Hewitt Starts Olympic Campaign
Hewitt Starts Olympic Campaign at Festival Of Cycling
Christchurch’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling continues on its quest become the premier cycling event in New Zealand with the signing recently of Commonwealth Games bronze medal triathlete Andrea Hewitt.
After just three years the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling is attracting interest from all ends of the country and overseas. Close to 2000 riders, both elite and recreational, are expected the two-day cycling festival. Scheduled for December 1 and 2 it features a 75k road ride around the Lyttelton Harbour bays and an inner city criterium around the Oxford Terrace café strip.
The latest elite signings include Commonwealth Games silver medallist and former under-23 world champion Andrea Hewitt, who is using the Festival of Cycling as preparation toward Olympic triathlon qualification in 2008.
Hewitt, who has consistently ranked among the top 10 female triathletes in the world for the last two years, narrowly missed out on automatic Olympic selection last month when she finished a disappointing 14th in the Olympic warmup race in Beijing. She must now pin her chances on a second qualification race in Australia during March and hopes the top competition at the Festival Of Cycling will help her preparation.
Hewitt is also introducing her boy friend, top French triathlete Laurent Vidal, to the Festival of Cycling. The 23-year old Frenchman enjoyed a breakthrough year on the World Cup triathlon circuit, twice finishing in the top 10 in World Cup races and is also starting his Olympic qualification campaign at the Armstrong Peugeot Festival Of Cycling.
While the front end of the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling will feature some of the world’s best riders, race director Simon Hollander stresses that the event is designed to bring together cycling enthusiasts of all age ability and gender.
“When we started this event,” says Hollander, “the aim was to create a weekend of cycling where recreational enthusiasts and fitness riders could rub shoulders with some of the world’s best.”
The 75k Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride, on Saturday December 1, 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. This year the new SBS Kid’s Mini-Bays race will see up to 500 children riding between 5k and 10k with the stars.
The following day 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. New Zealand’s top riders will be in attendance, but there are 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