Being realistic in their expectations will be a point of focus for the small number of Bike Manawatu riders who will compete in the NZ cycle classic next week as a part of Team Massey. Bike Manawatu riders will form the nucleus of Team Massey that includes ex professional cyclist Steve Stannard, who now heads Massey’s School of Sport and Exercise and up and coming U23 riders Matiu Kaihau and Max Annear-Henderson. According to Steve, as the team’s leader, their primary objective will be to get someone on the podium during the stage races. “Based on the quality of the field the competition will be stiff, especially in the U23 category where Michael Vink and Josh Aitken have dominated recently”, he said. “We are unlikely to win the tour but for us this is more about developing our junior riders in a competition with world class national and international riders”.
The team is completed by Dion Smith whose pedigree has been developed more recently during his time with the Pure Black racing team and Henri Bardoul, who recently left Hillcrest High School at the end of 2011. Despites Steve’s official classification as a masters 3 rider under UCI rules, he is not concerned that his age might be a barrier for the team doing well. Apart from riding a very tough tour, Steve’s real task will come in terms of mentoring, motivating and leading his much younger team mates.
Stage racing begins on Wednesday 25 Jan at Massey University with the individual time trail