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Celebrities Join Festival of Cycling

Celebrities Among Hundreds Riding ChCh’s Festival of Cycling

Almost 1500 cyclists will line up this weekend for the third Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling. Among them several celebrities will be taking to tandems in support of Cure Kids NZ.

Celebrities as wide ranging as television personalities, Mt Everest climbers and Commonwealth Games medalists and triathlon world champions will be taking to tandems in this weekend’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling.

People such as Commonwealth Games silver medalist Susy Pryde, multisport legend Steve Gurney and world champion triathlete Andrea Hewitt need no introduction. Mt Everest conqueror Mark Inglis is also well known in cycling circles as a paralympic medalist. But well-known faces such as Christchurch City Councillor Yani Johanson and Dancing With The Stars personalities Brendon Pongia and Aaron Gilmore are relatively recent converts to two wheels.

All of these celebrities have offered their services on the front seat of custom-built tandems during this weekend’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival Of Cycling. The two-day event kicks off this weekend with the 75k Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride around the Lyttelton Harbour Bays, followed by the Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium around Oxford Terrace on Sunday.

The Celebrity Tandem event is a big part of the showcase criterium on Sunday, which last year attracted close to 10,000 spectators. Various businesses and individuals have purchased the right to ride with the stars in the Celebrity Tandem event, with the funds going to the official event charity, Cure Kids NZ.

Event director Simon Hollander says, “It will be a great showcase for the event and it’s for a great charity, which is why it was easy to get such good people involved.”

Top billing goes to Dancing With The Stars celebs, Pongia and Gilmore. Gilmore, a professional dance instructor, is certainly fit but has little cycling experience. But Pongia, a former New Zealand representative basketball player and Television One presenter, is a keen recreational cyclist and as well as riding the Celebrity Tandem on Sunday he will tackle the 75k Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride on Saturday.

The weekend kicks off on Saturday at 8:30am from McCormack’s Bay Reserve in Redcliffs. The challenging 75-kilometre course heads out around Halswell and Motukarara, over Gebbies Pass, around the Lyttleton bays, over Evans Pass to Sumner, and back to McCormack’s bay Reserve. The ride is open to all age and ability, with the SBS Kid’s Mini-Bays also a popular attraction this year.

Sunday’s Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium promises to give Christchurch a taste of cycling Euro-style. Racing gets underway from 10:30am and the multi-lap course around Oxford Terrace café strip is spectacular viewing. The elite races will feature world-class riders, but there are also open event for newcomers and kids, as well as penny farthing and human powered vehicle demonstrations, and the Celebrity Tandem event. Entries for all events are still open. For further detail, including entry and spectator guides, see:

Celebrity Tandems

Yani Johanson – Christchurch City Councillor & Cycling Advocate.              
Mark Inglis – 1st Amputee to conquer Everest & Paralympic Cycling medalist.            
Greg Fraine – Former Olympic & Commonwealth games Cyclist, Two Time World Triathlon Champion (age group).
Steve Gurney – nine time Coast to Coast winner and cycling advocate.
Andrea Hewitt – 2005 Under-23 Triathlon World Champion, Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, Beijing Olympic hopeful.
Aaron Gilmore – Dancing With Stars Winner, Professional Dance Instructor, Christchurch resident.
Brendon Pongia – TV Presenter, former NZ Basketball rep, Dancing With Stars finalist, Keen recreational cyclist
Women’s Elite Winner at Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium     
Men’s Elite Winner at Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium       
10. Susy Pryde – Two-time Commonwealth Games cycling medalist, BikeNZ Women’s Endurance Coach.


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