They’ve finished runner-up at the race in the past, but Team Skoda Fruzio will be putting their best cyclists forward for victory when they return for the 2019 Gravel and Tar UCI 1.2 Classic.

The top NZ cycling team will travel to the Manawatu in January for its fourth outing at the event, a race in which they have tasted plenty of success in the past.

Race director Steve Stannard said the team was first to get an invite having competed since the inception.

“They are professional in their approach and always come to win,” Stannard said.

Team Skoda Fruzio will be out to replicate their 2017 performance where they won the teams classification and had three riders in the top ten.  

Team Director Brad Tilby said the event was an important part of their summer programme and a great way to gain valuable UCI points.

“It’s a good opportunity to test the team against international and top New Zealand riders as we get into the cycling season,” Tilby explained.

Tilby has had high praise for the event that’s risen to establish itself as one of the most challenging one-day events in the southern hemisphere.  With plenty of experience at the race, Tilby and Team Skoda Fruzio recognise the team dynamic that has to be employed to enjoy success at the race.

While the Team Skoda Fruzio roster hasn’t been announced, the current crop of World-level juniors transitioning to the senior ranks will likely start the race.

No matter who they send, Team Skoda Fruzio will bring a line up to the race capable of winning.  The first two years of the race saw former Team Skoda Racing rider Alex West finish second behind Logan Griffin in 2016, and fellow former Skoda teammate Robert Stannard in 2017.  In 2018 Ben Hamilton was the highest placed of the team, finishing 6th behind winner Ethan Berends.  Look out for the team announcement coming up for the 2019 edition.

The Gravel and Tar Classic 2019 starts in a new location at Feilding Square and finishes at Memorial Park in Palmerston North on Saturday, 19 January 2019.  For more information on this year’s UCI Men’s and Women’s Gravel & Tar Classic or the Slicks and Stones Gran Fondo click here.

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