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Leading overseas hopes at NZ Cycle Classic

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/01/2017
Joe Cooper of Wellington © Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images Joe Cooper of Wellington

Kiwi cyclists will have their work cut out winning the 30th edition of the New Zealand Cycle Classic.

A powerful overseas contingent has left long-time race director Jorge Sandoval labelling the field the strong he has assembled for the UCI-sanctioned tour through the Wairarapa region.

Ten professional offshore teams have been attracted, including a UCI Continental outfit from the United Kingdom, Team JLT Condor .

"We've had some fantastic fields over the previous 29 years with riders coming from Europe, America, Asia and Australia, but I believe the 2017 field to be the best ever," Sandoval said.

"Team JLT Condor will make things very difficult for the other teams. It is fully professional. The riders have been in training camps and racing with success in Australia for a month."

Recently-crowned New Zealand road race champion Joe Cooper has been included in his UCI-registered team IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness.

Other leading Kiwis are 2010 winner Michael Torckler and Brad Evans, who is part of the New Zealand national team.

Much attention will fall on two-time Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond, who has made a promising start to his year focusing on road cycling.

He is part of the Blindz Direct team alongside Torckler.

The five-day tour starts on Sunday with a 156km stage from Masterton to Castlepoint.

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