More international teams to add flair at NZ Cycle Classic 2023

German team 1

German team to make debut / Welcome back Japan

Germany’s Wheelsports-Metropol Racing will make their Kiwi debut at next month’s UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic being staged in Wairarapa and Wellington while Japan’s KINAN Racing team returns following a two-year absence.

NZ Cycle Classic Race Director Jorge Sandoval announced the news today that experienced German sprinter Daniel Bichlmann, winner of the 2021 Tour de Faso, will head up the Wheelsports team when they take part in the elite men’s five-day Tour being held from January 11th – 15th 2023.

Sandoval believes Bichlmann could be one of the most experienced riders in the peloton with his 10-year pro-career having taken him to various races around the globe … but this will be his first-time racing in New Zealand.

Supporting Bichlmann are four other German riders, Dominik Merseburg, Fischer Robin, Philipp Küllmer, Johannes Kaufmann and kiwi Ryan Wills.

Team manager Bastian Jackel says the team is looking forward to the trip down under.

“We know it should be a great race. We’ve never raced that far away and we’re really looking forward to it. All riders are super motivated,” says Jackel. “This will definitely be the highlight of the year for everyone. We are excited to see how the race will be run but expect a high level. Of course, even though there are no races here at the moment (winter in Europe), we hope that we can cope well with the change of weather. We’re also hoping for some good results. New Zealand is currently the number one topic of conversation in the team.”

Sandoval is excited to welcome back to the country Japan’s KINAN team which will feature top French rider Thomas Lebas. KINAN is one of the top ranked Asian UCI team and to have them start their racing year in New Zealand is a huge deal.

“KINAN is an extremely competitive team who has achieved great results over the years with many of their riders having participated in the Tours of Asia, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan,” says Sandoval. “Also, having KINAN racing in the New Zealand Cycle Classic again following a hiatus due to Covid, lifts the profile of our event and our region in Asia enormously – they will be bringing their own media manager, who reports daily to Japanese media from Masterton and Wellington.”

KINAN Cycling team spokesperson Tetsuya Ishida says the team is looking forward to returning to New Zealand.  It will be the third time they’ve raced here.

“They [the team] look forward to revisiting New Zealand’s vast nature, beautiful city and friendly people. So, we are preparing for the best performance,” he says.

“We are very happy to participate in the NZCC 2023 and we will have a new experience.
We can aim for a more strategic and better result in 2023,” he says. “We expect to be able to race in a good environment like last time. It also serves as a good training for the start of the season.”

The 2023 NZ Cycle Classic can take place thanks to the generous support from Trust House, Mobile Communications Service, Wizwireless, Pedal Project, Best Build Construction, Fagan Motors, plus all three Wairarapa District Councils and Wellington City Council. It begins in Masterton on January 11th and concludes in Lambton Quay in Wellington five days later.

Another new addition to the 2023 event is the Pedal Project Wellington Gran Fondo being held on Saturday 14th January where riders of all abilities will be given the opportunity to ride the Miramar Peninsular on the same challenging circuit as riders racing stage four of the Tour.

More information on the Tour and teams can be found at:

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