(Thursday March 29) The wheels are in motion for the 2013 Distinction Hotels Milford Mountain Classic, with the date for the road cycling race announced at a function at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas last night.
After a successful debut in January, the race from Milford to Te Anau will be held on Saturday 26 January next year and organisers are confident it will only be bigger and better than the inaugural race.
Sport Southland event manager Matt Sillars said the move to a weekend date was due to both participant feedback and logistics for the Te Anau community.
“While this year’s midweek race date worked well, we are really looking to take a bit of pressure off Destination Fiordland who have a huge 10 day period with both the Te Anau Harness Street races and the Mavora Explorer mountain bike race both on the calendar for early January,” he said.
“We want to encourage more recreational and club cyclists to enter the event, so moving it to a weekend, and away from existing events such as the Lake Dunstan Cycle Challenge, should help us attract more competitors.”
Last night’s function, which was held to thank more than 50 sponsors and volunteers, also saw the launch of a DVD of the event.
Filmed and edited by Te Anau film and documentary maker Dave McCarlie of VideoSouth, South Coast Productions, it is a combination of helicopter shots and shots closer to the cycling action.
“It is a record for the participants but we also felt that we wanted a legacy to be able to use to market the event to the wider cycling fraternity so they can understand what the race is about,” Sillars said.
“We know we need to grow the event and we are confident that, with the way it ran incident-free, the positive feedback we have had, and the confidence from stakeholders, that we can and will do that.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have said “I was going to do that…” or “I wish I had done that…”, and I think the DVD – which is fantastic – will only reinforce their resolve to turn out in 2013.”
Distinction Hotels has confirmed it will be the naming rights sponsor for the 2013 event and several other sponsors have also signalled their intention to again support the event.
About 120 elite and recreational cyclists took on the inaugural event in January this year, with winner, Jeremy Yates, likening the climb from Milford to the Homer Tunnel, and following descent, to anything in European cycling.
Next year’s event will retain the same format as this year’s, with the 120km race from Milford to Te Anau, and the 65km Eglinton Challenge open to both individuals and two-person teams. The event will have a start time of 4.15pm to avoid the bulk of the tourist traffic.
Participants from the 2012 event will be guaranteed an entry to the 2013 event, providing they enter by October 1, and online entries will open on May 1 at www.milfordclassic.co.nz.
For more information please contact:
Matt Sillars Jerrie Andrews
Sport Southland event manager Sport Southland communications advisor
027 491 0000 03 211 2150