The NZCT New Zealand Cycle Classic’s standing as New Zealand’s only UCI registered tour is reflected in the quality of the overseas teams entered each year and 2013 will be no exception.
One of Australia’s most successful Continental teams, the Drapac Professional Cycling team, has finalised their line up for the 26th version of New Zealand’s premier cycle tour in 2013. Given the consistent success of their riders in 2012, the tour’s overall winner might well come from the Drapac Cycling team for the second time in five years after Peter MacDonald won the tour in 2009. Leading the charge is multi-race victor and one of their new members in the team, twenty nine year old Bernard Sulzberger; a very accomplished tour rider with a few years’ of experience after racing in many countries around the world. He is a former Australian Criterium national champion.
Darren Lapthorne and Thomas Palmer are also returning to the Classic. Lapthorne has already presented his credentials to the New Zealand cycling public. He competed in the 2012 New Zealand Cycle Classic, when he distinguished himself by leading the race for two days. He went on to finish second overall to 2012 winner Jay McCarthy while Palmer, a 2007 Junior world champion, won stage four in Manawatu and also won three stages in the 2012 Tour of Okinawa.
The two other members of the team are Malcolm Rudolph and Robbie Hucker. One of Rudolph’s biggest wins was the 2009 Grafton to Inverill cycle race, one of Australia’s biggest one day races, while Hucker is a multiple winner of mountain bike titles in Australian and is the current Australian cross country champion. Drapac is one of the bigger Oceania teams and NZCT Cycle Classic race director Jorge Sandoval is an admirer of its professionalism. “We have seen how professional the team is,” Sandoval said. “One of its riders, Peter McDonald, won in 2009, and Lapthorne almost produced a repeat performance in finishing just nine seconds behind McCarthy in January. Drapac will come well prepared with a full backup of masseurs, a mechanic, and a coach.” Sandoval expects to name five more UCI-registered overseas teams in the next few days, and eventually the New Zealand team line-ups.
The tour’s first stage is the individual time trial at Massey University on Wednesday 23rd January. With the tour route already announced, Sandoval singled out stage four as the “Queen stage” of the tour, a 135km stage to finish at the top of Saddle Road on Saturday 26 January.
For more information please contact Race Director Jorge Sandoval 0274 464 300. www.cycletour.nz.com http://www.drapaccycling.com