(Thursday November 24) Fresh from making a strong impact in the PowerNet Tour of Southland, Chris Macic has confirmed he will line up in the Distinction Hotels Milford Mountain Classic in January.
Macic had an impressive Tour for Share the Road, finishing fourth in GC, and second in both the sprint ace and King of the Mountain categories.
Now, he’s looking forward to another return to Southland road cycling.
“I rode that road from Milford to Te Anau a couple of years ago, with (Sport Southland event manager) Matt Sillars driving behind me and Matt indicated there were plans in the community for a race,” he said.
“It’s just beautiful scenery up there, comparable to the Pyrenees or the Central European Alps, and that’s what has attracted me to enter.”
The Distinction Hotels Milford Mountain Classic is a 120km road cycle race from Milford Sound to Te Anau, scheduled for January 11, 2012. There is also a shorter, 57km Eglinton Challenge, and both distance options can be entered as individuals or in two-person teams.
Both options present a challenging, but rewarding ride, set in the midst of some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.
Macic acknowledges the initial climb, from Milford to the Homer Tunnel, will be tough, but it’s a challenge he is looking forward to.
“It will be a hard start, but then it gets easier towards the end and I think it’ll bunch back up after that climb,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to it, and I’d definitely recommend others get involved, support the race and get entered.”
Sillars, who is playing a key organisational role in the event on behalf of Sport Southland, said it was great to have cyclists of Macic’s calibre enter the event.
“Chris showed just how good he is on the PowerNet Tour of Southland, and it will be great to see how he goes in the Distinction Hotels Milford Mountain Classic,” he said.
“It’s great that a race like this, set in a tourist destination, can attract a mixture of elite and recreational cyclists and that’s what we are aiming for.”
“The race presents a really unique opportunity to cycle through a World Heritage Area and we are encouraging people to take advantage of that.”
The race is supported by the Te Anau Project Group – a sub-committee of Destination Fiordland -, Sport Southland, Fiordland College and Cycling Southland and is designed as a fundraiser for the college.
Macic, who is currently Auckland-based, says he is likely to stay in Southland after the Distinction Hotels Milford Mountain Classic, and will base himself there in preparation for another European season.
He is approaching the race as he would most others – “I just want to go and enjoy myself … if I win, that’s a bonus,” he said.
Entries for the Distinction Hotels Milford Mountain Classic or the Eglinton Challenge can be made online at www.milfordclassic.co.nz.