Huri Huri News
15 December 2016
Olympic and world champion rower Hamish Bond will step up his cycling career next month when he contests the New Zealand Cycle Classic, an international stage race held entirely in the Wairarapa.
Bond, one half of the indomitable New Zealand men's rowing pair with Eric Murray who won back-to-back Olympic golds in the men’s coxless pair and who’ve won eight world championship titles, will contest the 30th Anniversary of the Cycle Classic being held from January 22nd – 26th 2017. Bond will race alongside New Zealand professional cyclist Michael Torckler in the Blindz Direct team and says he is looking forward to testing himself against some of the world’s top international riders.
“I’ve done so little racing and am still finding out what I’m capable of in different situations,” he says. “You can only learn this about yourself when putting yourself under pressure, so I’m hugely motivated to give myself and the team the best possible chance to do well.”
Bond, who finished eighth on general classification in this year’s Tour of Southland while helping his Vantage Windows and Doors teammate Torckler to sixth place overall, says finishing the New Zealand Cycle Classic is one of his key goals for 2017. He will also contest the New Zealand Road Cycling Championships being held in Hawke’s Bay two weeks earlier and is confident his race fitness will carry on through between the two major events.
“I should be carrying good fitness into the Cycle Classic and depending how I go at the road championships will dictate what I can do doing forward … I will be pushing myself against some of the best in the country and against riders from overseas.”
Bond, who recently relocated to Wellington with his wife, has dropped 9kg since switching his focus from rowing to cycling. But he says there’s similarities between the two sports which hold him in good stead.
“There’s massive cross overs in being a high performance athlete. The biggest part probably is you learn how to suffer and push yourself harder. Rowing is demanding on your cardiovascular system and physiology and is endurance based, so all of that is directly transferrable to cycling.”
Blindz Direct team manager Stuart Thomason is thrilled to have Bond join Torckler in the team. He says the pair will line up alongside upcoming riders Joshua Aldridge, Jason Thomason and Cameron Wynniatt.
“The team is based around Michael, a former winner of the New Zealand Cycle Classic, and we are confident he will do well on GC. Hamish will be very useful as he is so strong on the bike. He has an amazing aerobic capacity and endurance and will be particularly useful in the cross winds,” says Thomason.
New Zealand Cycle Classic race director Jorge Sandoval is equally excited about having Bond line-up for the tour.
“Next year’s 30th celebration of the Cycle Classic is looking to be the best so far with a top line up of overseas teams coming to New Zealand with the aim of taking the tour title and scoring some early UCI points,” says Sandoval. “Having double Olympic rower Hamish Bond in the tour is a privilege for me and I expect he will show his aggressiveness. I hope he goes really well.”
“I observed him doing really well in last month’s tour of Southland and am keen to see him test himself against some of the best professional teams ever come to New Zealand. Team tactics will be crucial and what makes our event so hard is the speed and the number of challenging hill climbs, especially on stages one and two,” says Sandoval. “Having someone like Michael Torckler riding alongside Hamish is a great asset to the tour and will be terrific for spectators’ to watch too.”
Sandoval says he will announce the line-up of international teams coming to the Wairarapa in the New Year.
The New Zealand Cycle Classic is a five-stage, elite international men’s road cycling race staged entirely in the Wairarapa. It is the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) sanctioned race to be held in New Zealand in 2017.
It begins on Sunday, 22nd January 2017, with a 156km stage taking riders from the Wairarapa’s biggest town of Masterton to the spectacular coastal community of Castlepoint. The following day riders will complete a 147km hilly route that finishes atop of the steep Admiral Hill in Gladstone, while stage three sees riders travel from Masterton to the wine village of Martinborough and then complete eight laps of an 8km circuit. Stage four is new and will see riders head south down SH2 travelling through all five of the Wairarapa’s characterful townships before concluding with a fast and furious finish near the Martinborough Square. The fifth and final stage is based just west of Masterton and will see riders complete a fast and furious 12 lap, 10km circuit.
Being held simultaneously is Huri Huri: Wairarapa’s Bike Festival which celebrates the Wairarapa’s bike-friendly roads, tracks and trails; the people that ride on them and the bikes they ride. The 2017 Festival (www.hurihuri.co.nz) has a variety of events and activities held across the region, catering to all levels of involvement in biking and to all ages.
For more information please visit www.cycletournz.com.