The list of world class riders entered in next month’s New Zealand Cycle Classic continues to grow with teams from Sweden, Malaysia and Guam all coming to next year’s event.
Race Director Jorge Sandoval says three new international teams will make their debut in New Zealand’s premier cycle race being staged in the Wairarapa from January 15th – 19th. The five-stage elite international men’s road cycling race is the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 sanctioned race to be held in New Zealand in 2020.
Sandoval says CMI Pro Cycling, a team with a UCI registration in Guam, is one of three new teams lining up to contest the title. Interestingly, CMI Pro Cycling is made up of experienced riders from six different countries. The other two new teams coming to New Zealand are Memil Pro, a UCI continental team registered from Sweden, and Sapura team from Malaysia.
“The interest for next year’s NZ Cycle Classic from international teams has been really great and at this stage we will have 12 nationalities represented in the peloton,” says Jorge. “It’s exciting for New Zealand and the Wairarapa to lay out the welcome mat to these experienced riders and I’ve no doubt their inclusion will make for such an exciting race.”
Jorge says while CMI Pro Cycling has been in existence for nine years and was previously called Equipe CMI (registered in the USA and based in France), the line-up of riders tackling the Tour next month will be new. The team will be headed by Great Britain’s Simeon Green and French rider Guillaume Soula and will also feature Romania’s Lars Pria, Malta’s Alexander Smyth, Guam’s Jonathon Martin and Kiwi rider Matias Fitzwater.
“The team’s passion for cycling, their love of travel, exotic position in Guam as well as their mix of riders from different nationalities is what has interested CMI Pro Cycling in coming to New Zealand,” says Sandoval. “This is a formidable selected team with lots of experience in stage racing and will be the first time in our event. It’ll be interesting to see riders of so many nationalities in a team work together in order to contribute to the race and hopefully get some results”.
Simeon Green is super excited about coming to New Zealand.
“The New Zealand Cycle Classic is a race you tend to hear a bit about in Europe because it is so early, so I’ve followed it over the years. I’ve never started a cycling season this early before, but the opportunity to go all the way around the other side of the earth and race in a country you hear so many amazing things about is super motivating.
Romanian rider Lars Pria shares the same sentiment.
“(I’m) really looking forward to participating in New Zealand’s biggest race. I heard about the NZ Cycle Classic and I always wanted to participate. I’m thinking of maybe extending my NZ stay for training and discovering the North and South Islands. I’ve never been in NZ, so would be amazing to spend some more time there and see it.”
The other team making its NZ Cycle Classic debut is Memil Pro cycling team.
Team manager Fredrik Strid, from Sweden, says after the team debuted in 2017 it had a breakthrough 2018 season and this year has brought continued growth and success. They’ve achieved multiple stage wins and fourth place in the overall general classification at the Tour of Qinghai, as well as achieve podiums and top ten performances in UCI events across three different continents.
“2020 sees a strengthened team line up and further progression of a project that will see the team develop over the coming years to become a force in world cycling” Strid says.
Memil Pro will be led by Australian Samuel Volkers and also features Taiwanese rider Chien Liang Chen.
The third team making its NZ Cycle Classic debut is Sapura, led by experienced Moldovan rider Cristian Raileanu who is his Moldova’s 2019 national road champion, time trial champion as well as King of the Mountains in the 2018 Tour of Romania. He also won the Tour of Cartier in Turkey and Sandoval picks he will be one of many riders to watch in January’s Tour.
Raileanu is in great company with Australian Marcus Culey also a member of the team. Culey is a former winner of the Tour de Molvccas in Indonesia as well as stage winner of Langkawi and many others.
Being held simultaneously with the NZ Cycle Classic will be a series of community events that celebrate the Wairarapa’s bike-friendly roads, tracks and trails; the people that ride on them and the bikes they ride with.“Having the New Zealand Cycle Classic and these community events held simultaneously will give the 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 Wairarapa one road at a time,” says Mr Sandoval.
The 2020 NZ Cycle Classic is able to take place thanks to the generous support from Trust House, WBS, Mobile Communications Service, WIZwireless, Fagan Motors, Mitre 10 Mega Masterton and Lion Foundation plus all three Wairarapa District Councils.
CMI Pro Cycling Team – Guam
Simeon Green – Great Britain
Guillaume Soula – France
Lars Pria – Romania
Alexander Smyth – Malta
Jonathan Martin – Guam
Matias Fitzwater – New Zealand
Memil Pro Cycling – Sweden
Samuel Volkers – Australia
Bailey Walters – Australia
Theodore Yates – Australia
Jonathon Noble – Australia
Elliot Schultz – Australia
Chien Liang Chen – Taiwan