16/04/2011 - The annual Tour de Lakes stage race has attracted some interesting names among what should be a strong field.
Commonwealth Games road representative and two-time Tour of Southland winner Gordon McCauley, Coast to Coast legend Steve Gurney, former world ironman champion Scott Molina and dual Olympic representative Chris Nicholson will be among the A-grade peloton for the race, which starts with a 5km time trial as a prologue in Cromwell on Good Friday. Race director Allan Dunn hopes to get an almost 100-strong field, the first time he will have achieved that feat for five or six years.
The Vital Signs-sponsored six-stage event has not been without controversy after Dunn elected to ban the use of time-trial bikes and disc wheels for the 20km time trial from Te Anau to Manapouri, although bolt-on time trial bars have been allowed.
Dunn said he took advice from BikeNZ before making the decision, which had prompted a flurry of comment on social network sites and texts.
"It's to level the playing field because a guy can roll up on a high-spec, pricey rig and take quite a bit of time off over 20km," Dunn said.
"I think it's just fair to all," he said.
Local riders will also be expected to feature, incuding Logan Edgar, Marcel Baird, Hamish Tomlinson, Brehan Cairns and Hamish Presbury, while Gabby Vermunt will be looking to defend her title in the women's grade.
For the first time, the women's field, which will number more than a dozen, will ride by themselves, rather than being combined with C grade.
TOUR DE LAKES STAGES
April 22: 5km time trial, Cromwell April 23: Stage one – Remarkables/Kingston to Five Rivers. Stage two – Five Rivers to Manapouri. April 24: Stage three – 20km time trial, Manapouri to Te Anau. Stage four – Te Anau to Five Rivers. April 25: Stage five – Queenstown to Glenorchy. Stage six – Glenorchy to Moke Lake.
- The Southland Times