New Zealand Cycle Classic officially opens

The UCI 2.2 five stage New Zealand Cycle Classic was officially opened in Masterton this evening with a special team's presentation held in Queen Elizabeth Park.
Photo Dave Lintott. 
The Memorial Ride held earlier in the evening.
The presentation also included the public debut of Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy, New Zealand's recently launched UCI continental team. The team, which features defending Tour champion Aaron Gate and 2018 Tour winner Hayden McCormick received a lot of interest from the hundreds of people who came to watch and get a glimpse of their sporting heroes.
Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy making their race debut at the New Zealand Cycle Classic 
The opening night was especially moving as riders involved in the New Zealand Cycle Classic were invited to take part in a special memorial ride held in memory of local Wairarapa cyclist Darren Southon and his son Joshua who died in a diving accident off the Wairarapa coast at the weekend. The ride featured many of Darren's Athletics Cycling Masterton (ACM) club mates, friends and colleagues as well as several volunteers involved in organising this year's New Zealand Cycle Classic. A minute's silence was also observed during a special welcome event held at Aratoi: Wairarapa Museum of Art & History for VIPS and sponsors. Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson welcomed and thanked for the community for coming together to pay tribute to Darren before wishing all 108 riders the best of luck in the New Zealand Cycle Classic, which gets underway tomorrow morning at 10am from Masterton.