Fifteen teams from New Zealand and around the world are expected to line up for the 2020 New Zealand Cycle Classic, returning to its historical home in the Wairarapa.  We caught up with Jorge Sandoval to talk about the New Zealand teams that will be involved in the next edition of the race.

2020 is going to be a massive year for cycling . . . . well . . . . and sport in general being an Olympic year.  The New Zealand Cycle Classic, the country’s only UCI rated stage race, is looking forward to continuing its rich heritage of being the launch pad in the careers of several stars of the future both from New Zealand and around the world.

In 2019 the demographic of start lists in the New Zealand Cycle Classic changed considerably.  From a race where over 50% of the start list was made up of New Zealand teams, the 2019 edition featured just 5 New Zealand outfits out of 19 teams; although the startlist was still made up of 44% New Zealanders.  In 2020 the number of New Zealand teams is expected to be less again, something we asked race director Jorge Sandoval about.

Jorge is proud of the international connection that the New Zealand Cycle Classic has forged over the years; becoming a race that has drawn World and Olympic champions as well as future grand tour stars.  In the last three years the Cycle Classic has played host to riders from Japan, Switzerland, Holland, Australia, Great Britain, France, South Africa, Ireland, Italy and Malaysia; turning the New Zealand cycling scene into a beautifully multicultural scene for one epic week.

“It’s always exciting to bring international riders to New Zealand and provide them with a top quality platform on which to compete.  Equally it’s exciting for spectators to watch them in action and for young riders to have something to aspire too,” Jorge explained.

New Zealand riders generally take their place at the start list of the New Zealand Cycle Classic either in one of New Zealand’s top flight trade teams like Team Skoda Fruzio, as part of the New Zealand National Team; or within a composite team setting.  As Sandoval explained, the number of Kiwis expected in the 2020 edition has nothing to do with wanting – or not wanting – NZ riders at their home tour. 

“I’d love to have more New Zealand riders in the tour. Any local rider who has the ambition to compete in road cycling at this level should try hard to get in a composite team for New Zealand’s only UCI stage race,” Sandoval told RoadCycling.  “The experience they will get by taking part in this event is invaluable.  Not only is it five days of high level racing, but it is working as a team, complying with UCI rules and seeing how they compare to international riders at the same level.”

For anyone wanting to compete in the Cycle Classic as part of a composite team at this stage there are opportunities available for two outfits with the possibility for that to expand.  However, time is of the essence for anyone thinking of taking this avenue so be sure to make contact with Jorge through the New Zealand Cycle Classic website or via the event Facebook page as soon as possible.  “At this stage we’ve two composite teams in the 2020 Tour with an opportunity to make two more if there is enough interest from New Zealand riders.  I recommend that any New Zealand riders wanting to take part contact me as soon as possible so we can finalise teams,” Jorge said.  

“However, it is important to note, especially for young riders, that this is a UCI event and they have very specific rules regarding the way composite teams are made – not just for the riders, but also in terms of team management. If people are unsure, I suggest they contact me directly so I can outline these guidelines to them.”

As for trade teams the same principle applies, the sooner contact is made the better.  “At this stage two New Zealand trade teams have contacted me for an invitation and they will be confirmed later this year.  Teams or riders wanting to start the Tour should contact me and apply for an invitation,” Jorge said.

To find out more about the 2020 New Zealand Cycle Classic or to enter click here.

Photo: Dave Lintott

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