This time next week, the 2018 New Zealand Cycle Classic will get underway in the Wairarapa with almost 100 riders taking part representing six nationalities.
The New Zealand Cycle Classic, the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 accredited tour staged in the country this year, will be held from January 17th – 21st 2018 with riders coming from Australia, England, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Switzerland. Included in this is, for the first time, the Swiss National Pursuit team who are using the Tour as an important part of their preparation for the 2018 World Track championships held in Holland and the Australian Cycling Academy team and Brisbane Continental cycling team.
Returning are English based professional team JLT Condor and Australian based professional teams Bennelong SwissWelness, featuring defending champion Kiwi Joe Cooper; Oliver’s Real Food Racing, GPM Stulz and Mobius Future Racing.
Race director Jorge Sandoval is excited about the starting list and says Kiwi riders to watch include Cooper, Michael Vink (Brisbane Continental team) and Brad Evans (Mobius).
Australian riders expected to do well include Michael Potter, who finished third during the weekend’s Australian Road U23 Championships and Ryan Thomas from Brisbane Continental Cycling Team. In addition, Sandoval predicts big things to come from Australian Sam Crome from the Bennelong SwissWelness Cycling Team.
“Sam is a strong hill climber and won last year’s stage up Admiral Hill,” he says. He has been very active in the 2017 Asian calendar and finish 7th during this month’s Australian elite road championships – seconds behind some of the Tour de France riders.”
This will be the 31st year the New Zealand Cycle Classic has been held. After several years being staged in Wellington and the Manawatu, the five stage elite men’s road race returns to the Wairarapa, one of New Zealand’s most popular road cycling destinations located only one hour’s drive or train ride from Wellington, the country’s Capital City.
The Tour has developed a reputation for unearthing new talent, with many of riders having gone on to win stages in the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy and world championship titles.
This year, the tour features two new routes that weave through Wairarapa’s rolling country side and will also see the team’s presentation held during a festive evening setting on Tuesday, 16th January at Mitre 10 Mega in Masterton. This promotional evening will include a freestyle BMX display; fun cycle obstacle course for children; a free barbecue and a promotional circuit ride for club riders. The elite teams will also ride the same Criterium circuit enabling spectators to get a taste of what exciting, international racing will unfold in the coming days.
Being held simultaneously, is Huri Huri a series of community based cycling events designed to celebrate the Wairarapa’s bike-friendly roads, tracks and trails; the people that ride on them and the bikes they ride. These include: an opportunity to explore the historic Castlepoint Station by bike along three different coastal tracks on Saturday, 20th January and fun, family events during the team’s presentation on Tuesday, 16th January.
DETAILS FOR THE 2018 NEW ZEALAND CYCLE CLASSIC
Teams Official Presentation & Promotional Criterium: Tuesday, 16th January 2018
Mitre 10 Mega Masterton, evening
Includes teams presentation, Criterium, Huri Huri BMX display, family BBQ
Stage One. Wednesday 17th January 2018
Masterton – Alfredton – Masterton
Stage Two. Thursday, 18th January 2018
Masterton – Gladstone Circuit – Masterton
Stage Three. Friday, 19th January 2018
Masterton – Martinborough
Stage Four. Saturday, 20th January 2018
Masterton – Te Wharau – Admiral Hill
Huri Huri event
Explore Castlepoint Station by bike, 20th January 2018
Stage Five. Sunday, 21st January 2018
Masterton. Riders complete 12 laps of a 10km circuit.