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Top riders heading here

The opening round of the five race Trust House North Island Team Series, to be held in the Wairarapa, has attracted a who’s who of top road cyclists from around New Zealand.

This Sunday ‘s event features a 12km team time trial (TTT) as well as a 120 km road race and has attracted 22 teams and 180 riders from around the country.

Race director Jorge Sandoval said well-known names such as ex Olympian Gary Anderson, who will be racing in the master’s grade, top pro rider Michael Torckler and Wellington road champion David Rowlands, will be amongst the starters.

“Thanks to the generous support from Trust House, the North Island Team Series has returned to the Wairarapa, one of the best road cycling destinations in New Zealand,” says Sandoval.

“Being a team series, it makes sense to have a TTT to give riders the opportunity to compete against other teams to see who fares best over the flat, 12km course, which given it is spring, has the potential to be windy.”

Sandoval says the TTT will make for exciting viewing for spectators and challenging riding for competitors.

“In the same tradition as teams’ time trials in the Tour de France, teams in the Trust House Series will start with eight riders each at one minute intervals completing a 12km circuit in the Gladstone area” .

“Then, after the TTT, elite riders will complete four laps of a 30km circuit and master riders will do three laps in Gladstone. The circuit features a small hill each lap that should test all riders.”

The race for the men’s elite and men’s under-23 titles are wide open, but Sandoval says riders to watch are top pro Michael Torckler racing for the Blindz Direct cycling team; Wellington road champion David Rowlands, Andy Hagan and Matt Markby.

Of interest to local supporters will be the debut of Masterton’s young and upcoming rider Tom McCallum in the elite field.

“Even though it will be a hard task for the young Tom to compete against more expert and seasoned riders, he is in good form and should be up there at the finish,” says Sandoval.

In the master’s grade, ex -Olympian Gary Anderson, riding for the Velo Ronny’s Trek cycling team, is one of the high profile names in the field. Anderson attended four Olympics, won the bronze medal at the 1992

Olympic Games in Barcelona and won eight medals at the Commonwealth Games, including three gold medals at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland.

Allan Pollard, Trust House’s chief executive ,is excited about being a major supporter of this event, which brings highly competitive road cycling to the Wairarapa.

“This series offers an opportunity to show off the Wairarapa and some of, arguably, the finest cycling road courses in New Zealand,” says Pollard.

Sunday’s TTT begins at 10.00am from Gladstone while Sunday’s road race begins at 11.00am from the Gladstone Sports Complex.

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