Media Release - Monday 9 November 2021
New Zealand Cycle Classic race director Jorge Sandoval announced today that the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) sanctioned multi-day race to be held in Oceania in January 2021 will be held in Wairarapa and Wellington from January 13th – 17th.
The NZ Cycle Classic will be open to all eligible riders but because of world-wide travel restrictions and quarantine rules put in place since the global pandemic of Covid-19, Sandoval says the event has the potential to be a boon for Kiwi riders with more having the opportunity to chase valuable UCI points.
In addition to announcing the Tour dates, Sandoval also announced changes to the event’s stages. Like this year, stages one to four will be held around the Wairarapa townships of Masterton, Carterton and Martinborough as well on roads that pass through rolling rural countryside and vineyards. However for the first time in 10 years, the fifth and final stage will be held in Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand.
“Long-time Wellingtonians will fondly remember when the Tour was first held in Wellington in 1988 and then, the last time in 2011 when it was won by a young George Bennett who has gone on to achieve great things, most notably racing in this year’s Tour de France,” says Sandoval. “Thanks to support by the Wellington City Council, I’m excited to bring a fast paced Criterium circuit race back to Wellington’s inner-city streets for the fifth and final stage.”
The announcement has been welcomed by Wellington Mayor Andy Foster.
“Wellington comes alive during big sporting events and hosting the 2021 New Zealand Cycle Classic would be no different. Fans would not only enjoy world class action through the picturesque streets of the capital but also everything the city has to offer to ensure a memorable time – wonderful hotels, live shows and music, a vibrant restaurant café and bar scene and, a stunning city to sea to greenbelt experience in what is New Zealand’s safest city (and the 18th safest in the world) according to the 2019 Safe Cities Index.”
“Wellington is proud to be a sponsor of the Classic and to support the ongoing development of road cycling as a premier sport and lifesyle,” said Mayor Foster.
The NZ Cycle Classic begins on Wednesday, 13th January with a Teams’ Time Trial held on a 10km circuit beginning and finishing at Mitre 10 Mega Masterton. The Tour continues the next day with riders racing from Masterton to Alfredton in a 121km stage finishing outside the Masterton Golf Club while stage three will see riders head south from Masterton to the wine village of Martinborough.
On Saturday,16 January, riders will complete the 127km Queen stage, which includes the famous Admiral Hill hilltop finish, where riders climb a total of 2,784 meters of altitude.
“Admiral Hill is feared by some riders and revered by others. In some past Tours the rider who wins this stage has gone onto win the overall title, however with the final stage held around Wellington’s flat, fast city streets this time around, it will be fascinating to see if history repeats.”
Sandoval is looking forward to announcing the teams that will take part in the Tour over the coming weeks. With many international races being cancelled as a consequence of Covid-19, most recently the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans races in Australia, this event will be the only UCI race staged in Oceania next January.
Sandoval has hinted that several Kiwi riders who would traditionally be racing off-shore have expressed an interest in competing while riders from Black Spoke PRO Cycling, New Zealand’s only Union Cycliste Internationale professional team, are keen to return after making their debut at the 2020 event.
Trust House CEO Charles Kaka welcomes the event back to Wairarapa.
“The Trust has been a long-time supporter of the NZ Cycle Classic, which has now established itself as one of Wairarapa’s premier sporting events. Our support includes a substantial grant from Trust House Foundation while our hospitality businesses particularly Copthorne; cater for the many visitors and locals that attend the race,” he says.
The 2020 NZ Cycle Classic is able to take place thanks to the generous support from Trust House, Wellington City Council, Mobile Communications Service, Wizwireless, Fagan Motors, Mitre 10 Mega Masterton, Tineli and Lion Foundation plus all three Wairarapa District Councils.
“This is my 33rd NZ Cycle Classic and despite all the issues we and the world have with Covid 19, I have worked really hard to make sure we have the event … but we have a top event,” said Sandoval.
“I am grateful to all our sponsors. My team and I are working very hard to ensure the 2021 NZ Cycle Classic is once again the premier cycle race in New Zealand. This is also a fantastic opportunity for young up and upcoming kiwi cyclists to take part in a UCI event right here in our own country and see what it is like.”
“We are also looking forward to inviting the community to participate in the community cycling events in the final day in Wellington. These include events for kids and local riders taking place before the final stage.”