Top kiwi road cyclist Hayden McCormick has confirmed he will defend his Grassroots Trust New Zealand Cycle Classic title in 2019 – hoping local knowledge and a new team will aid his cause.
McCormick, who won the 2018 title while racing for the New Zealand national team, will next year don the blue and black colours of Team BridgeLane, one of the most prominent teams racing on the Oceania circuit. This change in team follows three years of McCormick racing with ONE Pro Cycling.
The 24 year old who went to St Johns College will lead a strong team in the five-stage elite international men’s road cycling race, the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 sanctioned race to be held in New Zealand in 2019. For the first time in its 30 year history it will be staged entirely in and around the surrounds of Waipā from January 23rd – 27th 2019.
McCormick, who has just finished a strong year, is also hoping his local knowledge will pay dividends on the new routes.
“Yeah it’s my turf I grew up and know all these roads, you always have a bit of a target on your back as defending champ and it’s a hard task especially with the challenging courses,” said McCormick who finished second place at the Elite Road National Championships and fifth place in the Commonwealth Games road race before producing a number of aggressive performances at the Tour de Yorkshire and OVO Energy Tour of Britain, the latter where he picked up the most aggressive rider award on stage four.
“However I’m confident in myself and team BridgeLane that we will get the job done. I want to win in 2019, we have great equipment and races that mean something to win, I really want to put myself out there in 2019 and I’m genuinely excited to get under way after a head injury stumped 2018.”
Joining McCormick in BridgeLane is 2017 Tour winner Joseph Cooper who previously rode for Bennelong Swisswellness, a team that has come to its end. The pair will be helped out by seasoned riders Australians Ben Van Dam, Peter Livingstone, Ben Metcalfe and Lionel Mawditt.
Race director Jorge Sandoval is thrilled to welcome McCormick and Cooper back to the Tour and is looking forward to seeing them race on the new routes.
“McCormick will be racing his first international race in home ground next month, the support will be there, he knows the circuits and after a great 2018 season he should be confident going into the Grassroots Trust New Zealand Cycle Classic,” Sandoval says.
“Having Joseph Cooper in any team, you are bound to do well and go for victory. I know him very well – he’s gutsy, strong and is always ready to race. When it comes to results from most of our pro riders, Joseph Cooper has to be one of the most consistent riders out there. He has won stages in tours of Korea, Hainan, Tour of China, four New Zealand titles, Oceania time trial champion so he needs no introduction really.”
Being held simultaneously with the Grassroots New Zealand Cycle Classic is Ride New Zealand’s Festival of Cycling, a week-long festival encouraging people of all ages and stages of cycling to get out and ride more regularly. These two events have been made possible thanks to the generous support from the Brian Perry Charitable Trust and the Waipa District Council.
“Having the Grassroots New Zealand Cycle Classic and Ride New Zealand’s Festival of Cycling being held simultaneously will give the entire community a chance to see some of the world’s best riders in action and provide them with opportunities to get out on their own bikes and discover the Waipā district one road at a time,” says Mr Sandoval.
The Team BridgeLane outfit for the Grassroots New Zealand Cycle Classic is:
Team manager: Tom Petty
- Hayden McCormick winner 2018 NZCC
- Joseph Cooper Winner 2017 NZCC
- Ben Van Dam
- Peter Livingstone
- Ben Metcalfe
- Lionel Mawditt