Christchurch's Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling continues to attract the New Zealand's top cyclists with the participation of Olympic and Commonwealth Games rider Tim Gudsell. Close to 2000 riders, both elite and recreational, are expected for December's Festival of Cycling. The two-day event, scheduled for December 2 and 3, features a 75km road ride around the Lyttelton Harbour bays and an inner city criterium around the Oxford Terrace café strip that will double as the New Zealand Criterium Championship.
Last year's inaugural event attracted interest from all ends of the country and overseas. This year there will be several world-class riders, including recent Commonwealth Games medallists Hayden Roulston, Gordon McCauley and Hayden Godfrey, and former world and Commonwealth champions Greg Henderson and Katie Mactier, who both dominated last year's inaugural event.
This week's announcement of Tim Gudsell puts four Commonwealth medallists on the Christchurch start line. The 22 year-old is one of New Zealand's top track riders but has also served his time as an amateur road rider in France and just two months ago signed a two-year contract to ride with French professional team Française des Jeux.
Gudsell becomes one of the select three Kiwis now racing on the prestigious European ProTour circuit, which by default marks him as a favourite for the Armstrong Peugeot Festival. The Athens Olympian is renowned as an explosive rider, which will suit the undulating harbour course and the short, sharp criterium.
Gudsell is particularly keen for the criterium, which this year doubles as the national championship. Henderson, Godfrey, Roulston and McCauley have all won multiple New Zealand road racing titles, but Gudsell is still looking for his first on the road.
The 75km road ride, on Saturday December 2, starts at McCormack's Bay Reserve in Redcliffs. The course then undulates along the northern bays and through Lyttelton itself, before climbing Evans Pass for a final stretch down through Sumner to finish back at McCormack's Bay Reserve.