remarkable roads in Auckland.
Both the 110km and 30km rides are about getting out there and having a go at a road cycling event in a safe, friendly environment.
The event is under new ownership after being taken over by Nduro Events earlier this year.
Event director, Tim Farmer said he is looking forward to the 10th anniversary of the event.
“Our aim is to make it more inclusive by reintroducing female elite racing with an identical prize purse to the male category, as we see value in female cycling in NZ.”