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Black Spokes add spice to Classic

The Black Spokes will debut in the NZ Cycle Classic. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

CYCLING

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

The Black Spokes, New Zealand’s newly-formed professional road cycling team will, make their racing debut at next month’s New Zealand Cycling Classic in Wairarapa.

The team were launched in Auckland on Tuesday and are the brainchild of former professional racer, Scott Guyton, and his wife, Vanessa, also a former top cyclist.

Backed by successful businessman Murray Bolton, a passionate cyclist and a former stakeholder in the Blues Super Rugby franchise, the Black Spokes have a full international licence for second tier tours.

Headlining the team is Aaron Gate, who won gold medals in the madison and omnium respectively at the track World Cup meetings in Cambridge and Brisbane.

Gate, the defending champion at the Classic, is focused on his track riding programme with the world championships and the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon.

Hayden McCormick, the 2018 Classic winner, returning to New Zealand after several years racing in Europe, and James Oram, who led the Mitchelton-Bike Exchange Continental team on the Asian circuit last year and was a previous stage winner in the Classic are other seasoned professionals in the team.

The youth is provided by Under-23 riders Luke Mudgway and Ethan Batt, as well as five Under-19 riders – Kiaan Watts, Ari Scott, Josh Kench, Drew Christensen and Xander White – who are stepping up to the
Under-23 ranks.

Race director Jorge Sandoval said on Wednesday things just got interesting for the five-day tour with the inclusion of the Black Spokes.

“While the team is new, there is such a strong connection with the race with many of the riders having claimed stage wins in previous tours while Hayden McCormick and Aaron Gate have previously won the overall title” he said.

“I’ve no doubt their inclusion will make for such an exciting race.

“We’ve been fortunate in the past to see Oram, McCormick, and Mudgeway all ride on the challenging routes in Wairarapa and I’ve no doubt their knowledge and intel will help the team no end.

“It’s fair to say, things just got interesting.”

The Black Spokes will be managed by Scott Guyton, Australian broadcaster and Giro d’Italia stage winner David ‘Macca’ Mackenzie and high-performance coach, Marc Prutton.

The Black Spokes join international teams from Japan, Guam, Sweden, and Malaysia for the only Union Cycliste Internationale 2.2 event being staged in New Zealand next year.

The country’s premier cycle race will be raced over five stages in Wairarapa from January 15–19.

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