Media release: Riders eye milestone victory in 25th anniversary of Golden Homes Le Race

Mar 11, 2024

New Zealand’s cycling community will be celebrating a special milestone on March 23 when hundreds of riders will line up for the 25th edition of the Golden Homes Le Race.

Since its inception in 1999, the classic 100km race from Christchurch to Akaroa has become part of Kiwi sporting folklore, featuring some of the biggest names in the sport, as well as some of the most eccentric weekend warriors.

Race organiser Sheree Stevens says she and her team may have some emotional and nostalgic moments when 550 riders line up in Cathedral Square to make their way across the Port Hills.

“Golden Homes Le Race is one of the iconic one-day races in the country and possibly the only road cycling event of its kind remaining along with the Lake Taupo Challenge, and we are extremely proud to celebrate this special milestone,” says Stevens.

The tough climbs over Dyers Pass, Gebbies Pass, the famous Hilltop and the Summit Road over the years have attracted some incredible fields, and the Hall of Fame includes a long list of world champions, Olympic medallists and Commonwealth Games winners like Brian Fowler, Hayden Roulston and Kate McIlroy.

Some of those competed in the heyday of their careers, while other young New Zealand talents used Le Race as a stepping stone to a professional career on the cycling world tour.

“Those names are a great reflection of the high regard Le Race is held in cycling circles,” says Stevens.

“It has been wonderful so see those same young kids we first met at the starting line in Cathedral Square later pop up on the podium in Europe or the US, and of course makes us incredibly proud,” says Stevens.

That list of former Le Race competitors making headlines includes Christchurch rider Laurence Pithie who held the yellow leader’s jersey in the prestigious Paris-Nice only a week ago.

This year’s field for Le Race will include defending champions Sharlotte Lucas and Jonty Harris, as well as previous two-time winner Daniel Whitehouse and Australian-turned-Kiwi former pro rider Matilda Raynolds.

Stevens admits that her event has faced the same challenges as other sports events in recent years and Le Race was virtually on life support after the double cancellation in 2020 and 2022 due to the pandemic.

“Other events organisers may have pulled the pin, but this is such a special race and we just love our cycling community too much to let this amazing event die a quiet death. Not on my watch,” says Stevens, who adds that increased competition from other events, notably mountain-bike competitions has also challenged the viability of classic road race.

Stevens is grateful for the New Zealand community for reciprocating her commitment to Le Race by again signing up in large numbers for the gruelling climbs over the Port Hills.

“That’s what keeps us all coming back, their love for this special event. And the big smiles on everyone’s faces when they share their battle stories over a beer in Akaroa.”

For more information please contact Coen Lammers on 021-730239 Caption: Sharlotte Lucas on her way to win 2023 Golden Holmes Le Race.

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