Originally postponed from March due to Covid-19, Bike Manawatu finally had the opportunity to deliver The Novice Tour that was held last weekend for the 47th consecutive year.
The three day tour consisted of two road races and an Individual Time Trial which attracted over 100 riders from U13 through to U19 with a 20% increase in riders from 2019. Riders from as far north as Kaitaia and as far south as Wanaka enjoyed the friendly environment from the Bike Manawatu team and while mainly escaping the rain, did not escape some challenging winds.
The Novice Tour has a history of unearthing future champions, some of whom have gone on to ride the Olympic Games, World Championships, and the Tour de France so it has a strong reputation in providing appropriate and meaningful racing in the junior age groups.
The Novice Tour kicked off the National Road Series (NRS) with the first road racing opportunity after bonuses races were held on the e-sports platform, Zwift. The 10 race series was designed to provide more meaningful race experiences for riders from Under- 13 to Under-19 grades. With the benefit of a coordinated calendar and overarching national support, the series aims to provide competitive and appropriate racing opportunities that are safe, fair, fun and accessible and in doing so raise the profile and skill levels of junior racing in New Zealand.
With an option to ride in their 2021 age group, many riders took the opportunity to test the increased distances and in their older age group.
Overall winners of the U19 grade, Jaxson Whyte and Ally Gothard both raced up to be first time U19 riders as they prepared for their first year in the junior grade in 2021. Whyte, still only 16, was one of four riders who travelled from Cycling South Canterbury to take part in the event for the first time with one of the key drivers of participation the profile of the National Road Series.
Gothard, also still 16, has participated before in the event and is now looking ahead to her first National U19 Road Championships which will be held at the Elite Road Nationals in February.
“It’s a great tour, its lots of fun and well organised. Plus I get to race with my friends which is great after such a disrupted season. I am now looking forward to a good summer of training before the Elite Road Nationals in Cambridge”
Maui Morrison, who is racing in his final year as a U17, dominated the weekend winning all three stages with the final 70km stage won in a sprint finish after some challenging conditions in the wind.
“We stayed sheltered in the first half and then there was part of a break of around 10 riders at the first KOM and then after the second lap we set a strong tempo but the winds on the back part of the course were brutal” Morrison will be lining up at next weekends’ Vantage Criterium National championships in Christchurch, also part of the National Road Series.
Cycling New Zealand extends their thanks to the team from Bike Manawatu for their support of the National Road Series and congratulates them on a successful event.
Overall GC winners - U13 boys; Harry Shannon, U13 Girls; Renee Harrison, U15 Boys; Harrison Craw, U15 Girls; Caoilinn Gray, U17 Boys; Maui Morrison, U17 Girls; Ruby Spring, U19 Men; Jaxson Whyte, U19 Women; Ally Gothard.
Sprint Ace – U13 boys; Filip Martin, U13 Girls; Renee Harrison, U15 Boys; Harrison Craw, U15 Girls; Caoilinn Gray, U17 Boys; Maui Morrison, U17 Girls; Muirean Green, U19 Men; Michael Redmond, U19 Women; Ally Gothard.
KOM/QOM - U13 boys; Hagen Thompson, U13 Girls; Renee Harrison, U15 Boys; Ta Craw, U15 Girls; Caoilinn Gray, U17 Boys; Maui Morrison, U17 Girls; Bonnie Rattray, U19 Men; Adam Francis, U19 Women; Amye Kellow.