UCI status for new NZ women's race

Despite losing a round of the women's world cup in 2007, New Zealand will still be able to host the top female cyclists in the world with a new five day stage race taking place in March, 2007. The 470 km race will be held in the Wellington region, starting the Hutt Valley on March 7 and finishing with a criterium in downtown Wellington on March 11. It has been granted a 2.2 status by the UCI.

Promoter Jorge Sandoval said, "This is great news for our sport and the region. We may not have a one day world cup race but we now have a five day top international cycle tour instead.

"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 March 2007. I already have requests from European teams wanting to come back to Wellington in 2007 and ride the Trust House sponsored event."

The race will send the field up the steepest hill climb in the Wairarapa: Admiral hill - previously used only by their male counterparts. This will be hard introduction to the tour as it will happen after just one day of racing and it will be particularly tough for the for the European riders who come to New Zealand early in their season.

"We want to bring the elite and grass roots of New Zealand cycling together, and this is the only way that our up and coming riders get to race against top overseas riders right here in our country," added Sandoval.

The stages

Stage 1 - March 7: Hutt City Criterium, 35 kms
Stage 2 - March 8: Martinborough - Masterton, 99 km
Stage 3 - March 9: Tour of the Wairarapa: Masterton - Pahiatua, 70 km
Stage 4 - March 9: Pahiatua - Masterton, 60 km
Stage 5 - March 10: Masterton circuit, mountain top finish, 125.3 km
Stage 6 - March 11: Scorching Bay ITT, 14km
Stage 7 - March 11: Wellington Criterium, 35 km

More information: www.cycletournz.com

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