The 2005 Lion Foundation New Zealand road cycling championships begin on Thursday in the Manawatu. The start and finish of all races is in the small town of Ashhurst, 12km from Palmerston North; interest in the event has been strong, with 552 riders entering races over the weekend.
The first event of the championships is the under 15 girls time trial, starting at 9.00am on Thursday, with the senior women due to start at approximately 1.30pm and senior men at 3.25pm. Riders to watch out for in the time trial events include 2002/03 time trial champion Gordon MacCauley in the senior men and in the senior women former champions Dale Tye and Melisa Holt - and of course Sarah Ulmer.
Friday is the start of the road races, with the under 15 boys and girls, under 19 men and women, under 17 girls and veteran 1, 6 and 7 men. Saturday's events are the veteran 2,3,4 and 5 men's races, veteran 1 and 2 women, AWD (Athletes with Disabilities) men and hand bikes, with the senior women's road race due to start at 1.15pm.
The final events are on Sunday, with the under 17 men's road race at 9.00am and the under 23 and open men racing at 10.45am.