Matt Zenovich has a chance to consolidate his lead while Ella Harris has the opportunity to take the women’s leader’s jersey as the second round of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series that features a double header weekend of racing for the first time, hits Hokitika.
It is the first double-header weekend for the series and the first of two double-header weekends for 2018. In Saturday’s CYB Construction Hokitika Classic riders take on shortened circuit that doesn’t take in the Blue Spur climb and then on Sunday tackle a 58 kilometre route through Kokatahi and back country rural roads past Lake Kaniere that features a dirt section of 10 kilometres.
On Saturday the elite men will complete five laps of the circuit to cover 162 kilometres while the masters will do four laps and 130 kilometres with the women doing three laps to race over 97 kilometres.
“The double header weekend basically came about because the Hokitika Club were keen to assist us to promote a full weekend of racing,” Jake Rowse from Revolution Events said.
“They were keen for a high profile event like the Calder Stewart Cycling Series to use the unique Lake Kaniere Loop. It’s a loop that requires quite a lot of logistics to run a bike race through thier safely, so needs to be a part of a large event. The organisation and assistance provided by the Hokitika Cycling Club and the local community has been outstanding.”
Rowse said there were over 150 riders across 25 teams lining up to start over the weekend that is a real benefit to the local economy. “It's great for us to be able to bring this style of event to some of the smaller centres, with the hospitality and accommodation from hosting the riders, teams and officials meaning there is extra money going into local coffers.”
“The Calder Stewart Cycling Series has benefitted from the Hokitika double weekend with a lot of interest and excitement about a completely new and unique course, so having two completely different races, both with full series points, makes this an exciting weekend of racing.”
Previous double races have offered team points only or been demonstration events with no points and this Sunday will be the first time the Lake Kaniere Loop has been used for a cycle event with the inclusion of a 10 kilometres of unsealed road during such a short race will make Sunday one of the most exciting rounds of the series.
“It is difficult to single out a clear favourite, with no other races offering such unique terrain over a shortened distance,” Rowse said. “The weather will play a role; if it’s dry on Sunday the unsealed section will be smooth and fast bit if it’s wet it could be tough on visibility and will be a slippery surface.”
After winning the first round in the Armstrong Prestige Dunedin Classic Zenovich (Transport Engineering Velo South) has the opportunity to build a lead in the elite men’s classification but will have to hold off Jake Marryatt (Black Max Performance) who won the series last year and lies second in the elite standings and leaders the under 23 classification. Marryatt has been in good recent form with an impressive Under 23 Oceania time trial win that was only 10 seconds slower then Hamish Bonds elite men’s winning effort.
Other riders that should feature include Michael Vink who won last Saturday’s Grape Ride with an impressive solo effort and his Mike Greer Homes teammate Sam Horgan who was second in Le Race recently, Paul Odlin (PKF Waterproofing Concepts), Campbell Pithie and his Moore Stephens Markhams Canterbury Development team mate, former world tour professional and Olympic medallist Hayden Roulston who is riding in the series for the first time since retiring, and team Skoda Racing’s Finn Fisher-Black and Bailey O'Donnell, who have both recently being named in New Zealand Junior World Championship track team.
Zenovich has just returned from racing in Asia in the Tour of Langkawi and Tour of Thailand for his Australian team St George Continental Cycling team, and although admitting he was not a fan of racing on dirt was looking forward to the weekend.
“The dirt and gravel it definitely mixes things up and as far as protecting or extending my lead goes I will just have to see how things go,” Zenovich said “Of course I'd like to win the rounds but I'm also doing these races with a really fresh and young team and I would like to help them develop a good racing mind so we can all ride as a unit and become a better team, that’s the main focus.”
Women’s leader’s former pro triathlete Kate McIIroy and West Coast cyclist Sharlotte Lucas are missing as they are competing in the road race in the Commonwealth Games leaving the opportunity for 19 year old Dunedin student Harris to take the women’s leaders jersey.
Harris showed she has recovered well from a crash earlier in the year which meant she couldn’t compete in 2018 Elite Nationals or Tour Down Under winning Le Race in record time upsetting pre-race favourite McIIroy in a sprint.
She will have to fend off the experienced Karen Fulton (Freshchoide Richmond Pomeroys), Annamarie Lipp (Velo Project) who is leading the Under 19 classification and was also named in New Zealand Junior World Championship track team, her team mate Kirsty McCallum who finished strongly to claim fourth in the first round of the series in Dunedin, Hannah Bartram (Cycle Surgery) who also featured in Dunedin and Jojo Bauer who is riding as an individual.
Wellington’s David Rowlands (Christchurch Mitsubishi) is once again the stand out rider to beat in the master’s race that contains three age group categories but there is a strong line up that will be fighting to contain Rowlands and gain podium places and valuable points.
Blair Martin (Cycle World Emersons) leads the 35 to 44 classification from Christchurch Mitsubishi’s Glenn Rewi who is well suited to the weekend’s courses and terrain.
Christchurch cycling coach Mark Prutton, who is making his first appearance in the series in the masters racing riding in the 35 to 44 age group, could be dark horse. Prutton has successfully shifted his attention from road racing to off-road triathlon finishing third in the men's 30-35 age group in last year’s ITU World Cross Tri Championship in Canada and recently qualified for the XTERRA age group World Championships in Hawaii in October.
Warrick Spence (Freshchoice Richmond Pomeroys), Justin Sims (Armitage Williams Blue) and Stu Lowe (Christchurch Mitsubishi) should all feature in the battle for placings in the 45 to 49 age group that has been dominated by Rowlands.
Cycle World Emersons team mates Chris Latta and Paul Gough lead the over 50 classification from Daryl Holliday (Freschoice Richmond Pomeroys) and Phil Scott (Kiwistyle Bike Tours). The experienced Darryl Kircher should also be in the mix on flatter course.