Pioneer bike course revealed
The course for the six day 2018 Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race has been announced, with Queenstown, Alexandra, Bannockburn and Arrowtown hosting the event.
The 450km back country race starts and finishes in Queenstown.
Entries open on November 24. The course includes a 22km prologue at Coronet Peak, with five longer stages taking the two person teams to Alexandra and the Clutha River before finishing in Queenstown.
There is 15,500m of climbing. Race director Bec Williams said much thought and planning had gone into the course to ensure the event’s long-term sustainability.
It will be the third Pioneer race.
The first two races were between Christchurch and Queenstown.
‘‘Riders can look forward to a course that will boast plenty of single track and will deliver a grand tour of the most stunning backdrops you could ask for.
‘‘[They] will be sent deep into remote back country New Zealand, where they will really discover what it means to be a Pioneer,’’ Williams said.
It was ‘‘a once in a lifetime opportunity’’ to gain access to trails across private land, she said.
Although the event has been revamped, there had been no compromises to the quality of the riding or the experience, which would challenge every rider.
‘‘Terrain will vary each day, but includes a mix of local trails, farm track, NZ Cycle Trails and single track – so riders should be prepared to really see what they (and their bikes) are really made of.
‘‘Overall, the course is nontechnical, so a good set of lungs will be the most important asset,’’ Williams said.
Five age group winners, five age group runners up and five lottery winners will be able to secure a place at the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa for 2019.
The 2017 Pioneer saw 338 riders take part (286 males and 52 females).
Most (151) came from Central Otago. There was also a strong contingent of Australian riders (95) at the event.
The Pioneer 2017 winners were Otago cyclists James Williamson and Scott Lyttle.
Canterbury cyclists Dan McConnell and Anton Cooper won the 2016 Pioneer.