UC campus to host cycling festival

12 October 2011

The University of Canterbury has been announced as the new venue for day two of December's Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling.

The University of Canterbury has been announced as the new venue for day two of December’s Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling.

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 following the February quake, the traditional venues and routes have been unusable.

To ensure the longevity of the event, the University of Canterbury and the north Canterbury town of Waipara have put their hands up to host the 2011 Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling.

Held for the first time in 2005, this innovative event 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.

Festivities kick off on Saturday 3 December in Waipara where endurance junkies can choose from the 90k Waipara Challenge road ride, the 25k Frog Rock mountain bike ride, or the 12k Benchmark Homes Junior Challenge.

On Sunday 4 December the action moves back to Christchurch for the Armstrong Motor Group City Criterium, which this year brings an exciting taste of Euro-style racing to the University of Canterbury.

“The City Criterium has been the visual highlight of the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling,” says event organiser Simon Hollander. “So it was important for us to retain the Criterium,” said Hollander.

“It’s one of the few times that New Zealanders get to see Euro-style racing, and one of the few times that we see New Zealand’s best riders racing at home on a spectator-friendly course.”

Criterium racing is an exciting closed-circuit spectacle with speeds around 50km per hour. The University course will be raced on a 1km circuit that will include Clyde Road, Arts Road and University Drive, with spectators having a 360-degree view of the action from the adjacent grassy knoll.

Past City Criterium winners have included world champions Greg Henderson and Katie MacTier, Commonwealth Games medalists Marc Ryan and Westley Gough, women’s Tour de France champion Linda Villumsen and 2010 US number one Cath Cheatley.

But Hollander stresses that the criterium day also features fun events for kids, rookies and club riders, saying, “The popularity of the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling revolves around providing something for cycling fans of all age, ability and aspiration.”

For more details: http://www.festivalofcycling.co.nz/

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