OPINION: The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is arguably the most talked-about cycling event on the New Zealand calendar.
And in Palmerston North lives the man many consider the king of this event, Colin Anderson.
He will be taking part in his 24th consecutive ride. This year Colin has decided to give each of his rides a 65 theme and although he requires only two laps to complete his 64th and 65th laps around the mighty lake, he is entered in the maxi 4-lap event.
He will be on his loyal Pedal Pushers bike, which at the start on Friday at 10.30am will have completed just over 65,000km.
He told me that "the weather can be a real leveller. Yep, I have been known to find goat huts and larger mail boxes to shelter in during some of the murkier night sessions".
He is on his way to achieving his ultimate dream of completing 100 laps by his 80th birthday.
■ Friday, October 9 proved to be a very successful night for cycling in Manawatu.
It started at the Palmerston North Marist Sports Awards where Jesse Sergent and Simon van Velthooven were jointly announced as Sportsman of the Year, their results seemingly inseparable to the judges.
Later that night at the Manawatu Sports Awards, coach, Mike McRedmond won personality of the year, an award based on public vote.
Although Simon was not there (he was in Japan for keirin racing), his night would get even better as he would go on to take out the Manawatu supreme sportsperson-of-the-year award ahead of a strong list of finalists including fellow cyclist and good friend Jesse Sergent. Simon certainly deserved to win after a year filled with remarkable results, including a bronze medal at the London Olympics in the keirin.
■ Kate Stewart is no stranger to winning national championships, and after a very successful year on road and track, will be embarking on a journey to add international victories to her long list of wins.
Kate leaves for the Oceania track championships in Adelaide on the Friday as part of a team of five under-19 girls. There is no doubt Kate will perform well.
■ The annual Trophée de Grimpeur (French for "Climbers Trophy") was held on November 10.
A difficult route was chosen with 1000m of climbing over 66km and the winner would not be someone shy on the hills.
Riders started in Ashhurst and raced out past Highland Home to the DOC Station a few hills further on.
The weather was not very favourable, with strong winds, although the sky was clear.
There were eight starters in A grade competing for the trophy but they split on the first hill, briefly regrouped over the top before splitting indefinitely on the next climb. The race would take in four more hills before turning and heading back towards Ashhurst, but instead of finishing back there they took a right-hander and finished at the top of the tough Valley Rd hillclimb.
Starting at Valley Rd, Neil Martin had gone solo 2km after the turnaround and had a 30-second gap to the next rider, Luuk van Wagtendonk. The tough headwind on the way home had taken everything out of Neil as he couldn't hold off Luuk who came around him in the last corner to take the win.
Chris Denholm rode a very impressive race for third eight minutes back. The B grade (raced over 45km) was won by Cameron Huston ahead of Michaela Drummond and Barry Gilliland.
■ Lance Armstrong just does not seem to stay out of the news.
After many days spent in court and being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, he has decided to step down as a board member of the world renowned foundation that he set up, Livestrong.
- Manawatu Standard
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