The Central Hawkes Bay town of Waipukurau will host the Vantage Windows and Doors Age Group Road Cycling Championships when it returns to the North Island in 2020.

The largest township in the Central Hawkes Bay district, Waipukurau, 40 minutes south of Hastings, will stage the championships for the first time on the revised dates of 17-19 April 2020, the week after Easter and middle week of the school holidays.

The revised date avoids a clash with Anzac Day commemorations.

This year’s Vantage Age Group Road National Championships, held in Pleasant Point, attracted over 500 of the best age group riders from around the country, with cyclists from under-15 years to Masters, including para cyclists vying for World Championships selection.

Waipukarau will host the 2020 Age Group Road Nationals, photo provided

Waipukurau has strong historic community support for cycling, and will present courses for time trialling and road racing that take in the rugged, natural landscapes the region is known for.

The town is no stranger to top level cycling as the hometown of current Vantage elite endurance rider Regan Gough who has an impressive road and track palmares that includes road and track national championship titles, junior and elite track world championship titles and medals, and a Halberg Award.

His cousin Westley Gough, also from Waipukurau, was an Olympic medallist in 2008 and 2012 and a team pursuit junior world champion, and a double world championship medallist in the team pursuit and individual pursuit in 2012.

Tim Mackie, Cycling CHB’s event spokesperson said the club are excited about bringing the Vantage Age Group Road National Championships to the region.

“We are over the moon that our friendly rural town will host such a major event. It is an exciting reward for the five life members and hardworking committees who over the past 26 years have run the Tour De Beautiful Central Hawkes Bay.”

“We would like to thank our local CHB District Council who are 100 percent behind promoting our region as a tourist destination and their support towards our club hosting this prestigious event.”

“Cycling CHB look forward to providing an exciting, fun, safe and friendly event that will showcase our natural landscapes and beautiful vistas,” said Mackie.

Cycling CHB has a strong regional cycling event programme that includes the Tour de Beautiful, and the Ultimo Cycling CHB Junior Tour, which has been identified as a key event for aspiring road riders from the under-13 to under-19 age groups over the last decade.

New Zealand Road and Track Council president Mike Sim was impressed with the application put forward by Cycling CHB.

“Cycling CHB’s bid was successful off the back of the club’s commitment to ensuring the event provides an exciting and challenging course appropriate for a range of age groups. This, alongside the obvious passion and support from the local community were compelling reasons to bring the age group event to the Central Hawkes Bay region for the first time.”

The championships will comprise 15km and 25km time trials for all grades on Friday 17 April followed by two days of road races on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 April.

Cycling New Zealand CEO Jacques Landry said it was great to see strong support from the local community and renewed enthusiasm for the event.

Ally Wollaston celebrates winning the U19 women’s road race at the 2019 championships, photo Bradley Powdrell

“It was fantastic to have a number of clubs put their hand up to host the 2020 Vantage Age Group Road National Championships,” he said.

“The evolution of this event over the past few years has created the platform for clubs to really showcase their region and volunteer passion to cyclists around the country. It’s clear that Cycling CHB have put a lot of time and effort into their bid and have the full support of the Central Hawkes Bay District Council, Hawkes Bay Tourism and the local community to ensure the event is a success.

“Taking the event to a new location provides a new challenge for riders and will give Cycling CHB the opportunity to grow their event management experience to ensure the region continues to have a strong club cycling scene.”

Entries for the event will open later in the year and more details will be released closer to the time.

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