Perth-based cyclist Alex McGregor will try to defend his Tour de Lakes title when the four-day stage race starts in Cromwell tomorrow.
McGregor, who is now riding semi-professionally for Western Australian cycling team Satalyst Giant Racing Team and won the latest round of the Benchmark Series in Hokitika, will be part of a strong A-grade field that includes 2012 winner Daniel Barry, Tour of Southland stage-winner Matt Zenovich, Luke Macpherson and Brad Evans.
Race director Allan Dunn, organising his 19th Tour de Lakes, will also mark his 19th wedding anniversary next week, although the two are not directly related.
There will be 67 starters for the race, beginning with the prologue in Cromwell tomorrow afternoon. Numbers are down about a dozen from last year, mainly because of a smaller women's field.
While Linda Villumsen won't be back to defend her title, New Zealand representatives Sophie Williamson and Reta Trotman have entered, along with last year's third-placegetter and New Zealand Paralympic cycling pilot Gabby Vermunt.
Dunn remains passionate about giving female riders the opportunity to race in a multi-day stage race, something that has become quite rare in New Zealand.
The annual Vital Signs-sponsored Easter tour is also a good stepping stone for riders hoping to establish themselves as A-grade riders and push on to bigger events such as the Tour of Southland.
TOUR DE LAKES STAGES
Tomorrow – 5km prologue, Cromwell
Saturday – Stage one: 80km Remarkables to Five Rivers.
Stage two: 80km Five Rivers to Manapouri.
Sunday – Stage three: 20km time trial, Manapouri to Te Anau.
Stage four: 80km Te Anau to Five Rivers.
Monday – Stage five: 50km Queenstown to Glenorchy.
Stage six: 45km Glenorchy to Moke Lake.
Photo and article courtesy Fairfax NZ News