Double national champion Michael Vink leads a strong Mico-Protrain team for the international NZ Cycle Classic Tour of Manawatu next week.
In order to capitalise on his winning form, Vink has been in full training mode since his stunning performance at the RaboDirect Elite Road National Championships in Christchurch earlier this month where he won the under 23 time trial and road race national titles, as well as the elite road race.
“I didn’t have much of a break since nationals. Last year I eased off too much and lost a lot of form. This year I tried to forget about nationals as soon as I could and jumped back into the training,” said Vink.
Formerly the Tour of Wellington, 2012 is the first year that this internationally ranked event, now known as the NZ Cycle Classic, will be hosted in Manawatu.
“My goal is to have a good solid ride. In previous years I have won at the national champs, had an average show at Tour of Wellington and then gone on to have a poor season. That is definitely a cycle I would like to break!”
The UCI 2.2 Tour has attracted a strong international field, and with a new course in the characteristically windy region the racing will be unpredictable.
“It’s hard to judge how the legs are until you are in a race situation, but I know they won’t be bad.”
Mico-Protrain teammate Jeremy Yates, who placed second in the elite men’s road race at the national championship, has high ambitions for one of his last international competitions.
“I’m feeling good for this year’s Tour, I’ve had a good run of races leading into this year’s event but a lot of travelling. I would love to go out with a win in what will be my last international competition,” said Yates.
Retirement is on the cards for Yates at the conclusion of the New Zealand summer cycling season.
Vink and Yates will be supported by teammates Matt Sillars, Brad Carter and Matt Wheatcroft.
The Tour commences next Wednesday with a 7.1km individual time trial, and runs until Sunday 29th January.