Points up for grabs in international cycling event

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Stephen Stannard will direct the Gravel and Tar Classic into its first edition at UCI status in 2018, photo provided

In just a few weeks, teams will start rolling in for Manawatu’s premiere cycling event with many looking to attain valuable UCI points on offer.

Australian-based Mobius-BridgeLane, in its first year as a registered UCI-Continental team, will be contesting the Gravel and Tar Classic starting in Palmerston North on Saturday, 27 January. 

Coming on the back of a growth year in 2017, where team manager Tom Petty turned down the opportunity to obtain a Continental license, he instead focussed on the long-term stability of the team by having well-recruited and strong cyclists.

Amongst Petty’s 19-strong team are four New Zealanders. Dunedin cyclist Brad Evans, a 2017 Tour of Southland stage winner joined the squad late last year and under Mobius-BridgeLane will target as much UCI racing during 2018, as well as being a team captain passing on his knowledge to other riders.

Southland rider Nick Kergozou is a New Zealand track cycling representative and looking for a place in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. His inclusion into the 2018 Mobius-BridgeLane squad is his first foray into professional cycling.

The other two cyclists are Ethan Batt and Carne Groub, both 19 years old, who form part of the U21 development being mentored to ride in the next year or two at Continental level.

Petty will name his strongest team for the Gravel and Tar Classic in the coming weeks as he takes his team globetrotting in search of UCI points.

Cycling’s international body, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) accredited the Gravel and Tar Classic a level 1.2 status which not only recognises the high standard of event but also puts the event on the International Cycling Calendar. 

The cost of meeting the UCI requirements for this 1.2 level race was made possible through a successful application to the CEDA (Central Economic Development Agency) Major Event Fund.

by Colleen Sheldon

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