This coming Saturday, some of New Zealand’s best cyclists, along with an estimated 7,000 other riders will be taking on the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge in the Central North Island.
Among the top riders in the Holden Men’s Classic elite race will be 2012 Olympic and 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Aaron Gate, Mike Northey who placed 2nd in the race last year and recently won another Criterium National title, along with James Oram who’s been riding on the European pro circuit for Axeon Pro Cycling. Another to watch out for is up and coming junior rider Sam Dobbs who will be joining the BMC Development Team in 2016.
Aaron Gate is looking forward to returning to NZ’s largest cycling event commenting, “The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge was the first big event of my cycling career, when I completed it in 4:45 on my 15th birthday, back in 2005. It’s now an event that I always look forward to being able to line up in.”
Recalling that first time though, Aaron recalls that it was not all happiness that first time around the lake. “I will admit,” he said. “That in 2005, I vividly remember halfway up the infamous Hatepe hill blurting to my Dad, Murray, who’s completed the challenge himself at least 11 times, ‘I never want to do this stupid ride again!’ I think the next day though I was already looking forward to bettering my time next year. That’s the great thing about the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, it caters to everyone who can jump on a bike and pedal! The Holden Men’s Classic is going to be one hell of a race this year, with so many guys coming off the Tour of Southland in great form, and I can’t wait to get on that start line by the great lake.”
Defending her 2014 Women’s Taupo title will be Ruby Livingstone who has been riding in Europe with the BePink LaClassica racing team based out of Italy. She’ll be joined by three other top 5 finishers from last year in Hannah Van Kampen, Michaela Drummond and Amanda Jamieson.
The Contact Huka XL mountain bike race sees veterans of the sport Garth Weinberg and Marco Renall returning with young bloods Henry Janie, Andrew Bamford and Joe Sutton.
Event organisers have opened late entries for anyone who missed out on early registrations. Late entries are available online at www.cycelchallenge.com from 6am Tuesday 24th – 6am Thursday the 26th or at the event at the Great Lake Centre in Taupo from 10am–10pm on Friday 27th November (the day before the event).