Summer cycling set to sizzle

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FUN TIMES: The Party on the Hill spectator spot, was a perfect place to view the elite men's & women's race circuit, near the Napier Botanical Gardens. PHOTO ALPHA PIX
FUN TIMES: The Party on the Hill spectator spot, was a perfect place to view the elite men's & women's race circuit, near the Napier Botanical Gardens. PHOTO ALPHA PIX

Six exciting family friendly events are set to attract thousands to the second annual Hawke's Bay Summer Cycling Carnival to be held in Napier in January.

Carnival events, between Wednesday, January 4 and Sunday, January 8, 2017, run alongside the annual Elite and U23 Road National Championships, which Napier is hosting through to 2018.

Riders of all ages have a chance to try out the 1.1km Criterium circuit down Marine Parade in the Bay Espresso Family Fun Ride on January 4. Marine Parade will be closed off for this free event - participants can win a bike or a great spot prize - with cyclists encouraged to then tackle the Black Barn Vineyards Criterium, which closely follows the Family Fun Ride.

The Criterium is a great event for spectators, with riders doing sprint laps every 10 minutes. There are categories for all levels of ability, and a children's section, with the winner of the fastest women's and men's races taking away a prize of coffee from Bay Espresso.

On January 5 the action shifts to the A & P Showgrounds in Hastings, which is the starting point for the iWay Ride, a casual 40km return trip by bike to Te Awanga Estate.

Participants can pre-order a tasty lunch from the winery. Former professional cyclist Robbie McEwen of Australia will be on the ride, and other cycling legends are expected to join in the fun.

Church Road Winery hosts the Traffic Design Group Flying Lap on January 6. This 20km time trial gives entrants a chance to test themselves on one lap of the elite time trial course, with the fastest rider receiving a trophy.

If hills are your thing, why not try the Tineli Gran Fondo Ride on January 7? Or for a bit of fun for the kids, encourage them to enter the Avanti Dress Your Bike Competition on January 8.

The 2017 championships will run between Friday, January 6 and Sunday, January 8, comprising time trials, women's, men's and under-23 races, finishing with the Legends of Cycling Dinner at Church Road Winery, with special guests Julian Dean, New Zealand's most successful professional cyclist, and Robbie McEwen. This is the first time this VIP event has been held in Hawke's Bay.

Cycling New Zealand's chief executive Andrew Matheson is looking forward to the upcoming carnival, citing the success of this year's event.

"The 2016 Elite event was held on a challenging course which showcased the country's top and up-and-coming road cycling talent, while also providing a great experience for spectators," he says.

"It was great to see Napier and the wider Hawke's Bay embrace cycling and we are excited to be bringing elite racing back to Napier for a second year. Napier has put itself on the map as a cycling destination - the city has proven it has both the ability and the support of the community to deliver an outstanding championships event."

For more information on carnival events, go to www.summercyclingcarnival.co.nz. The Black Barn Vineyards Criterium and Tineli Gran Fondo Ride are being hosted by Ramblers Cycling Club and require registration prior to the events being held. For more information go to www.ramblers.co.nz

- Hawkes Bay Today

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