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Wairarapa teams well prepared for NI series

Mark Langlands will take on the big guns in category one. PHOTOS/FILE


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Trust House North Island Team Series organiser Jorge Sandoval is predicting big things for Wairarapal riders in this year’s series, which gets under way on Sunday.

Eighteen Wairarapa riders have entered the series, including two women, Belinda Fuller and Emily Lutyens, who will race for the second of the two Tararua Builders teams.

Belinda Fuller will ride for Tararua Builders

Fuller was a bronze medallist in the Masters’ 45-49 age group at the 2019 national championships, and Lutyens has been a consistent performer in Athletics and Cycling Masterton events.

Both will race in the Tararua Builders category four team, and the other team will contest category three.

Sandoval was confident both teams would perform well over the series since having started their preparations six or seven weeks ago.

“Since they put the teams together, they have been training really hard, have been doing training camps, and have been riding the circuit on Sundays,” he said.

“Hopefully, this is the year they can win a couple of races or finish high up in the final classification because they’ve never done this sort of training before.”

The category three team includes Simon Butler, Dominic Green, Richard van Lent, Eric d’Arbois, Gareth Price, Ant MacKenzie, Robert Graham, and Jeff Saywell.

The category four team comprises Peter James, Mike Wilkinson, Andrew Linton, Andrew Curtis Cody, Warwick Burr, Robert Jacques, Phil Sutherland, Andrew Osmond, Lutyens, and Fuller.

Another three Wairarapa riders – Mark Langlands, Josh Van Woerkom, and Tom McCallum – will take on the big boys in category one as part of the Couplands Bakeries-Booth’s Group team.

For the first time, two women’s teams will contest the series.

Wellington teams Chain Breakers and Wheelworks will race in category three. Sandoval said the teams had very accomplished riders and should provide good competition for the men in that category.

Commonwealth and Olympic representative Kate McIlroy is the sole woman to contest category one. She competed in last year’s series in preparation for this year’s Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed to next year.

Sandoval said the international-laden Black Spoke team led by former world omnium champion Aaron Gate would start as the favourites.

“They will be very hard to beat, but there are a lot of up-and-coming riders in the field and they’re not going to make it easy for those guys.”

Sunday’s first race will start and finish in Alfredton, with the category one teams racing over 102km from 10am. The other categories will complete 68km.

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