The 2021 Elite Road Cycling National Championships could prove a test of the toughest, after organisers released course details today.
The championships form the flagship event of RIDE: New Zealand’s Cycling Festival in Cambridge to be staged from 12-14 February next year.
RIDE Festival organisers want to present different courses in each of the three years as the championship hosts, with the 2021 road race course comprising loops around challenging roads near Cambridge including the testing climb over French Pass.
Cycling New Zealand’s Event Director, Janette Douglas congratulated RIDE festival organisers for their vision of presenting a new course each year.
“Changing the courses means there are different types of terrain and ensures a variety of challenges which does not favour one type of rider over another, so the event should continue to attract our best riders,” she said.
“The climbs will be a real feature, and while the race is centred at Tom Voyle Park in Cambridge, where the riders will pass multiple times, there will no doubt be fans who will support the riders on the climbs which should create an excellent atmosphere.”
The elite women’s race over 130kms will feature three laps of the French Pass/Te Miro loop, passing the start-finish base each lap. It will include 1,720m of climbing.
The elite and under-23 men will race over 174kms with four laps of the same course with 2,280m of climbing and will also pass the start-finish each lap.
Outstanding World Tour rider Mikayla Harvey, who will compete in the Giro Rosa women’s grand tour in Italy starting this week for her Équipe Paule Ka team, is excited about the course.
“The road race looks like a very exciting course, with many breakaway opportunities,” said Harvey. “It's a very unrelenting course and looks like it would naturally lead to aggressive racing. The climb up French Pass will definitely tire some legs out - I am sure there will be some major attacks happening.
“The time trial course looks very challenging. There is mixed terrain and undulating roads. Having technical skills will be critical in making gains without extra physical excursion and a time trial course like this one will require lots of power and mental concentration.”
The under-19 riders, who have previously competed for the national titles at the national age group championships, will be included in the elite championships for the first time. They will race over 80km (females) and 115km (males) on a similar course without looping past the start-finish on each lap.
The time trials on Friday 12 February, will be based from Roto O Rangi School between Cambridge and Te Awamutu with under-19 racing over an 18.3km course, elite and under-23 females over 27.6km and elite and under-23 males over 44kms.
Entries will open on December 1.
CAPTION: The women’s field on the climb in the Vantage Elite Road Cycling National Championships in Cambridge earlier this year. (Photo: Dave Morrison – Elko Media)