By PHILIP CHANDLER
A Queenstowner gearing up to organise his sixth biennial Tour of New Zealand cycle race next April is just grateful he “skipped the right year” due to the current event-restricting Covid-19 pandemic.
Peter Yarrell has opened entries to cyclists, both competitive and recreational, for his eight-day event which, to date, has raised more than $1.5 million for various charities.
Like last year, the tour – with a maximum field of 250 – will start with a prologue time trial from Glenorchy to Queenstown’s Wilson Bay, followed the next day by a Crown Range stage, from Arrowtown to Wanaka.
For the first time, the tour will traverse the South Island, only, before finishing again with a criterium starting and ending at Wellington’s Parliament Grounds.
Yarrell’s amazed he’s already got about 70 entries, from as far away as Moscow, England and New York – “we just have to hope our borders are open by then”.
Riders have to front with at least $250 for one of seven designated charities – for every $250 they raise, they also get in a draw to win the tour’s lead car, a Honda Jazz.
Yarrell says he’d love a smattering of Queenstown entries this time – “not too many, though, as we want to bring people here to stay in the hotels”.