Team Skoda Racing set to target U23 Jersey at the New Zealand Cycle Classic

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Morgan Smith finished fifth in the opening time trial of the Tour of Bright, photo Team Skoda Racing

Team Skoda Racing have announced their team for the upcoming New Zealand Cycle Classic 2.2 UCI Tour and will bring a team focused on winning the Under 23 Jersey. New Zealand’s leading U23 Team come into the race after taking out the U23 National Time Trial Championships last weekend and strong performances at China’s Tour of Quanzhou Bay 2.2 UCI and the Tour of Southland.
Lining up for Team Skoda Racing is some of the country’s best Under 23 talent. Leading the Team will be Tour of Southland’s U23 Pink winner – Alex West and 2017 Junior Cyclist of the Year Ben Hamilton. West has been in exceptional form over the past 12 months and finished fourth in both the Time Trial and the Road Race at the U23 Nationals last weekend in Napier. He was runner up in the U23 standings at last year’s Cycle Classic and will be looking to go one better this year. Ben Hamilton continues his progression as one of the finest up and coming riders in the country and starts the tour after a stage podium finish in the Tour of Quanzhou Bay in China. Hamilton was the 2017 Junior National Road champion and finished a credible sixth in the U23 championships last weekend. For Hamilton, the New Zealand Cycle Classic gives him the opportunity to benchmark himself against the best U23 riders from New Zealand and Australia.
Joining West and Hamilton are Joel Yates, Harry Waine, Max Jones and Bradley Leitch. Joel Yates will lead the team on the road and will bring a wealth of knowledge and leadership to the team after competing in the United States last year. He will be in the final stages of fine tuning his form before heading off to United States to race for Gateway Harley Trek on the pro circuit. Waine joins the line up as a member of the Elite National Track Team that recently competed in Canada and Chile. The team ran red hot where they won two gold medals in the Team Pursuit events. He and Jones will head to the tour after competing in the Bundaberg International this weekend in Australia where they will be looking to sharpen their sprinting power. Rounding out the team is Bradley Leitch. Leitch played a key role in the Team’s Southland successes and has proven to be a big engine on the flats. Managing the Team will be Dan Waluszeski. Dan recently successfully managed the Team at the Tour of Quanzhou Bay.
Team owner, Brad Tilby says “The New Zealand Cycle Classic still sits as the pinnacle tour in New Zealand. You only have to look at previous winners of this tour to know if you get a good result here, the doors open pretty fast on the international scene. Last year we went close with Alex holding the U23 jersey for a number of days before losing it to the eventual winner. We have learnt a lot since last year and strengthened our line up with a number of riders capable of riding good position in the peloton and pulling big turns when needed. We will push for the Overall general classification and the U23 title but also look for further opportunities from our sprint options on the flatter stages”
The New Zealand Cycle Classic runs from the 17th to the 21st January. The Tour will see teams from New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland and the UK compete over five stages around the wider Wairarapa region. The race will feature the queen stage around the Masterton region with a hill top finish up the 500m Admirals Hill
Full team line up
Riders: Alex West, Ben Hamilton, Joel Yates, Max Jones, Bradley Leitch, Harry Waine
Management: Dan Waluszewski, Brad Tilby, Steffan Fuller
Team sponsors – Skoda New Zealand, Trek Bicycle, DT Swiss, CCN Sport, Torpedo7, Bontrager, Shimano Road, Ilabb, Vittoria Tyres, Kitbrix, Revbox, Pure Nutrition, Biomaxa, Onfire Design.
Follow the team across the season on their social media pages to keep up to date with the latest race schedule and results.
For further information please email: [email protected] or phone: 021 512345

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