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Commonwealth Medallist for ChCh Cycling Festival

Commonwealth Medallist for ChCh Cycling Festival

Christchurch’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling continues to attract the country’s top cyclists with the signing this week of Olympic and Commonwealth Games rider Tim Gudsell.

Close to 2000 riders, both elite and recreational, are expected for December’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling. The two-day event, scheduled for December 2 and 3, 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.

Last year’s inaugural Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling attracted interest from all ends of the country and overseas. This year’s New Zealand title event has attracted several world-class riders, including recent Commonwealth Games medallists Hayden Roulston, Gordon McCauley and Hayden Godfrey, and former world and Commonwealth champions Greg Henderson and Katie Mactier, who both dominated last year’s inaugural event.

This week’s signing of Tim Gudsell puts four Commonwealth medallists on the Christchurch start line. The 22 year old is one of New Zealand’s top track riders but has also been one of the top amateur road riders in France and just two months ago signed a two-year contract to ride with French professional team Francaise des Jeux (FDJ).

Gudsell becomes one of the select three Kiwis now racing on the prestigious European pro-tour circuit, which by default marks him as a favourite for the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling. The Athens Olympian and team pursuit bronze medallist at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games is renown as an explosive rider, which will suit the undulating harbour course and the short, sharp criterium around Oxford Terrace.

Gudsell is particularly keen for the criterium, which this year doubles as the national championship. The exciting central city circuit around Christchurch’s Oxford Terrace café strip is expected to be a highlight of the weekend. Henderson, Godfrey, Roulston and McCauley have all won multiple New Zealand road racing titles, but Gudsell is still looking for his first on the road.

The 75k Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride, on Saturday December 2, 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.

The following morning the Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium will bring a taste of European cycling to Christchurch with an exciting morning 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 this year have already exceeded 2005’s inaugural event, which had 800 starters. Organisers are expecting more than 1500 starters for the 2006 event.

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


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