Media Release - Monday 20 January 2020
After farewelling 108 riders that competed in the five-stage New Zealand Cycle Classic, which concluded in Masterton yesterday with Australian cyclist Rylee Field crowned Tour champion, race director Jorge Sandoval finally caught his breath.
Sandoval has spent the last 12 months working on delivering the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 sanctioned race to be held in New Zealand in 2020 and is thrilled with how it went.
"Riders and team managers I've spoken with have been very positive in their feedback. They've loved having one base as their accommodation which allows them to focus on racing rather than travelling to the next city as they do in some other countries. They've found the stages challenging and they've appreciated the warm hospitality received here in Wairarapa," says Sandoval. "I'm very happy. It's been a great success."
Hong Kong based Herman Tam, who is the team manager for Swedish Memil Pro Cycling, said his team enjoyed their time in New Zealand. Memil finished sixth place overall on Team's Classification while young Australian rider Elliot Schultz finished 15th on general classification -1m 53secs behind Field.
"It's been good weather (for racing) and we've loved the natural environment here. This tour has been a good start for our team," said Tam.
Martin Barras, High Performance Director for Cycling New Zealand was also pleased with how his young team performed. The New Zealand National Team finished second overall in the team's classification, behind Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy, and had Corbin Strong and Finn Fisher-Black win the overall Under-23 and King of the Mountain classification jerseys respectively.
"We appreciate the opportunity for our key track riders to compete and we are glad they were able to demonstrate their abilities," said Barras. "It has helped build some base mileage that will serve them well as they return to the track to focus on next month’s world championships."
Sandoval thanked Jill Harrison, manager of the Copthorne Solway Park Hotel & Resort, which enjoyed 80 percent of the hotel's occupancy coming from the riders and crew, for providing a comfortable base for everyone as well as all sponsors and supporters of the Tour. He said the world's cycling community were watching this year's Tour with interest.
"I've a terrific team behind me and am so grateful that together we can stage the New Zealand Cycle Classic, which is a wonderful way of showcasing the Wairarapa and New Zealand to the world," said Sandoval.
"This year's Tour attracted such a quality field and was made possible thanks to the generous support from Trust House, WBS, Mobile Communications Service, WIZwireless, Fagan Motors, Mitre 10 Mega Masterton, Cross Country Rentals and Lion Foundation plus the Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa District Councils. Also, the Ulysses Motorcycle Club, Wellington Free Ambulance and the New Zealand Police helped ensure our riders and motorists were safe on the road. And our 60 specialised volunteers did a great job marshalling, setting up the finish line and driving in the convoy - without their help, this event wouldn't happen and I thank them all."
Sandoval will now take a few days respite before having a planning meeting this weekend with his team - looking ahead to 2021.
"We will catch up this weekend for a debrief and then start working on next year's New Zealand Cycle Classic. We have the goal of making it better and bigger each year."
Many of the teams involved in the New Zealand Cycle Classic will now travel to Manawatu to compete in the Gravel & Tar race while others return overseas to continue their racing calendar.
Tom Petty, team manager for BridgeLane whose riders finished on the podium each day as well as claiming the overall yellow jersey, said the team will try and maintain its momentum. He said Jensen Plowright and Ayden Toovey will compete in the Race Torquay, which is part of the Cadel Evan's Great Ocean Road Race while Field and Plowright will also compete in the Tour de Langkawi.