A maximum field of 120 riders from 20 teams are expected to take part in this year’s 58th Tour of Southland cycle race, which commences in Invercargill on Sunday 2 November.
The SBS Bank sponsored tour is regarded as New Zealand’s premier multi-stage cycling event and this is reflected in the considerable interest that the event has received.
Tour Manager Bruce Ross said that the continued interest from Australia and further afield is exciting and indicates the popularity of the event. The success of the tour is recognised internationally and riders from Denmark, France, England and Switzerland have shown an interest in coming here to race, along with the wealth of New Zealand’s road cycling talent.
The route for this year’s tour remains the same as last year with the two hill climb stage finishes attracting considerable interest. “The BDO Invercargill sponsored Bluff Hill stage on day two of the race is considered to be one of the toughest climbs that many of this year’s field will have ever experienced and will certainly be treated with the respect it deserves. This stage is often a defining section of the tour and provides a stern test for all competitors,” Ross said.
Similarly, the Coronet Peak stage, which was introduced last year, is regarded as being reminiscent of many European race stage finishes and provided for some spectacular racing. The 8km ascent to the base of the ski field is tough and uncompromising and certainly challenged the weary legs of the cyclists at the end of a demanding 180km stage from Te Anau.
“This stage too is significant to establishing who will have their name added to the prestigious SBS Bank trophy when the tour concludes in Invercargill on Saturday 8 November. “
Ross said that the iconic Southland sporting event will again travel to as many parts of the province as is practical and will give the sport-loving Southland public an opportunity to see a top class sporting event happening literally right outside their doorsteps.