Swiss Superstars to race the Swiss Epic

Graubünden native, Nino Schurter and his SCOTT-SRAM squad will line up at the 2020 Swiss Epic; when it starts in Laax on the 18th of August.

Multiple World Champion and Graubünden resident, Nino Schurter is set to headline an all-star SCOTT-SRAM team at the 2020 Swiss Epic. The reigning cross-country World Champion will line up alongside his 2019 Absa Cape Epic winning partner, Lars Forster. The 2018 Swiss Epic champions, Andri Frischknecht and Matthias Stirnemann also return to the race after a one-year hiatus; while Thomas Frischknecht and his teammate are set to contest for the Grand Masters’ trophy.

Schurter last raced the Swiss Epic in 2016. That year he and Stirnemann finished third, after losing time to a catastrophic puncture on the opening day. Since then his World Cup schedule has meant that taking part in his home stage race was simply not possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its enforced postponement of many events, including the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup races, Schurter will now make his competitive season debut when the Swiss Epic gets underway in Laax.

“First of all, I’m happy to finally go back to racing” an enthusiastic Schurter said. “Particularly as we missed the Absa Cape Epic this year. It’s great we can now use the Swiss Epic as a warm-up for the World Cup racing to follow. I always race for victory though, so it will be more than just a warm-up. And racing on some of my ‘home trails’ is going to be special too. A Swiss Epic win is missing from my palmarès, so I’ll be giving it my all to change this.”

2019 Absa Cape Epic champions, Nino Schurter and Lars Forster are set to race the 2020 Swiss Epic. Photo by Greg Beadle

Stirnemann and Andri Frischknecht were set to aid Schurter and Forster in their bid to defend the Absa Cape Epic title in March. Six months on, their role in Graubünden, at the Swiss Epic, could be a little more relaxed than it would have been in South Africa. The pair will undoubtably still support the race favourites if necessary but they will also not be held back by team orders, given the need for them to blow out any cobwebs after a lengthy lay-off from racing.

There will be no easing into the Swiss Epic however, as the route and the racing is intense from the gun. “The Swiss Epic, I believe, is actually harder; as it’s more intense with all the climbing.” Andri Frischknecht revealed, comparing the Swiss Epic to the Absa Cape Epic. “That said, it’s not as long. Plus, we as Swiss locals have the advantage of knowing the terrain a bit better than when we are racing in South Africa.”

Reflecting on the long months without racing he continued: “Luckily in Switzerland we were able to train at all times. Therefore, physically the break it wasn’t such a problem. Psychologically though, it was not easy at times. Everything was uncertain and difficult to plan. But hey, that’s not only the case for us athletes. It’s the same for everyone, regardless of their profession. Now with the Swiss Epic being confirmed we have something to aim for. It has definitely given me a boost in motivation to go out and work even harder.”

Andri Frishknecht and Matthias Stirnemann won the Swiss Epic in 2018 and are making a grand return in 2020. Photo by Nick Muzik

Andri Frischknecht’s father and SCOTT-SRAM team principal, Thomas, will be taking the opportunity to race his bike too. The 1996 Olympic silver medallist will step up to the Grand Masters’ division for 2020 and will be racing for the Purple leader jerseys which Bärti Bucher has, virtually, made his own. “To me, these days, the fun aspect is much more important than the competitive side of it” Frischknecht senior stated, playing down his competitive instincts. “I just like to be part of the race itself and get the feeling of being in the competition.”

While his coyness at his own racing aspirations could be deceiving, he makes no secret of the pride he feels for the race he helped found. “I’m super excited how the Swiss Epic is growing” he smiled. “From giving birth to it as a start-up, ahead of the first edition in 2014, it has grown and is now making its way to be the top stage race in Europe. Even with the tough circumstances, I know that this year’s edition of the Swiss Epic will have an impressive field of professional athletes.”

The confirmation of SCOTT-SRAM’s participation in the 2020 Swiss Epic follows the Swiss government’s announcement on the 19th of June that events and gatherings of up to 1 000 individuals would be allowed from the 22 of June. After months of uncertainly this decision comes as a very welcome relief to the mountain biking industry. Being able to once again participate in races heralds a return to some form of normality and allows an industry to begin planning for the future once more.

For more information about the Swiss Epic, please visit the website.


Alpine action awaits at the 2020 Swiss Epic

2020 has been an incredibly challenging year to date and good news has been far between; with this in mind, we are excited to share that the 2020 Swiss Epic, which is hosted in the breathtaking Graubünden canton of Switzerland, is set to go ahead as planned, in accordance with the Swiss government's regulations.

"We are happy about the positive development in Switzerland and the good news," said Felix Eichenberger, Managing Director of the Swiss Epic. "Our team works practically around the clock to expand the existing security and protection concepts."

Riders making their way around a dam during Stage 2 of the 2019 Swiss Epic. Photo by Marius Holler

In 2020, riders travelling to the Swiss Epic will be treated to unrivalled experiences on the alpine trails of Graubünden as they make their way from Laax, to Arosa, before crossing the final finish line in Davos five days later, and 333 kilometres later. 

Upholding tradition, the Swiss Epic carves a brand-new route in 2020 and promises, between the start and the finish line, hundreds of kilometres of natural and man-made trails, views that will challenge perceptions of reality, and countless opportunities for riders to create memories that will last a lifetime.

"The best mountain bikers in the world, together with many ambitious amateurs, are celebrating the start of their competition season with us," says Reto Branschi, CEO of Destination Davos Klosters. "It is a great pleasure for us to welcome the mountain bike community back to this unique experience in Graubünden. Together with the race organizers and the numerous helpers, our partner hotels will do everything to ensure that our guests from Switzerland and abroad have an unforgettable experience Week on the most beautiful trails in the world. "

“The well-being and health of all riders, team members and fans are paramount in all decisions we take between now and the event's start in Laax on 18 August. We strive, more than ever, to offer our participants an exceptional and safe racing experience, ”concluded Eichenberger.

Breathtaking alpine trails will be the order of the day, every day during the 2020 Swiss Epic. Photo by Sam Clark

For riders eager to make a grand return to racing, there are a limited number entries available to the 2020 Swiss Epic, but entries close on 5 July 2020. You can secure your Swiss adventure, in Graubünden, by visiting www.swiss-epic.com today. 


EVENT UPDATE: The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain

Dear Pioneers, the last few months have been a continuous uphill climb for the events industry and, unfortunately, we are still nowhere near reaching the top.

When we postponed The Pioneer fuelled by Nutri-Grain 2020 from its original November date to 18 - 23 April 2021, we felt very confident about being able to deliver an exceptional event as planned, albeit at a different time of year.

However, the subsequent impact on our business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, means that today, with great regret, we are confirming that The Pioneer cannot take place in April 2021, or the foreseeable future.

All registered riders have been sent an email with details about the refund process, but if you haven’t received this or have questions, please contact us at pioneer@ironman.com.

We know this news will be very disappointing for you, and we share in those feelings. We love this event, making this decision an incredibly difficult one. Our team have poured their heart and soul into The Pioneer for five years and grown it from a crazy idea, to an established event with a reputation of one of the best mountain bike stage races in the world.

These are trying times, especially for those in sport and event related industries, and while we are pressing ‘pause’ on The Pioneer for 2021, this is not goodbye forever. We hope that with time, we will come out the other side of this situation even stronger and be able to deliver a world-class mountain bike stage race in New Zealand once again.

Thank you for your understanding.

#RideBeyond


Must-Do Post-Race Adventures in Davos

Extend your stay in Graubünden after the 2020 Swiss Epic and experience the best of Davos’ off-the-bike adventures.

Davos hosts the Swiss Epic for the race’s final two stages in 2020. On the 21st and 22nd of August, not only will the teams experience some of the best mountain biking around Davos, they will also be treated to a Bike Festival at the finish line and a legendary after party. For most that means extending their stay in Davos for at least one night; though there are reasons aplenty to extend it even further.

The Swiss Epic’s Bike Festival will showcase just how fanatical Graubünden is about mountain biking. Taking place at Kurpark Davos, at the race’s Davos finish line, the festival is set to exhibit all things cycling. From the latest mountain bikes, to eBikes, apparel and even skills clinics. It will also boast food stalls, showcasing the region’s culinary specialities which riders are sure to enjoy after five days of alpine mountain biking. Entry to the festival is free to both Swiss Epic competitors and the general public so it is sure to be packed with likeminded individuals.

After the race concludes, the options to explore the mountains and valleys around Davos abound. When booking an extra night’s accommodation through the race you will receive a Davos Premium Card. This card entitles you to free public transport in the town and a discounted gondola pass. Furthmore, you can participate at the summer guest programme, which offers you over 800 experiences all summer long.

Extending your stay will reveal why Davos Klosters bills itself as the singletrack paradise of the Alps. By making use of the gondolas you can take in some of the Davos Klosters region’s 700 kilometres of trails; without the effort of havi ng to summit any mountains, as you did during the 5 days of the Swiss Epic. The reason for the region’s plethora of trails is the spirit of Trail Tolerance that hikers and mountain bikers have for one another here. By respecting each other, and riding with the knowledge that a group of hikers may be coming uphill around the next bend, mountain bikers and hikers are able to share and enjoy trails in much of Graubünden.

Two of the most iconic routes to ride while staying on in Davos are the Bahnentour adventure, which features a whopping 10 000 metres of descent, and the award-winning Alps Epic Trail Davos. The Bahnentour, or cable car tour, relies on 9 gondola trips to the trail heads in order to spend the day taking in as many singletrack descents as possible. It covers 100 kilometres in total and requires riders to stick to a strict schedule, in order to make the next cable car at the right time. Thus, attempting to reach the full 10 000 metre descending mark requires near race pace to be maintained throughout the day, from 08h20 to after 17h00.

 

The Alps Epic Trail Davos can be ridden at less of a frantic pace. It starts at the summit of the Jakobshorn, which looms high above Davos, and finishes 40 kilometres and 2 570 metres of descending later in the village of Filisur. Among the many attractions of the route is the Monstein Bier Brewery, one of the highest breweries in Europe, and the Landwasser Bridge, as featured in Danny MacAskill’s “Home of Trails” video and the 2019 Swiss Epic route.

Off the bike, all 700 kilometres of marked mountain bike routes in the mountains around Davos can be hiked or trail run too. One of the most spectacular hikes is the Jöriseen round tour. An excursion to the highest mountain in Davos, the Flüela Schwarzhorn at 3’146 m above sea level, is also always worthwhile. The ascent is relatively easy and the view is unique. On a clear day you can see from the Grossglockner to Monte Blanc.

If the forests and crags of the Alps no longer call, after the Swiss Epic, Davos also offers a variety of non-alpine adventures. Sailing, stand up paddle boarding, wakeboarding or white-water rafting are some of the activities you may be surprised to discover on offer. While a visit to the Davos Winter Sports Museum or taking part in a folk evening are two of the more quintessentially Swiss experiences to take in.

 

To find out about these and more actives on offer in Davos please visit www.davos.ch. Alternatively click on the Event tab on www.swiss-epic.com and navigate to Davos 2020.


Off the Bike Adventures in Arosa

Adventures await for riders who choose to extend their stay in Graubünden and return to Arosa to explore the mountains and valleys of the region.

Arosa plays host, for two nights, to the 2020 Swiss Epic. The teams will be treated to spectacular riding and amazing scenery, but with the focus on racing, many might miss the region’s true beauty. With spectacular mountains, valleys and more to explore, why not extend your stay, return to Arosa and experience the town – and its surrounds – at a more sedate pace?

For mountain bikers, the highlight of the area is undoubtedly the Hörnli Trail. At 6.8 kilometres long, and boasting a 519-metre loss in elevation across its length, it is a dream mountain biking playground packed with thrills throughout, including bermed turns and jumps, which can be rolled or launched off. Parts of the trail will be used on Stages 3 and 4 of the Swiss Epic, but only by returning to Arosa can you enjoy it in its entirety and at a pace of your choosing.

Off the bike, the Arosa/Lenzerheide region offers alpine hiking and breath-taking mountain experiences that provide fun for the whole family. The region boasts over 300 kilometres of marked hiking trails, with routes of various intensity from leisurely lake-side strolls to strenuous alpine hikes. Two of the most significant hikes one can undertake from Arosa lead hikers to Lenzerheide, along a 20-kilometre route, or along the Mittelbünden-Panoramaweg to Davos. The more manageable Arosa-Ochsenalp Rundtour, which riders passed during Stage 2 from Laax to Arosa, is a 14-kilometre loop, which starts and finishes in Arosa and is famed for its exceptionally diverse scenery. From the highest point of the route, it is possible to gaze down Arosa’s Schanfigg Valley. If you time your adventure well and get a perfectly clear day, Graubünden’s administrative capital, Chur, is visible down the Rhine Valley.

One of the most spectacular overnight stays is the Million-Star Hotel. Getting there by foot is a hike up to 2 653 metres above sea level, to the Weisshorn summit. From there you will be able to take in 360-degree views across the valleys and lower mountain ranges which stretch as far as the eye can see before spending the night under the stars.

It is also possible to stay in Arosa and hike or take a gondola up towards the Weisshorn summit. The first gondola of the morning departs in time to see the sunrise from 2 653 metres (a sight we’d highly recommend) and at the summit, you can enjoy a brunch buffet while taking in the views. From the top, options abound and you can either bike, hike, or cruise down to Arosa on the gondola.

While riders would have pedalled past the Arosa Bear Sanctuary twice during the race, the Sanctuary, with its three Eurasian brown bears, is worth a visit with the family. The species once roamed across much of Europe and Asia but man’s encroachment on its natural habitat means that sanctuaries like the one in Arosa are among the few places where wildlife lovers can see the bears in Western Europe. Families with younger children can also hike the Squirrel Trail, feeding squirrels along the way, or visit the Bear Cave indoor playground if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

 

Other attractions include the Rope Park, renting a pedalo to relax on lake Obersee, or taking a visit to the Eggahuus museum of local Arosa history. All these activities and attractions can be found online at www.arosalenzerheide.swiss. The region’s tourism website also lists all-inclusive packages and each guest receives an Arosa Card; as of one overnight stay in an Arosa hotel, holiday apartment or campsite. The Arosa Card entitles you to make use of many of the town’s leisure activities free of charge – the final reason for extending your stay by even just a day.


DEFENDING CHAMPIONS REIGN SUPREME AT 2019 PIONEER

It was multiple back to back success stories at The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain, with Michal Vink and Tim Rush (Onya Bike North Otago), Kate McIlroy and Amy Hollamby (Stonewood Homes) and Josie Wilcox and Joe Skerman (JoJo) taking out the open men’s, open women’s and mixed categories for 2019, as the race wound up with one of the event’s toughest stages in its history today.

After a weather disrupted week, riders were greeted with the news that the final stage from Bannockburn to Frankton would take place in its entirety, with a staggering 2,130 of vertical climbing metres crammed into the 70km journey over the Nevis Range on the West side of the Kawarau Gorge, a stage never before ridden in the four year history of the event that took riders through back country Central Otago that few have ever set foot in, let alone those riding mountain bikes.

Rush and Vink were supreme over the second half of the week, winning the stage again today to repel the strong challenge of Brendan Johnston and Jon Odams (Giant Australia Off-Road) by just under 15 minutes on general classification, with Ryan Sissons and Sam Osborne (Winger Hamilton) rounding out the podium with fourth on the stage today.

“That means a lot, I had a lot of pressure coming and a lot of people wrote us off with the Aussie boys coming over, especially as they have won so many races,” said Rush. “That is good for me and Vinky to get this one in our home nation, it has been amazing. Thanks to all the supporters, marshals and volunteers on course, we tried to thank them all as per my mother’s instructions, but it was tough for me at times breathing through a straw behind Vinky.”

Vink paid credit to his teammate and the nature of the final stage.

“Tim was incredible all week and I suffered the first few days so I know what he has put into it and the way he has suffered in the weeks leading up to this to be in the condition to be competitive, he deserved to win this and I was motivated to finish it off for him.

“That was beautiful it was nice to have a classic pioneer stage today, one of those back-country climbs with almost unmarked tracks, quite rough but stunning scenery and just a beautiful place in the world to race a bike.”

Johnston cut an exhausted figure at the finish line, after one of the toughest riding weeks he has ever faced.

“It has been a challenge for sure, today particularly, Jon and I rode pretty well up the first climb but from then suffered a bit, that was a big day. We had a couple of flashes of brilliance early in the week and then held on for the rest of it. Michael and Tim were super strong.”

The Winger Hamilton team knew endurance would test them in the end, with Osborne coming from an XTERRA background and Sissons ITU triathlon racing. That proved the case today but did not dampen Osborne’s enjoyment of his first Pioneer.

“I have loved every minute of it, even that suffering today and boy, did we suffer. I was probably the opposite of Ryan today, that first hour and a half I was in a world of hurt over the top, for some reason I came good and was keen to ride down the Giant boys. I got a split and it was only 25 seconds, but Ryan was not keen to come with me, he looked at me and said ‘these legs are no good’.

“It has been an amazing week, everything we thought it would be and so much more. It has been a bucket list race, we have talked about this since the second year, now we finally have we have the bug and already we are throwing ideas around about next year.”

McIlroy and Hollamby were supreme in taking out the women’s category for a second year, winning all six days of racing and the overall title by over two hours from 2017 champions Nina McVicar and Reta Trotman (New World St Martins) and Hannah Buchanan and Sarah Gilbert (Tike Wine and Vineyards).

McIlroy reflected on one of the toughest days in the history of the event.

“That was a big, big day today, I think when we thought we had reached the top we still had a climb to go, it was raining and cold and we were in the middle of nowhere basically. We were happy to see that second aid station when we knew it was the end of the climbing and only had the river trail to go.”

Hollamby said the temptation of the passing wineries through the Gibbston Valley was very real.

“We did joke about stopping and getting a photo of a bottle of red and sending it through to the finish.”

The mixed category promised to be one to watch and so it proved throughout the week, with Joe Skerman and Josie Wilcox winning back to back titles, but not without a fight as nearest rivals Holly and Michael Harris (SRAM MToss Australia) took it to them on today’s final stage. But while the Aussies won the stage by almost ten minutes, the Kiwis had enough up their sleeves to win the overall race by just under 14 minutes.

“That was very tough for Joe today, he was in some very, very dark places for a long time. The last 10k felt like a marathon but I am super-proud of him today, he dug super deep today and this week,” said Wilcox.

“This will be sweet, we had to work very hard to get home, I was suffering from the start really, but Josie supported me all the way and we got there, I am really proud,” said Skerman.

The men’s masters race also went to the wire, with Gene Marsh and Jeremy Forlong (Off The Chain, NZL) riding superbly on the final two days, winning today to confirm their victory over fellow Kiwis Kris Snow and Hamish Lane (Cycle Obsession) and previous leaders Anthony Chapman and Andy Hagan (Optimal Performance), with Chapman incredibly riding the week with a fractured thumb.

Kath Kelly and Peg Leyland (Earnscleugh Express) simply rode away with the women’s masters category, winning every stage to establish an amazing two hours and 42 minute margin over the Outlaw Sisters of Jackie Blay and Sara Prince, with Kim Johnston and Christine Wright (Cycleways) in third.

The Swiss combination of Marc Baechli and Daniel Christen were similarly dominant, taking out every stage to defeat the founding rider pair of Kent Wilson and Graeme Young (The Hub Cycle Centre) by 55 minutes on GC, with Allan Killick and Greg Thompson (Cycleways) in third overall.

The final stage today was a fitting one for the final Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain in Central Otago, with the event confirmed for a move to Rotorua in November 2020. The climbs were demanding, the descents thrilling and at times scary on the loose and wet surface from recent rain, but the scenery was truly stunning as Pioneer entrants rode beyond, found character and enjoyed the welcome of their hosts in the Central Otago for one final time.

Riders will celebrate the week at the final presentation dinner at the Queenstown Events Centre tonight, before heading home or for many, staying on to enjoy the Central Otago region for a few days – no doubt without their bikes!

Countries represented in the 2019 Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, USA, Wales.

2019 Pioneer, Fuelled by Nutri-Grain

Stage Five Results and final General Classification

 Open Men

Stage Five

1 Tim Rush & Michael Vink, NZL, Onya Bike North Otago, 3:45:23

2 Sam Fox & Sebastian Jayne, AUS, Marathon MTB, 3:49:40

3 Brendan Johnston & Jon Odams, AUS, Giant Australia, 3:51:21

General Classification, Final

1 Tim Rush & Michael Vink, NZL, Onya Bike North Otago, 17:51:04

2 Brendan Johnston & Jon Odams, AUS, Giant Australia, 18:05:54

3 Ryan Sissons & Sam Osborne, NZL, Winger Hamilton, 18:29:23

Open Women

Stage Five

1 Kate McIlroy & Amy Hollamby, NZL, Stonewood Homes, 4:43:46

2 Nina McVicar & Reta Trotman, NZL, New World St Martins, 5:17:13

3 Hannah Buchannan & Sarah Gilbert, NZL/USA, Tiki Wine & Vineyards, 5:24:55

General Classification, Final

1 Kate McIlroy & Amy Hollamby, NZL, Stonewood Homes, 21:54:22

2 Nina McVicar & Reta Trotman, NZL, New World St Martins, 24:36:41

3 Hannah Buchannan & Sarah Gilbert, NZL/USA, Tiki Wine & Vineyards, 25:52:00

Mixed

Stage Five

1 Holly Harris & Michael Harris, AUS, Sram Mtoss, 4:16:23

2 Joe Skerman & Josie Wilcox, NZL, JoJo, 4:26:18

3 Mark Williams & Kate Fluker, NZL, New World-Pivot, 4:29:10

General Classification, Final

1 Joe Skerman & Josie Wilcox, NZL, JoJo, 20:24:57

2 Holly Harris & Michael Harris, AUS, Sram Mtoss, 20:38:54

3 Mark Williams & Kate Fluker, NZL, New World-Pivot, 21:16:30

Masters Men

Stage Five

1 Gene Marsh & Jeremy Furlong, NZL, Off the Chain, 4:21:43

2 Hamish Lane & Kris Snow, NZL, Cycle Obsession, 4:23:00

3 Gordon McCauley & Jarrod Harris, NZL, Daikin Thermal Solutions, 4:38:22

General Classification, Final

1 Gene Marsh & Jeremy Furlong, NZL, Off the Chain, 20:53:44

2 Hamish Lane & Kris Snow, NZL, Cycle Obsession, 21:09:05

3 Anthony Chapman & Andy Hagan, NZL, Optimal Performance, 21:25:43

 Masters Women

Stage Five

1 Kath Kelly & Peg Leyland, Earnscleugh Express, 5:40:47

2 Kim Johnston & Christine Wright, NZL, Team Cycleways, 6:06:05

3 Jackie Blay & Sara Prince, NZL, Outlaw Sisters, 6:07:06

General Classification, Final

1 Kath Kelly & Peg Leyland, Earnscleugh Express, 25:46:25

2 Jackie Blay & Sara Prince, NZL, Outlaw Sisters, 28:27:58

3 Kim Johnston & Christine Wright, NZL, Team Cycleways, 29:07:42

Grand Masters Men (50+)
Stage Five

1 Marc Baechli & Daniel Christen, SUI, Terreactive IT, 2:50:28

2 Kent Wilson & Graeme Young, NZL, The Hub Cycle Centre, 2:52:40

3 Allan Killick & Greg Thompson, NZL, Cycleways, 2:55:56

General Classification, Final

1 Marc Baechli & Daniel Christen, SUI, Terre Active IT, 21:12:43

2 Kent Wilson & Graeme Young, NZL, The Hub Cycle Centre, 22:08:21

3 Allan Killick & Greg Thompson, NZL, Cycleways, 22:32:40


THE PIONEER HEADS TO ROTORUA IN 2020

The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain, is officially headed to the Central North Island in 2020, starting and finishing in the Mountain Bike Mecca of Rotorua, with The IRONMAN Group Oceania announcing details of the new location on the final day of the 2019 race in Central Otago.

2020 will see the Epic Series event celebrate five years, with the previous four all in the South Island. Event founder and The IRONMAN Group Oceania Managing Director Dave Beeche is excited about the move to the North, one that is again in keeping with the Pioneer spirit that originally inspired the race.

“The South Island has created some wonderful memories and left lifelong impressions on all who have ridden The Pioneer in its first four years and in many ways, we are sad to be leaving this part of the world.

“But The Pioneer has always been about celebrating New Zealand, welcoming international riders to our world class riding trails and opening parts of the country that they and the locals would not otherwise have the chance to ride. The very heart of the Kiwi pioneering spirit is about exploring new lands and in the case of this event, riding beyond.

“It is with that in mind that we look forward to a new and equally stunning chapter in the event’s history, with Rotorua and the surrounding region set to amaze Kiwis and internationals alike with its hospitality, world-class trails and unique tourism attractions. This is going to be six memorable days of riding and I am sure for many, a few more days exploring all that Rotorua and the central North Island has to offer.”

New Zealand mountain bike legend and Rotorua local Mark ‘Cabin’ Leishman has been charged with plotting the six-days of riding and can’t wait for the race to head to his neck of the woods.

“We plan on taking riders on an incredible six-day journey linking together some of the best riding the North Island has to offer in what will be very much a change from the South Island in the nature of the trails and the challenge. Riders are going to love it.” said Leishman.

“Those who have ridden previous Pioneers will want to be amongst the first to ride in Rotorua, and those who have never been must put this on their to-do list in 2020. The first edition of any event is always special, on this occasion riders get the benefit of four years of planning and experience.”

Rotorua is ready to welcome riders with open arms, with Mayor Steve Chadwick thrilled that the region has attracted yet another international event.

“Gaining another international adventure race for next year’s event calendar should make our community extremely proud,” said Chadwick.

“The fact that these events are choosing Rotorua as their first destination outside of the South Island shows that they have confidence in Rotorua’s ability to deliver spectacular events. It fits with the vision we have and investment we are making to enrich the forest experience, an investment that has the confidence of central government through its Provincial Growth Fund.

“Events like this not only bring competitors and their supporters but also expose Rotorua to a global audience and continue to build our city’s reputation as a world-class mountain bike destination.

“We look forward to welcoming The Pioneer to Rotorua.”

Leishman goes on to paint a picture of what the new-look Pioneer will deliver to riders, once again in teams of two as they share all the week has to offer.

“We are working on a course that sweeps down from Rotorua to the west, hitting iconic cycleways and mountain bike trails on the way – all linked up by a network of forestry and gravel roads.  The course will hit its most southern point at Lake Taupō before heading back up towards the Rotorua finish.

“Riders will experience the spectacular and diverse landscapes of the region, from dense mossy virgin forest, geothermal wonders, lakes, rivers and lush farmland. Without giving too much away, this is going to be special.”

Leishman hints at fewer of the massive climbs that the Pioneer is synonymous with but warns it will still be a tough event to conquer.

“While we move away from the ‘monster’ climbs of previous editions of the Pioneer; make no mistake, this won’t be a walk in the park. The constant undulation and elevation change combined with the abundance of mountain bike trails presents a new challenge – so be prepared to really see what you, your teammate and your bike are really made of.”

Leishman highlighted the change in topography from South to North that will see The Pioneer maintain its place as one of the three EPIC events alongside the Swiss Epic and Absa Cape Epic (South Africa).

“Riders will be constantly challenged, as they take on many of the world class flowing single-tracks the region is known for. All linked together with classic New Zealand Cycle trails, private forestry, farmland, and quiet secluded roads.”

Entries go on sale on January 30, 2020, with the full course details to be made public in March 2020. While Leishman is offering up an approximation of riding distances and elevation now, riders will be given the full course description in March.

With demand expected to be high when entries go live on January 30, prospective riders are able to register their interest and receive further updates from organisers by visiting the event website and Facebook page.

The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain
Rotorua
November 8-13, 2020

  • Six-stage mountain bike stage race through the Central North Island, starting and finishing in Rotorua
  • Two person teams
  • Part of the global Epic Series of mountain bike stage racing (Swiss Epic, Absa Cape Epic – South Africa, Port to Port, Cape to Cape and Reef to Reef))
  • Approximately 500km of riding with 10,000m of climbing
  • Stage distances to vary between 60 to 110km per day
  • Entries open on January 30, 2020
  • Course launch March 2020

SNOW AND HIGH WIND FORCE COURSE CHANGE AT PIONEER

Race organisers were kept on their toes as two course changes were made this morning as riders headed out on stage four of The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain, with snow, high wind and yesterday’s rain all impacting on the Bannockburn loop course.

 

The weather front saw the climb over Carrick Range removed before the race start, with snow and high wind making it impossible for riders to negotiate safely, with the ride up Mt Difficulty then also removed as the weather deteriorated further and temperatures plummeted to minus 3 degrees across the top of the climb, with rider welfare paramount for organisers.

 

The end result was one of the fastest stages in the history of the six-day mountain bike race, covering 61km with approximately 1,182 metres of climbing, with riders taking in two laps of the Hawksburn - Pylon Track Road, starting and finishing at the Anderson Farm in Bannockburn.

 

Michael Vink and Tim Rush (Onya Bike North Otago) made light of the changes, with the two ‘roadies’ breaking clear early on lap two to win the stage by almost four minutes and in the process put one hand back on the trophy they won in 2018, with their lead on general classification (GC) now out to 8:53 over Giant Australia Off-Road Team of Brendan Johnston and Jon Odams.

 

“I don’t think it made a difference to the result, but the gaps might be a little closer than they otherwise would have been but I think everyone enjoys those shorter days, it is a bit closer times and more competitive racing which is always good, so in the end it was a really nice stage,” said Vink.

 

Rush was quick to point out the change from the start of the week when he was strong and Vink did not have his riding legs.

 

“We made a break up the second climb on the second lap, Vinky put the hurt on and it split pretty easily and I was just a passenger basically and held on,” said Rush. “He (Vink) was a machine today and he was next level, I was going backwards, and he was going forwards, I am pleased we are done tomorrow.”

 

The Aussies gave all they had today, but just did not have the big climb they needed to try and put a dent into the powerful Kiwis. Odams is not optimistic of a challenge tomorrow but has not given up all hope.

 

“We will see how we are going; I think there might be a couple more course changes coming up but I can’t imagine it will be more than about a couple of percent single track. If it was maybe 90% single track we might be able to bring it back, but this is a different race to what we are used to. I am more suited to single track than the big long climbs, Vink and Rush are just absolute motors on those big open climbs. Trekky (Johnston) can likely sit with them on those climbs, but I just don’t have the motor for that.”

 

Ryan Sissons and Sam Osborne (Winger Hamilton) continue to impress, finishing in third place again on the stage today to sit comfortably in third on the overall standings, with Osborne loving his first Pioneer experience.

 

“We are loving every minute of it. We love the suffering and hurting each other. This is something different, we wouldn’t normally ride this much in a week, but it is quite special, and we have loved every minute of it.”

 

In the women’s categories it was Kate McIlroy and Amy Hollamby (Stonewood Homes) and Kath Kelly and Peg Leyland (Earnscleugh Express) maintaining their 100% stage winning record in the open and masters (40+) women’s categories respectively. Both teams have dominated their rivals throughout the week and barring a major incident, should ride comfortably to victory into Frankton tomorrow.

 

McIlroy was in no doubt that organisers had made the right decision to shorten the stage.

 

“No doubt they made the right call, we got the news at the first aid station and while we were maybe thinking we could do the climb and prepared for it, it was already cold out on course as it was. Then we then started lapping some of the slower riders and realized just how much effort they were putting in to their ride and that it wasn’t just about us, they are amazing in what they are doing, but going over the top in those conditions today, no way.”

 

The mixed category also appears a done deal, barring a mechanical on tomorrow’s final ride into Frankton, with defending champions Josie Wilcox and Joe Skerman (Team JoJo) responding to the shock of yesterday’s stage defeat to win by almost 90 seconds from Michael and Holly Harris (Sram MToss), extending their GC lead to almost 24 minutes with just one day to ride.

 

The men’s masters is quite the race though, with today’s stage winners Gene Marsh and Jeremy Forlong (Off The Chain) surging into the GC lead, but with a margin of just one minute 22 seconds over Anthony Chapman and Andy Hagan (Optimal Performance) the race is well and truly on for tomorrow’s final stage.

 

And while they are out of GC contention, 23-time Tour of Southland legend Gordon McCauley and Jarrod Harris (Daikin Thermal Solutions) are getting stronger as the week goes on, riding through from start zone B today to jump on the stage podium in third for the first time this week.

 

“We decied to go blocks again and try to catch as many group one teams as we could. We opened up a gap straight away with Team Blueblokes and got into our work. I had a super bad patch through the 30k mark, but Jarrod has learned to decipher my sweary, tired ramblings and nursed me through it.

 

“There is certainly a different vibe at these events, once the racing stops it is all smiles and high fives even if you have been battling all day,” said McCauley.

 

The grand masters men’s race (50+) continues to be dominated by Swiss visitors Marc Baechli and Daniel Christen, with another stage win today extending their lead in the GC to 47 minutes, they too look like crowning their week as champions in Queenstown tomorrow.

 

Competitors in The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain, range in age from 19 to 72 (average age 44) and represent 24 countries, with Australia the largest contingent outside of New Zealand (211) with 57 riders making the trip across the Tasman. South Africa, home to the pinnacle event in the EPIC Series the Absa Cape Epic, has 24 riders, America 12 and Spain 11 while one of the more fascinating stats is the seven riders registered from Iceland.

 

Riders spend their last night in the event village at Bannockburn tonight, knowing that for many the comfort of a hotel or air bnb awaits on return to Queenstown tomorrow. Organisers are reviewing the final stage given the recent rain and high river levels in Queenstown, with details of the stage to be revealed to riders at tonight’s presentations.

 

Countries represented in the 2019 Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, USA, Wales.

 

2019 Pioneer, Fuelled by Nutri-Grain

Stage Four Results and General Classification after the prologue, S1, S2, S3 & S4

 

Open Men

Stage Four (61km, 1,182m climbing)

1 Tim Rush & Michael Vink, NZL, Onya Bike North Otago, 2:19:26

2 Brendan Johnston & Jon Odams, AUS, Giant Australia, 2:23:10

3 Ryan Sissons & Sam Osborne, NZL, Winger Hamilton, 2:23:13

General Classification

1 Tim Rush & Michael Vink, NZL, Onya Bike North Otago, 14:05:40

2 Brendan Johnston & Jon Odams, AUS, Giant Australia, 14:14:33

3 Ryan Sissons & Sam Osborne, NZL, Winger Hamilton, 14:33:12

 

Open Women

Stage Four

1 Kate McIlroy & Amy Hollamby, NZL, Stonewood Homes, 2:51:45

2 Nina McVicar & Reta Trotman, NZL, New World St Martins, 3:18:54

3 Hannah Buchannan & Sarah Gilbert, NZL/USA, Tiki Wine & Vineyards, 3:28:03

General Classification

1 Kate McIlroy & Amy Hollamby, NZL, Stonewood Homes, 17:10:36

2 Nina McVicar & Reta Trotman, NZL, New World St Martins, 19:19:27

3 Hannah Buchannan & Sarah Gilbert, NZL/USA, Tiki Wine & Vineyards, 20:27:04

 

Mixed

Stage Four

1 Joe Skerman & Josie Wilcox, NZL, JoJo, 2:40:17

1 Holly Harris & Michael Harris, AUS, Sram Mtoss, 2:41:43

3 Karl Michelin Beard & Emma Viotto, AUS, Shimano Pushys Cannondale, 2:52:38

General Classification

1 Joe Skerman & Josie Wilcox, NZL, JoJo, 15:58:38

2 Holly Harris & Michael Harris, AUS, Sram Mtoss, 16:22:31

3 Mark Williams & Kate Fluker, NZL, New World-Pivot, 16:47:20

 

Masters Men

Stage Four

1 Hamish Lane & Kris Snow, NZL, Cycle Obsession, 2:41:36

2 Gene Marsh & Jeremy Furlong, NZL, Off the Chain, 2:41:37

3 Gordon McCauley & Jarrod Harris, NZL, Daikin Thermal Solutions, 2:47:40

General Classification

1 Gene Marsh & Jeremy Furlong, NZL, Off the Chain, 16:32:01

2 Anthony Chapman & Andy Hagan, NZL, Optimal Performance, 16:33:24

3 Hamish Lane & Kris Snow, NZL, Cycle Obsession, 16:46:05

 

Masters Women

Stage Four

1 Kath Kelly & Peg Leyland, Earnscleugh Express, 3:21:25

2 Jackie Blay & Sara Prince, NZL, Outlaw Sisters, 3:40:27

3 Kim Johnston & Christine Wright, NZL, Team Cycleways, 3:56:24

General Classification

1 Kath Kelly & Peg Leyland, Earnscleugh Express, 20:05:37

2 Jackie Blay & Sara Prince, NZL, Outlaw Sisters, 22:20:51

3 Kim Johnston & Christine Wright, NZL, Team Cycleways, 23:01:36

 

Grand Masters Men (50+)
Stage Four

1 Marc Baechli & Daniel Christen, SUI, Terreactive IT, 2:50:28

2 Kent Wilson & Graeme Young, NZL, The Hub Cycle Centre, 2:52:40

3 Allan Killick & Greg Thompson, NZL, Cycleways, 2:55:56

General Classification

1 Marc Baechil & Daniel Christen, SUI, Terre Active IT, 16:33:07

2 Kent Wilson & Graeme Young, NZL, The Hub Cycle Centre, 17:20:51

3 Allan Killick & Greg Thompson, NZL, Cycleways, 17:47:22

 


VINK AND RUSH GO TO WORK IN THE MUD AND RAIN

Riders overcame the worst the weather could throw at them on stage three of The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain, as constant rain and cool temperatures were the order of the day on the ride from Alexandra to Bannockburn in the stunning Central Otago basin.

With the forecast rain from the big West Coast storm finally hitting this morning, reducing temperatures to near freezing on the tops of the ranges, organisers quickly implemented a contingency course, taking out the climb over Cairnmuir Range and reducing the overall distance on the stage to a more manageable and yet still testing 60km, with 1200m of climbing.

It was Michael Vink and Tim Rush (Onya Bike North Otago) who best managed the conditions to win the stage and in the process grab back the leaders jerseys that have now swapped hands every day of the event, with Brendan Johnston and Jon Odams (Giant Australia Off-Road) dropping five minutes on the stage to fall 5:09 back on general classification.

Despite the win, a mud-covered Rush had struggled with the cold conditions and for the first time this week, relied heavily on his teammate Michael Vink, who was perhaps channeling some of his Tour of Southland wet weather experience to lead them to the line.

“That was brutal, I suffered bad today, Michael was next level and really gave me a push, a couple of pushes really, that was so cold and brutal.”

Vink by contrast was buzzing and glad to have finally found his riding legs.

“It is all about who has recovered best and who has the most in the tank today, it was only two hours today if anything that is a bit short for us, but we recovered really well and rode within ourselves and rode with confidence and had a plan and it worked out.

“We went from the first climb, it was pretty much a time trial from that first climb all the way to the finish over 40k, I have a few jerseys for racing over 40k in my closet so that is something that usually suits me well. I was pretty motivated not be a ball and chain around Tim’s ankle anymore so that was great that we could ride as a team today.”

Vink had also for the first time this week reverted to his more typical lycra race suit, ditching the traditional mountain bike baggie shorts. He suggested it might be a twist on the usual boxing phrase to suggest this race is all on now….

“I guess you could say the baggies are off.”

Third across the line for the second day running was the Team Winger team of Ryan Sissons and Sam Osborne, with Sissons coping well thanks to good preparation.

“That was all about wearing the right gear and to be honest, I didn’t find it too bad. They key was having a couple of layers on and the wet weather jacket did a great job of keeping the cold weather off the chest, but that was so much fun.”

Osborne concurred, with the XTERRA star in his element.

“I just loved that, what a great stage, so much fun to ride in. It brought a new element of bike handling in, but that was a great ride.”

The others to perhaps surprisingly make a move in the wet were Holly Harris and Michael Harris (SRAM MToss), adding a third name to the list of stage winners in the mixed category as the Aussies powered their way to an impressive win and moved to second on GC, ahead of two-time winners Mark Williams and Kate Fluker (New World-Pivot).

Holly was all smiles through the mud and rain at the finish.

“Usually we are terrible in the mud, but on the start line I had this weird thing when I thought, I actually like the rain, so I decided to enjoy it and I did. The creeks are so cold, there are ruts full of mud, it was crazy but so much fun!, said Holly.”

Her brother Michael described the moment when they made their break on overall category leaders Josie Wilcox and Joe Skerman (JoJo).

“We made our move on the first climb, Josie was with us but Joe (Skerman) wasn’t and Josie had to wait for Joe so couldn’t go with us. After that we had a good group and we didn’t see them again.”

Kate McIlroy and Amy Hollamby continue to dominate the women’s race, taking out a fourth stage win to extend their lead on GC to an incredible and likely insurmountable one hour and 42 minutes.

It is a similar story in the master’s women’s category, with defending champions and local residents Peg Leyland and Kath Kelly (Earnscleugh Express) in a different league to the other teams, also keeping their 100% stage win record intact to now lead by just under two hours.

The men’s master’s is proving to be one of the more competitive categories, with the stage won by Anthony Chapman and Antony Hagan (NZL, Optimal Performance) but their GC lead is a relatively tenuous six minutes with two days still to ride.

Swiss visitors Marc Baechli and Daniel Christen are loving every moment of their Pioneer, winning another stage and now lead on GC by 41 minutes from Kiwis Kent Wilson and Graeme Young (The HubCycle Centre).

Another to revel in the tough conditions was road legend Gordon McCauley, he and Daikin Thermal Solutions riding partner Jarrod Harris made up big time and jumped to fifth in the masters (40+) category, with McCauley using all his extensive experience on the Tour of Southland to prepare for today.

“Today was all about layers, it is almost like mountain climbing, you have to be wearing layers at the start. If you heat up, you can peel a layer off, if you dry out, you can peel a layer off. But if you get cold or wet, it is too late to put anything on at that point.

“We just attacked that today, every chance we got we put others around us into difficultly, we knew the course was going to be stop start with a few of the fence and river crossings, so after each we would essentially sprint and over the course of the stage, we broke a few teams and rode through plenty I reckon, that was great.”

Once over the line, riders tucked into welcome hotcups of tea, coffee and milo and got into the hot showers at the Bannockburn site on Anderson’s farm, before settling into the social zone under the cover of the stretch tents, listening to some great music on the sound system, enjoying each other’s company and sharing a few stories of one of the more amazing stages in the history of The Pioneer.

Riders in The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain, range in age from 19 to 72 (average age 44) and represent 24 countries, with Australia the largest contingent outside of New Zealand (211) with 57 riders making the trip across the Tasman. South Africa, home to the pinnacle event in the EpicSeries the Absa Cape Epic, has 24 riders, America 12 and Spain 11 while one of the more fascinating stats is the seven riders registered from Iceland.

Riders spend tonight in the event village at Bannockburn, preparing for tomorrow’s (Thursday) 69km Bannockburn Loop stage. Riders will depart from the start line at Anderson’s Farm in Bannockburn at 8am, with the first riders expected back at the finish line at the same location at approximately 11am. The final stage on Friday takes riders to the finish line village on the ridge off Hawthorn Drive, overlooking the Kawarau River and the Remarkables.


AUSSIES THROW THE GAUNTLET DOWN ON LONGEST DAY

A fascinating duel between defending champions Michael Vink & Tim Rush (Onya Bike North Otago) and Brendan Johnston & Jon Odams (Giant Off-Road Australia) took another twist on stage two of The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain on the longest day, the Queen Stage in Alexandra today.

The Australians wrested control of the race back off the Kiwis with a superb ride today, winning the stage by just over three minutes to move 37 seconds clear of Vink and Rush on general classification (GC), with the Kiwi triathlon/XTERRA pair of Ryan Sissons and Sam Osborne on the podium for the first time and in the process moving to third on GC.

The Giant Off-Road Aussies were just too strong today, in conditions that defied the forecast, with predicted rain and high winds almost completely absent from the 112km stage through the immediate surrounds of Alexandra in Central Otago.

“Today we kind of had to take it to them pretty early, our intention wasn’t to drop them but just to put the pressure on them on the bits that suited us which was probably the early single track,” said Johnston. “But we just opened up a gap on the first climb and kind of went on with it and pushed on and broke the pack up and had five minutes at one point. From there we had to conserve until we got to the final climb which we were looking at all day.”

Odams said the course challenged them in more ways than one today.

“After the last climb across the top to the last feed zone it felt like 50k an hour headwinds, with some rain and the long grass, after a real steep climb there was some soul searching out there and then there was a quite hairy descent to finish you off so if the climb and the headwind hadn’t finished you off, then that descent probably will.”

Johnston did take in some of the incredible views on offer while on the climbs and across the top of the trails.

“Most of the climbing is pretty slow so you can look around and see how dramatic the scenery is, most of the looking was up to be honest trying to find the top of the climb, but it was spectacular riding today.”

It will be the turn of Rush and Vink to do a little thinking overnight as to their approach tomorrow and for the remainder of the week, but with the margin at just 37 seconds, you know there are more twists and turns in this fascinating race yet.

It was otherwise a day of consolidation in the open women’s and mixed categories, with Stonewood Homes (Kate McIlroy and Amy Hollamby) continuing their dominance of the women’s field, winning the stage in 5:35:30, some 39 minutes ahead of 2017 champions Nina McVicar and Reta Trotman (New World St Martins).

Perhaps the most impressive ride of the day came from Jo Skerman and Josie Wilcox (JoJo), who overcame an early challenge from Australia’s Holly Harris and Michael Harris (SRAM MTOSS) to win the stage and extend their GC lead to 18 minutes over Kate Fluker and Mark Williams (New World Pivot) who held on for third today behind the Harris siblings, who now sit just seven minutes behind the Queenstown pair of Fluker and Williams.

“What plan?” joked Skerman when asked about the stage going to plan. “You really just head out and see how you are feeling, but respect to Michael and Holly for laying down the challenge today and pushed pretty hard right from the start and got a good lead and we had to be patient. Josie had a few moments early on, but she found her legs about halfway through and we managed to pull them in and rode steady all the way home and had a good finish really.”

While the winners were home in and around the five-hour mark, many more were on their bikes for the best part of the day as they took on and conquered the Queen Stage on the 2019 event. The good news for riders is the event is now heading home, with three of the six days complete and the finish line in Frankton getting ever closer on Friday.

Competitors in The Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain, range in age from 19 to 72 (average age 44) and represent 24 countries, with Australia the largest contingent outside of New Zealand (211) with 57 riders making the trip across the Tasman. South Africa, home to the pinnacle event in the EPIC Series the Absa Cape Epic, has 24 riders, America 12 and Spain 11 while one of the more fascinating stats is the seven riders registered from Iceland.

Riders spend tonight in Alexandra at the tent city and event village at Molyneux Park. Tomorrow’s stage takes riders 80km from Alexandra to Bannockburn, with the highlights including a rare chance to ride over the top of the Clyde Dam and a loop through the streets of the historic township. Riders then camp at a new event village for the final two overnight stays before arriving back in Queenstown on Friday. Riders will depart from Molyneux Park at 8:30am, with the leaders expected to finish the stage in approx. three and a half hours. The final stage on Friday takes riders to the finish line village on the ridge off Hawthorn Drive, overlooking the Kawarau River and the Remarkables.

 

Countries represented in the 2019 Pioneer, fuelled by Nutri-Grain

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, USA, Wales.

 

2019 Pioneer, Fuelled by Nutri-Grain

Stage Two Results and General Classification after the prologue, S1 & S2

 

Open Men

Stage Two

1 Brendan Johnston & Jon Odams, AUS, Giant Australia, 4:33:35

2 Tim Rush & Michael Vink, NZL, Onya Bike North Otago, 4:36:52

3 Ryan Sissons & Sam Osborne, NZL, Winger Hamilton, 4:43:50

General Classification

1 Brendan Johnston & Jon Odams, AUS, Giant Australia, 9:23:39

2 Tim Rush & Michael Vink, NZL, Onya Bike North Otago, 9:24:16

3 Ryan Sissons & Sam Osborne, NZL, Winger Hamilton, 9:38:39

 

Open Women

Stage Two

1 Kate McIlroy & Amy Hollamby, NZL, Stonewood Homes, 5:35:50

2 Nina McVicar & Reta Trotman, NZL, New World St Martins, 6:14:24

3 Hannah Buchannan & Sarah Gilbert, NZL/USA, Tiki Wine & Vineyards, 6:47:33

General Classification

1 Kate McIlroy & Amy Hollamby, NZL, Stonewood Homes, 11:24:57

2 Nina McVicar & Reta Trotman, NZL, New World St Martins, 12:44:14

3 Hannah Buchannan & Sarah Gilbert, NZL/USA, Tiki Wine & Vineyards, 13:37:35

 

Mixed

Stage Two

1 Joe Skerman & Josie Wilcox, NZL, JoJo, 5:14:52

2 Holly Harris & Michael Harris, AUS, Sram Mtoss, 5:28:39

3 Mark Williams & Kate Fluker, NZL, New World-Pivot, 5:30:11

General Classification

1 Joe Skerman & Josie Wilcox, NZL, JoJo, 10:36:56

2 Mark Williams & Kate Fluker, NZL, New World-Pivot, 10:55:28

3 Holly Harris & Michael Harris, AUS, Sram Mtoss, 11:02:18

 

Masters Men (40+)

Stage Two

1 Anthony Chapman & Andy Hagan, NZL, Optimal Performance, 5:17:45

2 Hamish Lane & Kris Snow, NZL, Cycle Obsession, 5:34:57

3 Wade Wallace & Allan Iacuone, AUS, Cyclingtips.com, 5:41:26

General Classification

1 Anthony Chapman & Andy Hagan, NZL, Optimal Performance, 11:03:07

2 Gene Marsh & Jeremy Furlong, NZL, Off the Chain, 11:05:46

3 Hamish Lane & Kris Snow, NZL, Cycle Obsession, 11:19:55

 

Masters Women (40+)

Stage Two

1 Kath Kelly & Peg Leyland, Earnscleugh Express, 6:28:19

2 Kim Johnston & Christine Wright, NZL, Team Cycleways, 7:23:28

2 Jackie Blay & Sara Prince, NZL, Outlaw Sisters, 7:26:11

General Classification

1 Kath Kelly & Peg Leyland, Earnscleugh Express, 13:08:50

2 Jackie Blay & Sara Prince, NZL, Outlaw Sisters, 15:00:47

3 Kim Johnston & Christine Wright, NZL, Team Cycleways, 15:14:23

 

Grand Masters Men (50+)
Stage Two

1 Marc Baechil & Daniel Christen, SUI, Terreactive IT, 5:22:00

2 Kent Wilson & Graeme Young, NZL, The Hub Cycle Centre, 5:42:05

3 Mike Holland & Greg McGovern, NZL, Velo Workshop, 5:54:37

General Classification

1 Marc Baechil & Daniel Christen, SUI, Terreactive IT, 10:49:38

2 Kent Wilson & Graeme Young, NZL, The Hub Cycle Centre, 11:30:46

3 Allan Killick & Greg Thompson, NZL, Cycleways, 11:51:20