Darren Shea down for Christchurch cycling festival

Close to 800 riders, both elite and recreational, have signed up for next weekend's Armstrong Prestige Festival of Cycling. The two-day event features a 75k ride on Saturday, December 3 and an inner-city criterium on Sunday, December 4.

This inaugural event has recently attracted interest from Christchurch's world junior team pursuit champion Darren Shea, the third world champion to enter along with New Zealand's Greg Henderson and Australian Katie Mactier. 18 year-old Shea, earmarked as one of New Zealand's rising stars, is said to be riding the Armstrong Prestige Festival of Cycling as preparation for the summer season, which he hopes might include selection for the next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

The 75k Armstrong Prestige Harbour Ride starts at Centennial Park and heads out through Halswell and Taitapu Road to Motukarara before heading over Gebbies Pass. The course then undulates through Lyttleton Harbour's northern bays, climbing over Evans Pass for a final stretch through Sumner and back around the foothills to the Centennial Park finish line.

The following morning, the Armstrong Prestige City Criterium will bring a taste of European cycling to Christchurch with an exciting morning of multi-lap racing around the inner-city Oxford Terrace café strip. The event will feature world class racing, but also grades for riders of any ability, including a celebrity tandem fundraising race for Cure Kids NZ.

More details: www.festivalofcycling.co.nz.

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