Spectators entertained at BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Criterium

It was an exciting atmosphere on the streets of Taupō tonight at the annual BDO Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge. It all kicked off with Cycle Mania, a new addition this year, where kids were asked to bling their bike for the main street parade along with anyone who wanted to show off their unique bike.

The ever popular Criterium races then took over the central CBD streets, which were a thrilling precursor to tomorrow’s main event, which kicks-off early in the morning (Saturday 24 November), with around 6,000 cyclists taking up many of the on and off-road challenges around Lake Taupō.

The Criterium races started with the NZ Defence Force and emergency services, which had the NZ Army, Navy and Air Force take on the NZ Police to cycle it out for bragging rights. It was a close finish with the Army coming first overall, the Air Force and Navy second equal, and the NZ Police fourth. This led into the more competitive Criterium races, with elite female and male riders racing for prize money.

The Women’s Criterium was won by Rushlee Buchanan, with Ally Wollaston second and Michaela Drummond third.

Campbell Stewart was first across the line in the men’s Criterium with Dylan Kennett second and Ben Oliver third.

Taking an even longer way around Lake Taupō, the four-lap Maxi Enduro's took off at 8 am this morning on their 640km journey.

Debbie Chambers, event director, says it’s great to see so many people enjoying the buzz of Taupo. “The event village was packed with locals, visiting cyclists, and their supporters checking out the expo and enjoying the live entertainment before heading to watch the thrilling criterium races.”

While cyclists are participating in the many levels of road and mountain bike challenges, supporters are well looked after at the Event Village with live music, activities for children, food and beverages, as well as Taupō’s many other range of boutique retail, scenic and adventure tourist attractions.

There’s an outstanding list of major and minor spot prizes with an all-new Holden Calais Tourer - valued at $65,990 up for grabs.

“Lake Taupo is the perfect backdrop for this event and thousands of cyclists, elite and those just giving it a go, enjoying the challenge of cycling round the lake. Good luck to all the participants,” says Chambers.