30/05/2011 - Even though this column hasn’t appeared in this fine publication for a number of weeks you can rest assured that there has been plenty happening in Cycling Southland’s world since we last spoke.
Whilst this is a quiet time of year in terms of major events, it does present the opportunity to get prepared for what will be a hectic period to end the year.
On Friday we released the revamped route for the 2011 version of the PowerNet Tour of Southland. The feedback has been very positive with club members, supporters, teams and even our Pro-Tour riders immediately sending their support. Greg Henderson told his followers on Twitter that it is the fourth Grand Tour (together with France, Italy & Spain). There are changes to every stage including a Sunday start with the Teams Time Trial around Queens Park, the addition of an epic Te Anau to Crown Terrace stage and the return of the Individual Time Trial on the final morning in Winton.
This will add a new dimension to the race and to schedule it as the penultimate stage (a la Tour de France) means that the general classification may well be decided by “the race of truth” on Saturday November 5th. We also have a number of new plans around the PowerNet Tour including a Legends Dinner, Supporters Tours and the chance for the general public to ride. Another quality field is assured with BikeNZ confirming its Elite squad members will be lining up as a key part of their pre-World Champs/Olympics preparation.
But the PowerNet Tour is just one piece of the puzzle. Another capacity field is set to take its first steps on the ILT Velodrome this week in preparation for the Harrex Group Corporate Pursuit. This is truly one of our favourite events of the year, with the inter-team banter building right up to the July 31st finals day. We’ll be keeping you up to date with their progress heading towards race day.
October’s Yunca Junior Tour of Southland is again shaping up as the country’s biggest junior road tour. Another new route and large interest from across the Tasman means that our age-group limits may well be threatened this year.
Immediately following the Yunca, comes the ILT Junior Track Carnival (October 18-19) which this year also includes the National Elite Omnium Champs. All BikeNZ’s Elite and Development riders will join the best young talent in the country in the first event of the 2011-12 track season.
And then there is the small matter of the Oceania Track Championships in November. With Olympic qualification points up for grabs it is likely that close to full strength Australian and New Zealand squads will line up over what should be four spectacular days and nights of racing. In years gone by we have hosted riders who have gone on to be absolute superstars. Given its timing in the Olympic cycle, November’s Oceanias should be no different.
Check out www.cyclingsouth.org.nz for all the information. See, told you we’ve been busy.
Nick Jeffrey is the Chief Executive of Cycling Southland