Hands happy with women’s tour turn-out

Honda could increase cycling association

Honda Hybrid Women’s Tour race director Michael Hands is delighted with the quantity of riders taking part in this year’s inaugural race. The tour, which runs in conjunction with the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, was announced in the weeks leading up to the race yet has attracted a large field of Australian women’s riders to compete.

“We have been working to this point for a number of years and I could not be happier with the number of entries,” said Hands. “Teams have come from right across Australia to participate and the number of teams is more than I could have hoped for. Companies like Bundaberg Sugar, who did not have budget to support a team, managed to find some to support the event.”

Honda Australia’s press manager Mark Higgins indicated the Japanese car manufacturer was using the sport’s green aspects to promote its hybrid technology. “We are proud to support women’s racing and are very impressed with the turn out for this event,” said Higgins. “This is very important: cycling and Honda has had a long history. Mr Honda’s father, actually set up a bicycle shop in Tokyo and promoted cycle racing in Japan. They actually started putting engines onto bicycle frames, so this really was the beginning of the Honda you see it today, starting, courtesy of the bicycle.

“Cycle is a wonderful mode of transport and a great sport and is very green, environmentally friendly and high tech and these are very important values of Honda, so this is a very important event for us,” he added.

Higgins added that he’s pleased with the results Honda has seen from its support of the race. He wouldn’t go into detail on the company’s future involvement with the sport.

“At first it was a see how it goes, with the results we have seen so far and the coverage we have received I think, and I am hoping we will have a long future with the sport,” he said. “I have been really impressed with the quality of the women’ racing, the skill level is mind blowing.”

Rochelle Gilmore (HP Pinarello) won the race’s opening stage yesterday, giving her the lead into today’s individual time trial stage. The three day race concludes tomorrow with a criterium in Melbourne.

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