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NZ Team For ChCh Cycling Festival

NZ Team For ChCh Cycling Festival

New Zealand’s cycling’s highly rated team pursuit squad are the latest high profile entries for Christchurch’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling.

More than 1500 riders, both elite and recreational, are expected for the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling on December 2 and 3 in Christchurch. The two-day event 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. Among the record entries is a whose-who of New Zealand cycling, with the entire New Zealand track pursuit team being the latest starters.

New Zealand’s team pursuit squad are among the best in the world, and national coach Terry Gyde has arranged a weeklong training camp in Christchurch that coincides with the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling. The team of Darren Shea, Sam Buelly, Wesley Gough, Jesse Sargent and Marc Ryan will use the weekend of racing to fine-tune their form before heading to Moscow for the second round of the World Cup.

The nucleus of the young squad revolves around the outstanding team that won the world junior team pursuit title in 2005. Their form of late has been good with the team claiming seventh place in the opening round of the World Cup series in Sydney last weekend. The team will ride both the 75k harbour ride and the national criterium championship.

Special interest will be with the two Canterbury riders, Darren Shea and Marc Ryan. Ryan, an Olympic and Commonwealth rep in the last few years, is from Timaru and showed good recent form when winning the national time trial title in Dunedin. Shea, from Christchurch, is one of New Zealand’s bright young hopes. The 19 year old was part of last year’s world junior championship squad in the team pursuit and won a world youth Olympic title in the individual pursuit. But he is more than capable on the road and will be looking for his first national senior criterium title.

These youngsters, however, will need top form to topple one of the best national fields ever assembled. They face Olympic and Commonwealth riders such as Hayden Roulston, Gordon McCauley, Hayden Godfrey, Fraser McMaster, Jason Allen, Tim Gudsell, Robin Reid and Heath Blackgrove.

The 75k Armstrong Peugeot Harbour Ride is scheduled for Saturday December 2 and is open to riders of all ability. It 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 next 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 event raising funds for Cure Kids NZ.

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


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