Olympic cyclist Catherine Cheatley returned home recently as the number one rider on the American road cycling circuit, and her next big outing is 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 New Zealand’s number one international Catherine Cheatley.
The 27 year old has been a steady improver on the international scene, claiming a bronze medal at the world track cycling championships in 2007, representing New Zealand on the road and track at the 2008 Olympics and claiming a world championship top 10 in 2009. But 2010 has been her year yet.
Racing for top American team, Colavita/Baci, Cheatley was their standout performer, claiming 10 podium placings that included wins in the prestigious Fitchburg Longo Classic and the overall American series.
In December Cheatley returns to the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling where she has tasted victory in the past. The Wanganui rider will be trying for a record third straight win in the feature 80k Avanti Long Bays Classic.
In 2008 she came from behind to beat Australian rep Ruth Corset by two seconds, while in 2009 she led for the entire race to win three minutes ahead of Australian rep Laura Luxford. This year she faces a stacked field that includes Garman pro cyclist turned triathlete Britta Martin, Nelson standout Karen Fulton and Jeannie Kuhajek, up and coming Wellingtonian Tracey Best and New Zealand current domestic number one, Serina Sheridan, who leads the Raboplus national series.
There is much to look forward to in 2010 Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling. On day one the 80k Harbour Ride will see recreational riders following the Long Bays Classic on 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.