World No.1's For Festival Of Cycling

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Fri 4/Nov/11 9:20am

On the first weekend of December every year the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling confirms Christchurch as the epicentre of New Zealand cycling. But it will be even more so in 2011 with the recent signing of two world number ones for the festival’s mountain bike event.

Road racing has traditionally taken centre stage at the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling, with past winners including world and Olympic medallists such as Greg Henderson, Hayden Roulston, Cath Cheatley, Katie MacTier and Linda Villumsen. But this year could be different as Christchurch’s Anton Cooper and Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff, fresh from being named the number one junior mountain bikers in the world, have both indicated they’ll be on the Waipara Township start line.

Scheduled this year for December 3rd and 4th, the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling brings together the many sides of cycling for a weekend long celebration that sees Olympic champions rubbing shoulders with recreational riders, kids and keen club cyclists across every cycling option from road to mountain bikes and BMX.

Following the February quake, however, the traditional Festival of Cycling venues and routes have been unusable. But to ensure the longevity and safety of the event, the north Canterbury town of Waipara has put its hand up to host Day One, which will see Anton Cooper and Jolanda Neff as headline acts in the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling’s Frog Rock Mountain Bike Ride.

Cooper, of course, is the Christchurch 17 year old that took the mountain bike world by storm in 2011, winning his first two international outings, which also happened to be rounds of the prestigious World Cup Series in Italy and the Czech Republic. At the world championships in Switzerland he shrugged off mounting pressure, a slow start and a crash to ride through the field for the silver medal among junior men.

Jolanda Neff has been even more dominant on the world circuit than Cooper. The 17 year old won her Swiss championship, the European championship and three rounds of the World Cup circuit. But on home soil at the world championship she fell victim to illness and slipped to fourth place.

However, both Cooper and Neff finished 2011 ranked number one in the world among juniors, and will be undoubted favourites to win overall honours when they line up in Waipara.

The Frog Rock Ride offers mountain bike enthusiasts either 15k or 26k of challenging but achievable riding over the historic North Canterbury farms stations of Shellrock, Mount Donald, Pentland Downs and Carvossa. The course takes in the famous Frog Rock, Weka Pass and Shell Rock, with the feature 26k option including 1000m of climbing that will challenge even the world number ones.

Organiser Simon Hollander says Waipara will be a great host for the Festival of Cycling, which on Day One will also feature a 90k road ride and a 12k childrens ride.

“It’s a great region for riding and with their wine and food reputation Waipara is well-versed in hosting successful festivals,” says Hollander.

“The Frog Rock mountain bike is a really special ride on historic trails that riders only get to access during this event. For the average recreational mountain biker, being able to rub shoulders with world number one’s just makes it that much more special.”

Surrounded by sheltered valleys, rolling ranges and the Pacific Ocean, Waipara region has become an epicentre for fine wine and food, with vineyards, olives, truffles and figs mixed with traditional specialties such as sheep, cattle, crayfish, crabs, clams and blue cod. Their annual wine and food festival showcases everything that Waipara has to offer, and on December 3rd it will offer it all alongside some of the country’s most spectacular cycling.
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Re: World No.1's For Festival Of Cycling

Postby mtbfairplay on Mon 7/Nov/11 7:32pm

Hey is Brad Hudson entering, didn't he come 2nd to the defending champion last year on a split time?
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