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NZ’s Top Team for Festival of Cycling

NZ’s Top Team for Festival of Cycling

Two Christchurch riders will lead New Zealand’s number one cycling team in this year’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling.

In just its second year Christchurch’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling continues on its quest to become the most prestigious cycling event in New Zealand. The latest development for the event, scheduled for December 2-3, is the signing of New Zealand’s most successful road team, Subway Cycling, which is led by Christchurch riders Hayden Godfrey and Fraser McMaster.

Close to 2000 riders, both elite and recreational, are expected for December’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling. The two-day event features a 75k road ride around the Lyttelton Harbour bays and an inner city criterium around the Oxford Terrace café strip that will double as the New Zealand Criterium Championship.

It’s the New Zealand Criterium title that has attracted a stellar field for this year’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling. Entries already include Commonwealth Games medallists Hayden Roulston and Gordon McCauley, as well as former world champions Greg Henderson and Katie Mactier, who dominated last year’s inaugural Festival of Cycling. But it’s the latest entry from Subway Cycling that could dominate the 2006 event.

Subway Cycling is a unique concept on New Zealand’s domestic cycling scene. The brainchild of New Zealand reps Fraser McMaster and Hayden Godfrey and cycling stalwart Greg Hume, their team concept gives top cyclists the kind of support and opportunities that McMaster and Godfrey enjoy when they race professionally in Europe and the USA.

McMaster and Godfrey will both lead the Subway onslaught for December’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling. Godfrey is the defending New Zealand Criterium Champion, while just last week McMaster won the prestigious K2 road race around the Coromandel Peninsula. Both men will lead their team as favourites for next weeks Tour of Southland.

Godfrey, a 13-time New Zealand champion and Commonwealth and Olympic rep on the track, spends a good part of his year racing on the road and specialises in criterium racing where he has won several prestigious titles on the US circuit. With a full team behind in Christchurch he will start as odds-on favourite to defend the national criterium title he won last year in Auckland.

McMaster, meanwhile, will be eyeing the previous day’s Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride. The former Commonwealth Games track rep has made a name for himself on the mountains of Europe, so the Harbour Rides two big climbs over Gebbies Pass and Evans Pass will suit him perfectly. An operation restricted McMaster to commentary duties for last year's inaugural Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling, so he is keen to get on the course this year and as the only favourite with a full team supporting him, the Christchurch rider should start as favourite.

Supporting McMaster and Godfrey at the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling will be Subway Cycling teammates Logan Hutchings (Papamoa), Daren Shea (ChCh), Dan Waluszewski (Wgtn) and youngsters James Williamson (Alexandra), Myron Simpson (Akld) and Jason Christie (Ashburton).

Hutchings is New Zealand’s rising star on the world scene, with his latest result being 7th at the U/23 world time trial championship. Shea won gold in last years world junior championship in the track team pursuit. Waluszewski, Williamson, Simpson and Christie are all emerging riders on the national scene, with Williamson finishing second in the national under-19 road race championship while Christie and Simpson were 1st and 2nd in the U/17 national road championship. Waluszewski, who has been in the sport only 18 months, first shone in last year’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling when he won the non-elite criterium.

This year’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling takes place on December 2 and 3. The 75k Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride is scheduled for the Saturday and is open to riders of all ability. It starts at McCormack’s Bay Reserve in Redcliffs and heads out around Cashmere, Halswell and Motukarara before climbing over Gebbies Pass to Lyttelton Harbour. The course then undulates along the northern bays and through Lyttelton itself, before climbing Evans Pass for a final stretch down through Sumner to finish back at McCormack’s Bay Reserve.

Sunday morning’s Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium will bring a taste of European cycling to Christchurch with an exciting day of multi-lap racing around the inner city’s café strip. The event will feature the New Zealand Criterium Championship, but also events for riders of any ability, including a celebrity tandem fundraising race for Cure Kids NZ.

Entries for the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of cycling are still open. For more details: www.festivalofcycling.co.nz

ENDS

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