New Zealand cycling legend Julian Dean will head the field when a new cycling race is staged at Rotorua Airport.

Last year a new cycling event called the Runway Project was held at the airport with more than 1000 people cycling down the runway.

This Saturday the event has been expanded to include the Flying Kilo - a 1km long time trial, heading from north to south on the runway.

It is part of the Rotorua Bike Festival and anyone can enter.

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"We have a capacity of 600 riders and what we will be doing is every minute we will set 25 riders off," event director Jason Cameron said.

"It is not quite like the time trials at the Tour de France, where people go off individually, we are going to send them off in groups."

He said the fastest rider would be named the winner in each division. The three divisions include a People's Flying Kilo race (open to anyone) plus an elite men's and elite women's division.

Participants in the Ride the Runway, at Rotorua Airport, an event of the Bike Festival at Rotorua.
Participants in the Ride the Runway, at Rotorua Airport, an event of the Bike Festival at Rotorua.

Prize money of $2000 will be up for grabs in the elite divisions and there will be spot prizes.

David Crowley, from the Charitable Trust, a volunteer group that oversees the festival, said it was only $10 to enter the Flying Kilo.

"The people's event is only $10 and is open to everyone," Crowley said.

"The whole trust team are entered and it'll be exciting to know how fast, or slow, we are over a kilometre. Bragging rights are at stake."

The first event being held on Saturday at the Rotorua Airport will be the QE Health Ride the Runway, which is free to the public and includes a nice cycle down the runway from 3.30pm to 4.30pm.

Racing in the Flying Kilo will then begin at 4.40pm.

Dean, who has raced multiple Tour de France events and is based in Rotorua, will compete in the People's Flying Kilo event. His two sons are also taking part.

He said he was not necessarily trying to win the event but simply wanted to get out and support the Rotorua Bike Festival.

"It is something anyone can have a go at and I wanted to show my support as a festival ambassador, by taking part in this event," he said.

"I said when I retired from racing I would not pin a race number on again ... so I will just be out there to have a bit of fun really and support the event."

- You can register at www.rotoruabikefestival.com.