Days after being crowned New Zealand road cycling champion in Hawke’s Bay, Wellingtonian Joseph Cooper has been added to the start list of this month’s UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic being held in the Wairarapa.


Cooper, who won his third national title in Napier last Sunday, will contest the five stage international event beginning on Sunday, 22nd January after being included in the IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness team. New Zealand Cycle Classic race director Jorge Sandoval said after hearing about Cooper’s top performance he contacted IsoWhey’s management and invited him to attend.


Sandoval said the team’s manager Andrew Christie-Johnston agreed to his request and as a result, Cooper will now be added to the start list.  He will ride alongside teammates Patrick Lane, Robbie Hucker, Sam Crome and Jeremy Cameron.


“This is very exciting to have our own New Zealand road champion in this year’s New Zealand Cycle Classic,” said Sandoval. “Joe is such a determined rider that having him in the tour, I believe, will force other teams to make some changes to their pre-tour tactics in order to control Joe.” 


Cooper from Wellington has been crowned New Zealand champion in the road race and time trial three times in all as well as TT Oceania champion in 2014.


The New Zealand Cycle Classic is a five-stage, elite international men’s road cycling race staged entirely in the Wairarapa. It is the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) sanctioned race to be held in New Zealand in 2017. 


It begins on Sunday, 22nd January 2017, with a 121km stage taking riders from the Wairarapa’s biggest town of Masterton to the spectacular coastal community of Castlepoint. The following day riders will complete a 147km hilly route that finishes atop of the steep Admiral Hill in Gladstone, while stage three sees riders travel from Masterton to the wine village of Martinborough and then complete eight laps of an 8km circuit. Stage four is new and will see riders head south down SH2 travelling through all five of the Wairarapa’s characterful townships before concluding with a fast and furious finish near the Martinborough Square. The fifth and final stage is based just west of Masterton and will see riders complete a fast and furious 12 lap, 10km circuit.


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.  


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