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Olympic Stars for Festival of Cycling

ATTN EDITORS... Please see media release & pics regarding Christchurch's Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling having signed NZ's Olympic cycling stars for their event on December 6&7. The images are free-to-use. For further details contact me direct or see www.festivalofcycling.co.nz.


Olympic Stars for Festival of Cycling

Christchurch’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling continues on its quest to become New Zealand’s premier cycling event with the signing this week of Beijing Olympic medalists Hayden Roulston and the New Zealand Team Pursuit Squad.

More than 1500 riders, both elite and recreational, are expected for December’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling. The two-day event, scheduled for December 6 and 7, features an 80k road ride around the Lyttelton Harbour bays and an inner city criterium around the Oxford Terrace café strip.

Confirming the prestige of this event, this year’s Avanti Long Bays Elite race will play host to round six of the Bike NZ National Road Series while the Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium will double as the New Zealand Criterium Championship. And racing for those titles will be several members from New Zealand’s successful Beijing Olympic cycling team, including medallists Hayden Roulston, Jesse Sergent, Sam Bewley, Westley Gough and Marc Ryan.

Roulston, the individual pursuit silver medallist in Beijing, will be the headline act. The hugely talented Timaru rider is considered one of the world’s greatest raw talents. Following Commonwealth and Olympic medals he has been hot property on the world circuit. He will line up for the Festival of Cycling straight off a plane from Europe after a training camp with his new professional squad, the Cervelo Test Team, where he will ride alongside Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre.

Roulston and his training partner and fellow Olympic medallist, Marc Ryan, have tasted success at the Festival of Cycling in the past. Two years ago Roulston, in his comeback ride following a heart scare, outclassed most of New Zealand’s top riders to win the 80k harbour ride. Then the following day he helped Ryan take out the national title in the City Criterium.

As well as the Beijing medallists, other Olympic team members lining up for the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling include Catherine Cheatley and Alison Shanks. Both are considered long-term medal prospects for the London Olympics in 2012, with Shanks in particular after a surprise fourth place in the individual pursuit in Beijing despite only two years in the sport. Shanks track speed will suit the tight course and speed of the Armstrong Peugeot City Criterium, while Cheatley, who races both road and track, will be a contender in the criterium and the Avanti Long Bays Classic elite race.

Created four years ago, the Festival of Cycling concept of bringing world class and recreational cyclists together for a weekend celebration of the sport, has been a big success. The event welcomes riders of all age and ability and is hoping to top 1500 entries this year. Events include the 80k Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride, the SBS Kid’s Mini-Bays, plus special categories such as disabled cyclists, new mothers, retro bikes, tandem bikes and Clydesdales, a new category encouraging riders over 100kg.

Racing starts on Saturday December 6 with the 80k Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride and 80k Avanti Long Bays Classic, which includes the Bike NZ national series. Starting at McCormack’s Bay Reserve in Redcliffs, the course 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.

On Sunday December 7, 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 for the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of cycling are still open. For more details: www.festivalofcycling.co.nz


ENDS

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