Hawke’s Bay cyclist Serena Sheridan is looking to seal the national road cycling series with a win this weekend in Christchurch at the 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 weekend for December 4th and 5th, the latest to sign up for this annual gathering of New Zealand’s best cyclists is current New Zealand number one Serena Sheridan.
Sheridan currently leads the RaboDirect National Road Series and a win in Christchurch would seal the series for her. She will race both the Avanti Long Bays Classic on Saturday and the City Criterium on Sunday, but her focus will be the national points at stake on the iconic Long Bays circuit.
The talented Hawke’s Bay rider will need to tap into every ounce of her experience, however, to topple defending Long Bays champion Catherine Cheatley, who topped the American rankings in 2010 and arrives in Christchurch in top form following strong rides at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
Cheatley currently sits second in the national series but Sheridan has built up an almost unattainable lead thanks to consistent form since race one in New Plymouth last January. She then raced internationally in France during the European summer before returning home to take out the Taupo to Napier race and Coromandel K1 Classic. But while she simply needs to finish to maintain the national series lead, Sheridan will want to win in style by denying Cheatley a third straight win in the Avanti Long Bays Classic.
Sheridan, however, might spare a mid-race thought for the men’s race and the fortunes of her partner Jeremy Yates, who is currently second in the national series behind Commonwealth Games rep Gordon McCauley. Sheridan and Yates have a chance to create some Kiwi cycling history by clinching a national series double with wins in the same race on the same day.
There is much to look forward to in 2010’s 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.