Tour of Wellington race organizer Jorge Sandoval has announced the addition of an extra 60 kilometres to the third stage of this year's event, which commences in New Zealand's Lower Hutt today. The route addition includes a number of torturous hills, including Te Wharau and Admiral, during five hours of racing.
Sandoval admits he's had to contend with some grumpy cyclists because of the changes but he's unapologetic. "Its music to my ears when a rider curses me for a route they think is too hard," he said.
Friday's third stage has been lengthened from 125km to 185km, and included a cluster of demanding climbs. Between Masterton and Wainuioru in the Wairarapa, riders will have to complete a total of eight hill climbs, amounting to almost 30kms. After climbing the steepest hill in the region, Te Wharau, at the end of 165 km of racing, riders will then face 12kms of Admiral hill winding up in front of them.
"It's my job to make the race as attractive for the riders as possible," explained Sandoval. "I also have a responsibility to the sponsors, the media and the public to make this event as demanding as possible. I can't make this event an easy one, if I do, you will have anyone doing it and that's not real cycling."
"Cycling is all about the individual," he added. " There is only room on the top step of the podium for one rider at the end of the tour and that rider has to be the best, the toughest, the one who everyone involved in the race goes home admiring. That's what makes the Trust House Cycle Classic an epic and captivating spectacle."
The seven stage event starts later today, with a 45 kilometre criterium on the Hutt City circuit.