New Zealand road cycling championships return to Napier

By CyclingNZ High Performance

The Cycling New Zealand Elite Road Championship has been confirmed for Napier on 6-8 January 2017.
This follows the successful first-up event in Napier this year with the course and the organisation earning considerable praise especially from New Zealand’s World Tour professional riders.
Organisers have made some changes to both the time trial and road race courses. The time trial on 6 January around the Church Road Winery near Taradale has been simplified and allow for more efficient traffic management to further support the local community.
The road race course will remain with a single loop from Napier into Taradale hills before returning for multi-laps over Napier Hill circuit and waterfront finish. Parts of the course have also been tweaked to allow for improved traffic management and a better racing experience. The women’s race will be 112km and the elite men 169km, both slightly shortened from the 2016 race.
The other change is the addition of an under-23 women’s race, which will mirror the men’s race categories. At present the UCI category for women sees riders moving from junior (under-19) directly to elite and Cycling New Zealand believes the addition of an under-23 category will better enable this transition.
Like the men, the under-23 riders will compete in the same event as the elite women, but it will create a race within a race and better recognise their talents while also providing the experience of racing race against elite riders.
“There are challenges in the transition for a female under-19 rider directly into the elite category and this recognition of a specific Under-23 event will provide a better competitive opportunity for the increasing amount of talent coming through the junior ranks,” said Cycling New Zealand’s High Performance Athlete Development Leader, Graeme Hunn. 
“The chance to compete with their peers but also gain recognition for their performance will further support and encourage the younger elite riders.”
Riders in the stunning Hawkes Bay countryside at the New Zealand elite road championships this year.
The image is free for editorial use only. Credit: John Cowpland
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