South Canterbury tour promises top racing
Three BikeNZ representatives will headline the Cycling Timaru two-day, five-stage tour around the back roads of South Canterbury this weekend.
Timaru's Marc Ryan and Waimate's Dylan Kennett have just returned from Europe this week.
They will be joined by Michael Vink, who was part of the BikeNZ endurance team in Europe.
The international trio are likely to feature on the podium but will be pushed hard by Timaru's Reon Park.
Locally, Park has proved almost unbeatable in club cycling this season.
If the South Canterbury riders work together they could prove hard to stop.
Tim Rush is another to keep an eye on. He has spent time racing in the United States.
Blenheim's Jason Allen and Dunedin's Brad Evans are also expected to mix it up and add some spice to the A-grade bunch.
The competitors will face two relatively flat stages and an 8km time trial on Saturday before doing four laps of the Whalebones circuit, before tackling one of the province's renowned climbs on Sunday.
The Taiko zigzag could prove the difference and sort the winner out.
While it is just over a kilometre long, it is a tough ask coming near the end of the last stage.
Park said Ryan would start as favourite but he was expecting tough competition. "It should be awesome, with some great racing; I'm really looking forward to it.
"Sunday has some big hills and it could come down to the zigzag; you could take a minute out of a rider on that climb."
The young rider numbers have been boosted also as the tour has been included as part of the under-17 and 19 junior national points series again.
Two local riders to watch will be Jack Ford and Holly Edmondson in the under-19 grade.
Cycling Timaru's Darren Cuthbertson said he was very happy with entries, with more than 120 expected to take part. "It's great to have the tour so well supported."
Cuthbertson agreed the Taiko zigzag could decide the winner.
- © Fairfax NZ News