We are delighted to be heading to New Zealand’s only UCI one-day race in 2018.  The Gravel and Tar Classic heads into its third edition with UCI status for the first time and in this week’s RoadCycling podcast we took the opportunity to sit down for a chat with race director Stephen Stannard to discuss the race and its big move forward in 2018.

It’s testament to the fantastic work done by Stephen Stannard and the team who put together the Gravel and Tar Classic that it’s come so far in such a short period of time.  Perhaps the secret lies in a very fixated approach on simply dealing with the year ahead rather than getting carried away with what the future may hold.

When we asked Stannard where the race was headed he was almost taken aback.  “Well, I haven’t thought past 2018,” Stephen told us.  “What I want to do is make sure we do a good job.  I don’t want to do too much too quickly, I wanna tick all the UCI boxes.”  That approach sees the Gravel and Tar Classic heading into its third year in good hands, with an extended route for the elite level riders of 135km to take on board as well as a capping of number of teams off at 16 teams of 5 as Stannard approaches the next stage in the evolution of the race somewhat tentatively.

In many ways it’s a testament to the work done by Jorge Sandoval and the team of the New Zealand Cycle Classic that Stannard draws comparisons to his fellow race director.  “I’d like to think we can turn it [the Gravel and Tar Classic] into something as sustainable as Jorge.  I’d like to think we can turn it into something that’s seen as the hard man’s race of Australia and New Zealand.

Find out about what’s coming up in this year’s Gravel and Tar Classic and check out our interview with Stephen Stannard below.  To find out more about the Gravel and Tar Classic click here.


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