The first competitors had already stepped up to the starter's mark before the Downer New Zealand Masters Games officially opened this evening.

The cycling module, which will consist of four disciplines in three days, got underway with the Individual Road Time Trials early this afternoon.

Around 97 cyclists departed at timed intervals from Somme Parade to carry on riding up Papaiti Rd in a 20km circuit, looking to be the fastest in their various age groups.

The 80+ riders led the way, followed by the 75-79 riders and all the way back down to 35+.

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Spokesman Ron Cheatley said there were 155 riders entered across all four cycling events, as the hill climb and velodrome racing will be tomorrow, followed by the road race on Sunday.

Wairoa's 75-79 competitor Melva Martin is waved on by the spectators on Somme Parade.
Wairoa's 75-79 competitor Melva Martin is waved on by the spectators on Somme Parade.

There is some tough cross-pollination required, as Whanganui NZMG's regular Tonia Nesbitt was doing the time trial before entering tomorrow's triathlon on Anzac Parade, which has a 24km cycling component.

Nesbitt admitted it is not easy doing such tasking events on consecutive days, although she was racing in a team for the triathlon rather than individual.

"It could be worse, could be the hill climb [today]," she said.

Nesbitt said the two events were good warmup for Sunday's road race on Brunswick Rd.

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Meanwhile, the NZMG's athletics track and field programme gets underway tomorrow morning at Cooks Gardens, and the first up for the running discipline will be the 1 Mile event at 10am.

A field of 25 men and six women will line up to cover the same 1,609m distance as Sir Peter Snell covered in his famous world record run on January 27, 1962.

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In a press release, Athletics Sport partner Mike Dwyer said all the masters milers will be invited back in a month's time to take part in the Snell Mile Challenge, being hosted by the Sports Heritage Trust.

Overall, 128 athletes will do a combined 473 events over the next three days.

The most popular is the sprints, with 51 athletes entered for the 100m, while 50 will take part in the 60m.

In the field, there are 47 entries for the discus, with similar numbers for the shotput and javelin.