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Jazz Apples Pedal To The Podium

25 July 2006

Jazz Apples Pedal To The Podium

Just hours after American Floyd Landis made his final podium appearance in this year's Tour de France, half the world away a member of New Zealand's own Jazz Apple Cycling team climbed onto the dais in Canada's Tour de Delta.

Michelle Hyland, representing ENZA Jazz apples, earned a very close second place in the unique event, where competitors were scored on their combined times in the hill climb (a 700 metre, 9 percent grade time trial), 36 kilometre criterium, and 88 kilometre road race. Local favourite Marni Hambledon tallied a mere three points over Hyland, with less than two seconds separating the cyclists across the three disciplines.

The Tour de Delta was the final North American challenge of the Jazz Apple Cycling Team, a squad of seven of New Zealand's top women riders.

Clad in brightly branded Jazz apple uniforms, the team created exposure for the New Zealand-bred apple while racing and training in the US and Canada since May. Between events, team members made celebrity appearances at select supermarkets, endorsing the Jazz apple while shoppers taste the fruit.

"These tough young athletes did a phenomenal job raising awareness of Jazz apples in the North American market," said David Nelley, pip fruit category director for the Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver.

"Their winning spirit captured the hearts and imaginations of our retail customers, consumers they sampled to, and cycling fans everywhere. We could not have asked for better ambassadors."

Oppenheimer is the North American marketing partner of Turners and Growers, Ltd., Auckland, owner of the Jazz plant patent through its ENZA brand.

Jazz, the Royal Gala-Braeburn cross is grown in New Zealand as well as the US and France. While it has been sold in growing quantities for three years, this season greater volumes are available for high-end supermarkets throughout North America, according to Nelley.

The Jazz Apple Cycling Team's North American tour included numerous strong performances from Sarah Ulmer, Auckland; Rosara Joseph, Christchurch; Serena Sheridan, Nelson; as well as Carissa Wilkes, Rotorua.

Now, while team members Brei Gudsell and Lauren Koedyk remain in the US to train, Hyland, of Cambridge, and the others return home to prepare for other pursuits, including the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in Rotorua, August 22- 27, 2006.

ENDS


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