Michael Vink raising a fist in triumph after winning the 2014 New Zealand Cycling Classic. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

GARY CAFFELL

A strong field which was already set to contest Sunday’s second race of the Trust House North Island Cycling Series (NICS) in Wairarapa has become even stronger.

News broke yesterday that multiple New Zealand champion Michael Vink, who has just returned after his professional season with French team Sojasun Espoir ACNC, will be part of the Breadcraft-Cottage Lane team.

The race will begin in Martinborough and the riders will race to Ngawi and back.

Vink will be in good company.

Riding alongside him in the same team will be current Wellington champion Antony Nalder and David Rowlands, a silver medallist at this year’s UCI Gran Fondo in France.

For Vink, the opportunity to contest a high-quality event involving 23 teams and a total of 184 riders is “very exciting” and he expressed confidence his team would make a bold showing.

“We are an ambitious team with multiple goals and I feel privileged to be racing with a such a motivated and professional group of guys in one of the premier race series in the country.”

Sunday’s race covers new territory for all riders in the NICS as it will be the first time the event has gone to the fishing village of Ngawi, near Cape Palliser.

Race director Jorge Sandoval said that, while the views would be spectacular, the event would still be a real test of stamina for the elite riders, especially on the return leg when they would face one of the hardest hill climbs for any bike race in New Zealand.

“Climbing the hill back from Ngawi will test them to the max — it’s not a long climb but very steep and when you add in the likely wind factor, it could create some issues for a lot of the riders,” Sandoval said.

“Personally, I won’t be surprised if the bunch goes to pieces up this hill.”

Sunday’s race starts in Martinborough at 10.30am and will see riders race south toward Ngawi via Lake Ferry Road and Cape Palliser Road.

The turn back for elite riders will be a Ngawi village and for Masters riders, just before there.



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