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International teams add flair

The Netherlands Global Cycling Team is set to make its debut in New Zealand at the upcoming UCI 2.2 Mitre 10 MEGA Masterton New Zealand Cycle Classic.

The event is scheduled for Wairarapa and Wellington next month. Race Director Jorge Sandoval said accomplished sprinter Bart Buijk will lead the Global Cycling Team during the elite men’s five-day tour, slated for January 10-14.

Sandoval said Buijk’s had exceptional experience, citing his impressive 10-year professional career that has seen him compete in many races worldwide. Notably, this will be Buijk’s inaugural race in New Zealand, adding an element of excitement to the event.

Backing Buijk are five other Dutch riders – Delano Swenne, Mees Willemsen, David Brinkman, Marius Hofmeester, and Jaap Voogel. The team is currently participating in the 14-day stage race Tour of Costa Rica and will touch down in New Zealand three days before the Classic starts.

Sandoval also shared his enthusiasm about the return of Japan’s KINAN Racing team to the country. The KINAN team, a top-ranked Asian UCI team, will feature two Australian riders in their lineup. The decision to kick off their racing year in New Zealand is deemed significant, highlighting the international appeal and stature of the New Zealand Cycle Classic.

“KINAN is an exceptionally competitive team that has garnered impressive achievements over the years, with their riders showcasing prowess in various prestigious tours across Asia, including Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan,” Sandoval said.

“The return of KINAN to the New Zealand Cycle Classic not only enhances the caliber of our event but also significantly elevates the profile of our region in Asia. Adding to the international flair, they will be accompanied by their dedicated media manager, providing daily updates to Japanese media from Masterton and Wellington.”

At the helm of the KINAN team are two highly experienced Australian riders, Drew Morey and Ryan Cavanagh, supported by four talented Japanese cyclists – Genki Yamamoto, Yudai Arashiro, Daiki Magosaki, and Taishi Miyazaki.

Expressing the team’s enthusiasm to compete, KINAN spokesperson Tetsuya Ishida said: “The team is looking forward to returning to New Zealand for the fourth time. They eagerly anticipate rediscovering New Zealand’s expansive natural beauty, charming cities, and the warmth of its people. We are diligently preparing for a stellar performance to make this return memorable.”

Sandoval further revealed the complete lineup of national and international teams set to participate in the 37th edition of the Classic.

In addition to the previously mentioned NZ National and USA national teams, the race will feature the inclusion of prominent professional teams such as the Australian UCI continental outfits – Team BridgeLane, CCACHE x PAR KUP Team, and St George Continental Team.

The New Zealand contingent will be strongly represented, with eight teams joining the competition, including the country’s sole UCI-registered team, the MitoQ-NZ Cycling Project squad.

Sandoval emphasised the diversity and skill of this talented group of cyclists, highlighting their potential to make a significant impact in the fiercely competitive cycling arena.

He also extended an open invitation to veteran and first-time spectators, encouraging them to witness first-hand the prowess of the teams in action.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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