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Wheeling in more world events for Rotorua

31 March 2014

Wheeling in more world events for Rotorua

Rotorua is bidding to host three World Cup mountain bike events across the next three years.

Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson said an opportunity had arisen for the city to bid for three events from 2015 to tie in with other World Cup rounds scheduled for Australia. This geographical alignment - and Rotorua’s cycling and hosting reputation - prompted governing Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to consider a revisit to Rotorua where the sport’s 2006 World Championships were successfully staged.

“As a proven venue with local expertise, the UCI said it makes sense for Rotorua to bid for events to complement Cairns (2015), Hobart (2016) and Cairns (2017),” said Mr Donaldson.

Mr Donaldson leads the Sport and Recreation Strategy portfolio for Rotorua District Council and chairs the committee making the bid, and is also a trustee of the Rotorua Bike Festival which ran for the second time in February.

It was during the festival - that saw hundreds of local and visiting riders taking part in all things biking including the New Zealand cross-country championships - that Mr Donaldson was approached by the UCI.

“World events are now coming knocking on our door following the exposure of the bike festival and our growing reputation as an amazing place to ride and visit,” said Mr Donaldson.

“These opportunities certainly fit with our aspirational Rotorua 2030 vision of the district being an outstanding place to play, while it also works in with our cycle-friendly city and infrastructure policies.”

The bid was discussed and endorsed for support by councillors at the Rotorua District Council’s extraordinary meeting on Friday [28 March 2014]. There is no cost to the council for the bid process, and a decision from the UCI about the World Cup allocation is expected around June.

The World Cup mountain bike rounds race would bring the best of international riders to the city which would have other positive spin-offs, according to Rotorua District Council’s Major Events Manager - Events & Venues, Martin Croft.

“The local community would get the chance to see the best up-close while there would be huge international media exposure of our trails and the unique natural environment and culture that the Rotorua district offers,” he said.

Cycling brings an estimated $16million* into the local economy and that is predicted to grow to about $31m in 10 years, according to Grow Rotorua Chief Executive Francis Pauwels.

“Based on the annual cycling visitor growth of 10 per cent, cycling in Rotorua is growing at a similar rate to countries such as France, Austria and Scotland, all of which are investing significantly in cycling strategies,” he said.

FACTBOX: Rotorua: the wheel deal
Rotorua has more than 130km of purpose-built mountain bike trails and closer to the city about 35km of cycle friendly commuter pathways to get in and out of the city, as well as ‘share-with-care’ corridors to avoid traffic.

The community is getting behind the strategy, with a cycle assembling point at Rotorua International Airport and bike-repair and storage facilities being built at many accommodation providers.

Council recently approved in principle the opportunity for the Rotorua BMX Club to investigate the prospect of building a new international standard elite facility at Waipa on the fringe of Whakarewarewa forest. The New Zealand Mountain Biking Centre of Excellence is also expected to be based near Waipa.

Red Stag Investments has plans to develop accommodation, retail outlets, cafes and other permanent mountain biking facilities at Waipa.

ENDS

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