Big crowd noise key to carnival success

By Jonathan Dine jonathan dine@hbtoday co nz

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NAPIER City Council is hoping the Hawke's Bay public will "come to the party" to ensure the inaugural Summer Cycling Carnival is a memorable event.

The 10-day carnival, running from January 7-17, will be a celebration of cycling in the region and a showcase of the country's best cyclists.

Napier City Council's Events Manager Kevin Murphy said he wants to create a "Tour de France-esque" atmosphere.

"We want people to make it a party and we are hoping that will attract attention."

He said the biggest challenge has been trying to educate the public about what they were in for.

Napier has secured the event for three years and the council hopes to continue to build it but Mr Murphy said it's important to start in the right direction with the enthusiasm of the public.

"People need to know what they are meant to do. Yell encouragement, cheer, make noise."

The highlight will be the Big Save Elite Road National Championships, New Zealand's premier elite national road cycling event.

Some of New Zealand's top professional road cyclists will be competing for the coveted crown.

"We have never seen road cycling in the middle of a city before so it's something new and exciting, Mr Murphy said.

The three days of intense racing will culminate in a spectacular finish on Marine Parade.

There will be plenty of star power on show in the main event.

Double world champion and local star Regan Gough will be among the ones to watch.

Joining the 2015 Halberg emerging talent will be Linda Villumsen, the first Kiwi to win a road cycling world title, Rio prospect Rushlee Buchanan, defending champion Hamish Schreurs and arguably New Zealand's most successful cyclist, Greg Henderson.

The carnival will feature plenty of family friendly events including a dress your bike competition for children, a leisurely family cruise down Marine Parade in costume, and a "pain train" which riders can alleviate with a glass of wine at Black Barn Winery.

On the more serious side there will be a calf-busting 90-minute excursion up and down hills on the Tinelli Gran Fondo Ride, or riders can test themselves against the best with a 23km time trial on the elite course.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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