The Gravel and Tar Classic will see one of its most stacked line ups take to the start line featuring New Zealand’s only UCI Continental outfit courtesy of Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy.

The squad is made up of Gravel and Tar favourites, including last year’s winner and local lad Luke Mudgway, who will get the opportunity to defend his title.

Black Spoke riders who have ridden in past events are James Oram, who placed fourth this year, Hayden McCormick, third in 2018, Aaron Gate and Ethan Batt.

Other team members are first year Under 23 riders Kiaan Watts, Ari Scott, Josh Kench, Drew Christensen and Xander White.

The end goal of the Academy is seeing more New Zealand cyclists competing and winning on the world stage.

General Manager Scott Guyton says Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy delivers the missing step in the pathway to the top of the sport.

“Providing this clear pathway helps New Zealand’s existing talent unlock their potential and hopefully inspires future generations of Kiwis to consider cycling as a realistic professional sporting career.”

Gate, who was gold medal winner at the recent UCI track racing competitions in Cambridge and Brisbane, says the team has big ambitions to foot it on the world stage.

“The opportunity to develop my racing career with a New Zealand team … is amazing,” he says.

Race director Steve Stannard says the inclusion of such a high calibre team made for a great race.

“We have all the elements of a tough race and now, with the presence of some very strong riders who know the course well, it will certainly be a great spectacle for those cheering from the side lines.”

Photo: Black Spoke Pro Cycling

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