New Zealand professional cycling team Subway will tackle the Taupo to Napier Classic race for the last time on Saturday.
Subway will wind up after the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling in Christchurch at the beginning of December. Sam Horgan and Nick Lovegrove will race for Subway on Saturday.
Horgan is the current Oceania elite time trial champion and Tour of Canterbury champion. Lovegrove has won several high-profile events and raced in several overseas tours. Hawke's Bay's retired former junior world champion Jeremy Yates, a three-time winner of the Classic, and two-time Olympic Games medal winner Westley Gough have raced for Subway in the past.
The demanding 140km Classic, which was first held in 1971, has been won by some of the country's cycling legends including 1975 winner Jack Swart, Yates, who won in 2000, 2008 and 2010, and another three-time winner in Vern Hanaray.
Race organiser Owen Cleverton is predicting visiting professionals like Horgan and Lovegrove to dominate the elite section of the race, which will be hosted by the Ramblers and Taupo clubs.
However, he expects Ramblers riders to dominate the veteran, B grade and women's fields and has predicted Ross Dyer to feature in the battle for the B grade title.
The race starts at 9am on Saturday at the Taupo Fire Station. It then proceeds along Lake Terrace before heading up the Taupo-Napier Highway. There are several points along the course where competitors can earn a share of the prize money, namely at a Sprint "Prime" outside the Rangataiki Tavern, and at three "King of the Mountain" (KOM) Primes.
Riders should reach the sprint prime at 9.45am, the first KOM at Tarawera about 10.30am, the second at Turangakumu Summit at 11am and the third and final climb bonus, Titiokura Saddle at 11.30am. Riders will turn off SH5 onto Glengarry Rd, race the length of this hilly section before reaching Puketitiri Rd, climbing "The Staircase" and then turning on to Puketapu Rd and heading for the finish outside Puketapu School.
The first riders are expected to finish at Puketapu School about 12.30pm.