Napier is certain to stage the national road cycling championships again after being applauded yesterday for taking the event to a new level over the last three years.
It's not clear when, but Cycling New Zealand is still to decide on next year's host, chairman Tony Mitchell, of Auckland, saying any other suitor has high standards to meet after those which "took it up a notch" in Napier, as the feature of an annual Summer Cycling Carnival.
But with rumours that Cycling NZ had asked Napier to consider staging the championships on 2020, Mitchell said while he'd like to see Napier staging the event again, the city council's decision not to tender for the event next year was "probably the right one".
A decision is likely to be announced by March, with a South Island venue, probably Christchurch, the favourite, but Mitchell said: "We would love to bring it back to Napier."
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton reiterated that the Council had not applied to stage the championships again next year, but he was sure the event would return to the city in the future.
"We have raised it to a new level, and Cycling NZ are very keen for us to do it again," he said.
While the time trials on Friday featured a mainly rural course, the road races over the weekend were a mix of rural and urban, with hundreds lining Hospital Hill, Botanical Gardens and Marine Parade vantage points, impressing the growing number of riders who have experience of the racing scene in Europe.
Cycling NZ was particularly pleased with the input of the city through council chief executive Wayne Jack and events manager Kevin Murphy and Hawke's cycling stalwart and race organiser Ivan Aplin.
The championships were a triumph for young and up-and-coming riders, in particular 20-year-olds Michaela Drummond, of Palmerston North, and James Fouche, of Auckland.
On Saturday Georgia Christie claimed the Under 23 women's road race title, while Fouche won the men's race yesterday.
While the championships have finished, the BDO Summer Cycling Festival continues this week with the Bay Espresso Winery Fun Ride, a 26km recreational ride from Clive (13km each way) to Te Awanga Estate, lunch at the winery included.
It will end in Napier on Friday with a family fun ride, a dress-your-bike competition and an early-evening criterium race on Marine Parade.
A similar festival is being held in the Waipa district from January 22 to 27, also including events for cycling all-comers and based around the five-day New Zealand Cycle Classic (known Waikato remodelling of the Tour of Wellington).