SUBWAY® Pro Cycling feels confident the New Zealand classic road cycling tour’s move to Manawatu will suit its riders when it starts on Wednesday.
The UCI 2.2 international cycle tour started in Wellington and the Hutt Valley, and more recently has concentrated in the Wairarapa. This year it has moved to Manawatu, attracting what Race Director Jorge Sandoval says is the strongest field in the 25 year history of the event.
SUBWAY® Pro Cycling’s Team Manager Graeme Miller agrees with Sandoval, saying the field is “the best ever to assemble in New Zealand,” and is looking forward to planning what he hopes is a successful tour for SUBWAY® Pro Cycling.
“It is great to see Jorge move the race to a new location,” Miller said. “It was a good race in the Wellington region but I think it will be a much more exciting race this year with lots of changes in the lead and plenty of close racing.”
Miller said the move to Manawatu suited SUBWAY® Pro Cycling’s style of racing, with less hill stages, and he had expectations the team should perform well during racing.
“With Paul (Odlin), the National time trial champ in the team, who also has proven he can sprint, we are expecting to mix it up this year. Being a flatter tour will mean it will be tightly contested and we’re expecting very strong side winds which New Zealand riders excel in.”
Miller said SUBWAY® Pro Cycling were excited to have Westley Gough and Pete Latham join the team after a successful World Cup track campaign that saw Latham claim gold in the Individual Pursuit. Gough and Latham will be joined by the elite National Championships Time Trial silver medallist Sam Horgan and the strong Nick Lovegrove.
“It means we have options and a few cards to play,” Miller said.
There are 21 teams from USA, Australia and New Zealand headed by US-based Team Type 1 Sanofi, a full UCI Continental team initially established to raise awareness of diabetes.
Other leading teams include Team Jayco, a UCI Continental team under the Australia Institute of Sport programme that includes defending champion Patrick Lane and the strong Australian combinations of Drapac and Genesys Wealth Advisers.
BikeNZ has selected a five-man team from their endurance track programme for the tour as the riders prepare for the national track championships and the upcoming UCI World Cup in London. These form part of their campaign towards the track world championships in Melbourne in April and the Olympics in July.
Team pursuit riders Sam Bewley, Marc Ryan, Myron Simpson and Aaron Gate will be joined by omnium world silver medallist Shane Archbold in the New Zealand team for the five-day tour.
The Tour begins with an individual time trial on Wednesday in Palmerston North with all road stages looping back to Palmerston North before the final circuit stage around the city on Sunday.