Former Female Winners Add Spice To Le Race
McCauley and Subway Avanti Cycling team mates and former female winners add spice to Le Race
3 march 2009
National road cycling champion and Commonwealth Games medallist Gordon McCauley will be joined by his Subway – Avanti Cycling team mates Sam Horgan, Patrick and James Williamson, Eric Drower and Joe Cooper on the start line of Le Race on 28 March.
James Williamson was lying second on the final descent of the 100 kilometre Christchurch to Akaroa event last year until a crash saw him finish third with brother Patrick coming fourth.
The Subway – Avanti Cycling Team is New Zealand’s first UCI Continental team and having six members of it squad enter the event has added real spice to the men’s field, event organisers say.
McCauley and Cooper have been in dominate form during the domestic season picking up a number of significant race wins, including recently finishing first and second in round two of the elite Benchmark Homes series.
Entries for Le Race have a limit of 1000 this year and with just under four weeks until race day almost 780 entries have been received.
Australian Woman’s elite road race Champion, 2007 Le Race winner and European based professional Carla Ryan confirmed her entry for the event two weeks ago and will have two former winners to contend with.
Lion Foundation National Points Series leader Serena Sheridan won the event last year and she will be joined by three time winner Jo Buick who is riding to celebrate her nine year wedding anniversary.
Buick, who rode her last professional cycle race in Europe in late 2006, is keen to put her cycling shoes back on as it was nine years ago she and husband Paul raced in the event on the Saturday, got married in Akaroa on the Sunday and rode back to Christchurch on the Monday.
Buick, who got second that year but went on to win the event three times between 2001 and 2003, says she has done the ‘occasional’ event in recent years but her focus has been on family and work commitments.
Christchurch hand cyclist Rob Martin has entered Le Race for the eighth time. Martin was second in the hand-cycling category of the famed New York Marathon last year and has hand-cycled across the Southern Alps, around Lake Taupo and paddled the Cook Strait.
A former New Zealand wheelchair basketball and powerlifting representative, former national paralympic track-and-field record holder Martin says each year he thinks he will never do the event again, but something keeps drawing him back.
“It’s like the grass is always greener, and I think next time I could do just that little bit better.”
Powering himself from a seated position with his arms Martin has completed the 100 kilometres from Christchurch to Akaroa in five hours and 20 minutes and says his ultimate time would be four hours and 59 minutes.
A recent equipment breakage means he is fighting the clock to get his bike repaired in time for this year’s event, and he hopes he will not have to stop to let his front wheel cool down this year.
Christchurch City Councillor Sue Wells has entered the event as part of a three person rely team.
Competitors can enter the event online at www.lerace.co.nz.