New Zealand’s 2016 Cycling Round-Up
Although not many people use bikes as a primary transport option, road cycling and mountain biking as sports continue to grow in popularity around New Zealand. The 2016 calendar contained a fair number of races, large and small, all over the country, so cycling punters had plenty of betting opportunities.
Aaron Gate, riding for the Creation Signs – L&M Ricoh team, won the final stage of the SBS Bank Tour of Southland, held from October 31 to November 05. He finished 25th at the end of Stage 2, managed to claw his way to 1st by the end of Stage 5, slipped to 9th in the penultimate round and then took the 77km 7th Stage in 1:30:48.
New Zealand’s premier hill cycling event is Le Race; which took place on March 19. It’s a tough 100km ride between Canterbury and Akaroa, and this year Hayden Roulston added to his two Olympic track cycling medals by winning the men’s race in 2:41:46. Time-trial world champion Linda Villumsen took the women’s race in 3:10:46.
Gate Triumphs at Lake Taupo too
The Lake Taupo Challenge is New Zealand’s biggest annual cycling event, attracting more than 11,000 participants regularly. Many of them are recreational cyclists, but there is also always a core group of serious athletes who make the various race categories worthwhile for punters.
November’s race was no different, with Aaron Gate notching up another victory in the Holden Men’s Classic 160km race. It was the 100km Women’s Classic Road Race that provided the big thrills, however, with Olympian Racquel Sheath, Michaela Drummond and Karen Fulton separated by milliseconds in first, second and third.
The New Zealand Classic is our most prestigious International Road Cycling event, allowing competitors to take in the beauty of the Wairarapa region over five varied stages. The Final Stage, on January 24, was won by Australian rider Michael Cuming, but punters may also want to watch fellow Australian Ben O’Connor closely in future. His powerful win in intense heat on the hilly Stage Four proved he is a talent to watch.
Sprinters Gleaned One Olympic Silver
The Summer Olympics are always of interest to sports betting fans, but New Zealand cycling supporters were disappointed in Rio 2016. Kiwi sprinters Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster took silver in the Men’s Team Sprint, but that was the cycling team’s only medal.
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