New Zealand will field a national team at the 2018 New Zealand Cycle Classic which gets underway on 17th January. The team of six riders features 2015 winner Taylor Gunman with all riders having come off the back of the recent BDO New Zealand Road Cycling Championships in Napier.
A late addition to the race, the six-man team features a diverse range of talent. Joel Yates, now officially formerly of Team Skoda Racing, is part of the team as he gets set to venture to America in 2018 with Gateway Harley-Davidson/Trek Development Team with whom he rode briefly in 2017. His crit-friendly style of racing will team up well with the fast finishing Luke Mudgway who has spent the last 12+ months devoting himself to the road. Mudgway raced with the New Zealand National Team at last year’s New Zealand Cycle Classic and was a notable breakaway figure over the course of the race.
Former Cycle Classic champion Taylor Gunman will bring his GC-victory-know-how to the team. Gunman was one of the early breakaway riders at the Elite Road National Championships and won stage 3 of the SBS Bank Tour of Southland towards the end of 2017. Together with Oram and McCormick their ability to challenge for GC honours and accolades in the tougher stages cannot be underestimated.
Oram comes to the Cycle Classic on the back of 7th place in the individual time trial and a strong 5th place in the road race in Napier. Oram’s time trial background has been a major asset in the past, and the same can be said for former U23 national champion Hayden McCormick who will head into the race on the back of finishing second to Jason Christie in Napier.
McCormick had the emotions of losing friend Jason Lowndes to a training accident in Australia as a strong motivator in Napier and as Lowndes was due to race for JLT-Condor at the Cycle Classic expect emotions to run high among a number of riders and friends who knew him well. McCormick’s performance was a very strong one in Napier with the Waikato rider keeping pace with World Tour breakthrough rider George Bennett as well as Michael Torckler and eventual champion Christie.
The 2018 New Zealand Cycle Classic will get underway in the Wairarapa next week with over 100 riders taking part representing seven nationalities. This tour, the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 accredited tour staged in the country this year, will be held from January 17th – 21st with riders coming from Australia, England, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Switzerland.
The current New Zealand National Team for the New Zealand Cycle Classic is:
One rider TBA