Hawke’s Bay cyclist Jeremy Yates only needs to look at his latest dose of road rash for motivation when he lines up in December for Christchurch’s Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling.
In just its sixth year Christchurch’s Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling continues on its quest to become New Zealand’s premier cycling event. Scheduled this year for December 4th and 5th, the latest to sign up for this annual gathering of New Zealand’s best cyclists is former world junior champion Jeremy Yates.
Yates currently sits second in the Raboplus National Series behind Commonwealth Games rider Gordon McCauley. But the Hawke’s Bay rider is more likely to find motivation from the crashes that cost him victory in the Tour of Southland just a week ago. While leading the week-long tour Yates crashed twice in two days, will let Olympic and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Hayden Roulston through for his fourth Tour of Southland victory.
Yates will be looking to atone when he faces Roulston again at the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling. But he’ll also be looking to take the national series lead from Gordon McCauley, who is also lining up in Christchurch.
Yates has been in fine form prior to the Southland disappointment. He won a stage and the King of the Mountains classification at the Tour of Brazil and took his fourth straight win in the Coromandel’s prestigious K2 Classic. To win the national series he needs a win in the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling.
Both he and McCauley have raced here before, with Yates finishing sixth in 2008 and McCauley second in 2006. Yates is considered to be New Zealand’s best climber, so can be expected to push for victory on Gebbies Pass and Evans Pass. But if he can’t get clear, McCauley would be favoured in a sprint. But both men will be watching Roulston, who won here in 2006.
There is much to look forward to in 2010 Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling. On day one while the elite riders take on the 80k Avanti Long Bays Classic, recreational riders take on the Harbour Ride around the same historic route around the spectacular Lyttelton Harbour bays. Last year’s inaugural mountain bike option will return, with the 30k course offering options both experienced and recreational riders. The opening day concludes with the Benchmark Homes Kids Mini Bays, where hundreds of kids aged eight to 14 take on a fun 5k or 10k around McCormack’s Bay, with Olympians and New Zealand champions for company.
On Sunday December 5th the action moves downtown to the Oxford Terrace café strip for the Armstrong Motor Group City Criterium. In an action-packed day, events vary from kids’ events, BMX racing to celebrity tandem races, open events for keen punters to try the Euro-style excitement of criterium racing, to the feature invitational racing, which has been dominated by Kiwi Olympians Greg Henderson, Wesley Gough, Jason Allen and Marc Ryan. Or you can join the thousands of spectators taking in coffee and brunch while they watch some of the best cycle racing you’ll see on these shores.