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NZ Classic race all go for Wairarapa

CYCLING
World-class road cycling will return to Wairarapa and Wellington in January for the 37th New Zealand Cycling Classic.

Race director Jorge Sandoval confirmed the Union Cycliste Internationale [UCI] 2.2 race will hit the roads from January 10-14, and he is confident of attracting a field of 120 national and international riders.

The highly anticipated five-day tour will weave through the rolling country roads of Wairarapa, featuring some of New Zealand’s toughest cycling stages, before finishing on the streets of New Zealand’s capital city.

“It’s going to be great to welcome international cyclists to the New Zealand Cycle Classic again next year, and I am confident the racing will make a significant impact in Wairarapa and Wellington, with a vibrant street circuit race taking part in the inner-city and presenting locals with a unique opportunity to witness an exceptional sporting spectacle,” Sandoval said.

In the 36-year history of the event, many aspiring riders have kickstarted their careers and used it as a stepping stone towards achieving their dreams of racing for top Pro Tour teams in Europe.

2021 Classic winner Corbin Strong raced in this year’s Tour de France for Israel Premier Tech and performed extremely well. The likes of multiple Commonwealth Games gold medallist Aaron Gate, James Oram, George Bennett, and double Olympic medallist Hayden Roulston have all tasted success in the race.

The 2024 tour, though, will have a new look with a new sponsor after the withdrawal of the support of Trust House. Sandoval is confident of announcing a new sponsor for 2024’s event in the coming weeks.

“I am deeply thankful for Trust House Foundation’s support over the years,” he said.

“Their belief in our vision and dedication to our cause enabled us to stage and expand the event year after year, providing countless athletes with a platform to showcase their talents and bringing joy to our community.”

The five-day tour is the only UCI-accredited race in New Zealand and will begin in Wairarapa on Wednesday, January 10.

The complete race routes, which are sure to include the iconic “Queen stage”, which finishes at the top of the tortuous Admiral Hill, and the crowd-pleasing criterion around the streets of Wellington, will be announced later this year, along with the national and overseas teams who will be racing.

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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