Italian Under-23 national team rider Francesco Bettini will make his Kiwi debut at this month’s New Zealand Cycle Classic. Bettini, nephew of former top pro cyclist and 2004 road Olympic champion Paolo Bettini, will lead Italian based team Figros Snep during the UCI 2.2 five stage cycle tour being held from January 22nd – 26th 2017.
Bettini, who at his young age has proven to Italian selectors that he is good enough to be a member of their U23 national team, will be accompanied by some of his country’s best age group riders including Francesco Mancini, Leonardo Tortomasi and Ricardo Marchesini. New Zealand rider Ryan Christensen will also line up after being signed up by the team to take part in their 2017 European campaign.
New Zealand Cycle Classic Race director Jorge Sandoval, who is always seeking to attract big name teams and riders to his events, is thrilled to secure the Italian team for the first time.
“Cycling in Italy is second only to religion,” says Sandoval. “People from around the world know Italy as a strong European cycling nation and having this team contest the New Zealand Cycle Classic and racing alongside the Colombian riders already announced, will create strong interest in the 2017 Classic and help enhance its standing internationally.”
As well as the Italian team, Sandoval also announced two other UCI professional teams for the event. These include the powerful 7Eleven-Roadbike team from the Philippines and the IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness (formerly k
nown as Avanti team) from Australia which has a reputation for providing riders to Pro teams.
The 7Eleven-Roadbike team is led by experienced Spanish rider Nohales Nieto Edgar who will be supported by Jesse James Ewart, Craig Evers, Josh Berry and Dominic Perez.
The IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness team is led by Patrick Lane who finished second in this event in 2011 and over the last three years has competed extensively in Europe winning a stage in Tour of Germany and Italy and claim third in the 2016 Australian road championships. Riding next to Lane is Robbie Hucker, winner of the 2016 Tour of Taiwan, Sam Crome and Jeremy Cameron.
“There are three powerful teams coming to Wairarapa later this month who all have the aim of taking the title back to their country. Any of these teams have riders good enough to win the 30th running version of the event,” says Sandoval. “With other teams already announced, including those made up of American, Colombian and New Zealand riders, this month’s tour is shaping up to be one of the best in its 30 year history,” says Sandoval.
For more information please visit www.cycletournz.com.