Schools cyclists gear up for Winter Tournament Week
After two years of cancellations, riders from across the country are excited to descend on Blenheim and Auckland for the SKODA Southern Tour and SKODA Northern Tour, book ending winter tournament week.
The SKODA Southern Tour presented by Cuddon engineering will take place in Blenheim this weekend, 27 and 28 August.
The tour features an Individual Time Trial and Criterium on day one, with a Hill Climb and Road Race on day two. Up for grabs are the general classification yellow jersey, sprint ace green jersey and the king/queen of the mountain polka dot jersey. The Criterium also doubles as the national championships, with a national title, jersey and medal on the line.
Ones to watch will be Cashmere High’s Meg Baker in the U17 girls, after her strong performance at the recent SKODA South Island School Road Championships. The U20 girls’ race will be a tough one, with Maddi Lowry (Ashburton College), Florence McNabb (Nelson College for Girls) and Bonnie Rattray (Baradene College, Auckland) as the top picks.
Christchurch Boys High have a solid team with Charlie Hegan and D’Arcy Sanders leading the charge in the U20s and Matthew Davidson and Luca Sanders in the U17s. Local riders Finn McKenzie and Lachlan McNabb (Marlborough Boys College) will also be ones to watch in the U17 grade.
A week later, the focus will turn to the SKODA Northern Tour presented by Safetyminder. The tour starts with the Individual Time Trial along the waterfront in Panmure, followed by the iconic Hill Climb up Mt Wellington. Sunday will see the Criterium take place at Highbrook Business Park in East Tamaki.
Riders will be racing for national titles in the Individual Time Trial and the Hill Climb, plus the sprint ace green jersey awarded in the Criterium. The general classification yellow jersey will be awarded to the overall tour winner in each grade.
Auckland Grammar School are expected to show their strength in the U20 Boys event, with Edward Pawson fresh off his bronze medal for the Team Pursuit at the UCI Junior World Track Championships leading the team. Max Preece (St Peter’s College Auckland) and Jack Gillingham (Bethlehem College) will also be contenders after gaining invaluable international experience on the road at the Tour de l’Abitibi in July.
There is set to be some fast racing in the U20 Girls grade with a 30-strong field. Ones to watch will the strong team from Baradene College including Bonnie Rattray, Alice Hopkinson, River Miln and Celia Galvin. The Epsom Girls Grammar duo of Belle Judd and Tegan Feringa will be looking to give them a good battle, as will Tiree Robinson (Kerikeri High), Emma Blackmore (St Peters Cambridge) and Ruby Spring (Saint Kentigern College).
For more information on these events, including full start lists, click here.