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Strong leadership for NZ

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Corbin Strong will lead the New Zealand National team at next month’s New Zealand Cycle Classic being staged in Wairarapa and Wellington.

Strong, who won gold in the Scratch Race on the track at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, also brings strong road racing credentials, having won the 2021 NZ Cycle Classic and being a stage winner on the 2022 Tour of Britain.

Strong will lead five young riders with experience in European tour racing, including Lewis Bower, who rides for the UCI continental French Groupama-FDJ team, hill climber Jack Drage from the American Continental Hagens Berman Axeon team, Kiaan Watts from the UCI continental Global 6 Cycling team, Ethan Craine, a member of UCI continental team, the Project Echelon Racing from USA and Alexander White who is a pro rider with the Bolton Equities Black Spoke Pro Cycling.

NZ Cycle Classic race director Jorge Sandoval said having Strong return for New Zealand’s only UCI 2.2 race after an incredible two years of racing, which saw him join UCI World Team Israel-Premier Tech earlier this year after two years with the Dutch-based SEG Academy team, is exciting news.

“I’ve been so fortunate to watch Corbin grow as an athlete from when he first began riding in the NZ Cycle Classic in 2020,” Sandoval said.

“Then he was a young rider oozing potential and possessing a huge amount of grit and tactical nous, and to see him now return in 2023 as leader of this team is not surprising for me, and I think will be a joy for all those who have followed his career – both on the road and track.”

Sandoval predicts Strong will make the greatest impact during the gruelling stage three, when riders finish atop Admiral Hill, although he is dangerous on the flat as was seen when he won stage one of the Tour of Britain in a sprint finish.

The NZ Cycle Classic will run from January 11-15, with the first three days racing in Wairarapa and the final two days in Wellington.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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