An elite cyclist was airlifted to hospital yesterday after falling off her bike during the country's largest cycling event.

The 42-year-old was one of 8200 cyclists taking part in the annual Contact Lake Taupo Cycle challenge.

The woman was a relay competitor who had just begun the final leg of her team's race when she fell about 12.45pm.

Youthtown pilot Nat Every said the woman fractured her femur.


Around 30 cyclists were treated for injuries, including rib fractures and gravel burns, event director Kay Brake said.

"We have had a good day, injury wise," Brake said. "The weather was superb, and refreshing for our riders compared to last year."

Rushlee Buchanan won the women's 100km road race in a time of 2 hours and 44 minutes.

In the 160km men's classic race, Mike Northey won his second major competition for the year with a time of 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, "minor eruptive activity" was reported on nearby Mt Tongariro and was being closely monitored by GNS scientists.

There were also signs of continuing volcanic activity on Mt Ruapehu.