New Zealand race organizer Jorge Sandoval has said that he has plans to enhance the Women's Tour of Wellington and the Wairarapa, as well as the Trust House men's Tour of Wellington in 2007. His announcement comes despite the disappointing news that the UCI will award the women's world cup races held there for the past two years to another venue.
"With road cycling in Wellington growing at the fastest rate since the 1960s, we want to capture the momentum and excitement that was built with the 2005 and 2006 races," said Sandoval. "The public were able to get so close to the world's best professional riders racing around our city and region."
The loss of the world cup race comes after the UCI Road Commission contacted national federation BikeNZ, saying that the huge demand from cities wishing to host a round was the reason for their decision.
BikeNZ events manager Ted Jones regretted the news. "It is disappointing that Wellington has not been awarded a round in 2007," he stated. "We had some exciting initiatives planned to increase participation and spectator fun next year but that will now have to go on hold. Hosting world cup rounds is a privilege, not a right … it shows that nothing can be taken for granted. We have been fortunate to host the world's best female road cyclists over the last two years but will now have to wait at least until 2008 to welcome them back to Wellington".
He paid credit to the Wellington City Council for their contribution in 2005 and 2006. "Their support and commitment to ensuring central Wellington could effectively close down for a day was a positive sign of their enthusiasm to host this, and other, world class events," he stated. He also complimented event organiser Jorge Sandoval and sponsor Trust House.
Sandoval says he wants to build on the platform that has been created in the Wellington region.
"Trust House had already signed the sponsorship for next year for the Women's World Cup and their support for top level cycling is second to none," he said. "The Wellington City Council input with the World Cup event ensured that the central city and Miramar Peninsula circuits provided the safety required to host a race of international magnitude."
"They all really get behind our event in every way. I also wish to acknowledge the support of the Hutt City and Masterton City Council, as well as every sponsor for their support."
Sandoval says that bringing together elite cyclists and the grass roots of the sport has always been part of his dream for New Zealand cycling.
"In order to keep the momentum built up by the world cup and women's tours, we will run a bigger Women's Tour of New Zealand in the Wellington and Wairarapa area in 2007."
Race details will be announced soon.