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Cyclists Take To Mount Streets For Criterium

Cyclists Take To Mount Streets For Criterium

The second annual Mount Criterium will hit the streets on Tuesday, December 28.

Last year Community Sport Trust, Community Sport Trust, Cycle Action Tauranga, Tauranga Cycle Club and Mount Mainstreet got together to trial a criterium through the Mt Maunganui streets. The 2004 event was a success, encouraging organisers to make it an annual event.

Based from the Phoenix Shopping Centre, cyclists race over a tight 1.1 kilometre course through the main streets of the Mount shopping centre.

In a criterium, cyclists race over an elected time period and determine the number of laps they will complete. A bell is rung to signal the start of the race and cyclists dropping off the leading bunch, or stopping to fix a puncture, are out if lapped.

Organiser Iris Thomas says criterium racing is extremely fast and a very tactical sport with the first-past-the-post declared the winner.

Last year the A Grade comprised of an impressive line up of many of the country's top cyclists, from young juniors like Sam Bewley and Mark Langlands right through to veterans such as the legendary Jack Swart.

"Riders set a hot pace, but a breakaway by a bunch of four - Matt Gilbert, Marc Mackay, Scott Guyton and Geoff Burndred - shortly after the half way point sealed the finishing order, with the main bunch never reeling this group back in. A couple of first placings in the sprints saw Marc Mackay the eventual winner," Thomas says.

The December 28 event will finish of a weekend of mountain biking on the Mount with the annual uphill and downhill race being held just prior. In fact a special section has been included in the criterium for 'knobbly tyres", where newcomers, triathletes and juniors are catered for. A and B grade events are available for more experienced cyclists and will be the most spectacular to watch.

Community Sport Trust was forced to knock their annual Tauranga Criterium on the head a few years ago when the Edgewater Project was developed downtown. Thomas says she's thrilled to be able to stage another criterium in Mt Maunganui.

"The criterium will be an exciting event to add to the Christmas and New Year calendar and another opportunity to portray Tauranga as 'the place to be' for sporting events – for both competitors and spectators," Thomas says.

The Mount Criterium will start at 5.30pm from the Phoenix Shopping Centre.


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