Kyra is the Rotorua Daily Post's police, emergency and court reporter.

National hub to cement region as cycling centre (+video)

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A mountain bike national performance hub will be based at the Rotorua campus of Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, it has been revealed.

Cycling New Zealand chief executive Andrew Matheson and commercial leader Rob Waddell gave a presentation to the Rotorua Lakes Council's Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting yesterday in a bid for a partnership and funding to help with setting up the hub.

The proposed four-year partnership with funding of $50,000 each year from the council's sport and recreation budget was passed unanimously by councillors, meaning Rotorua is set to become the country's official home of mountain biking.

Mr Waddell said he was grateful for the council support and was excited about what the plan would do for young people and Rotorua as a whole.

During the presentation Mr Waddell announced that Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic had partnered with Cycling New Zealand for the project and a head coach had been named - Rotorua's Sam Thompson.

Cycling New Zealand commercial leader Rob Waddell.
Cycling New Zealand commercial leader Rob Waddell.

"Now we are looking forward to being able to add to the progress," Mr Waddell said.

Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic said in a statement it was excited about the opportunity and was looking forward to supporting the advancement of mountain biking in New Zealand to the highest level.

It was looking at using the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park to accommodate athletes during training camps.

Mr Waddell said the polytech's existing facilities would be used with no plans to construct additional buildings.

Mr Waddell told councillors Cycling New Zealand was ready to develop a "structured national athlete development programme focused on providing opportunities and pathways for young aspiring riders to reach their potential and inspire the next generation".

"Once fully operational, the National Performance Hub will have one full-time head coach and two further part-time coaches.

The targeted participants of this programme will be from developing young riders, through to established elite mountain bike riders.

"The intention is that the MTB National Performance Hub will support up to 20 permanent athletes in Rotorua plus facilitate a number of training camps throughout the year for targeted international riders and additional development riders."

The establishment of the hub is set to be formally announced in September or October.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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