Competitive cycling racing will make a welcome return to Invercargill’s central business district this week with an inner city criterium to be held.
The Vital Signs Tour de Lakes seven-stage cycle race has moved from Central Otago to be based in Southland this Easter, with the prologue stage on Friday afternoon to be raced around the city’s Pak n Save block (Tay, Nith, Forth and Conon streets).
The prologue is usually held in Cromwell, with the other stages raced around Queenstown and Te Anau.
Tour director Allan Dunn said it was exciting to be able to bring the race back to Southland. Increasing issues around traffic management in and around Queenstown made it too challenging to continue racing there, he said.
“I’m really excited about bringing cycle racing back to the Invercargill CBD. We know a lot of people are away to Ed Sheeran but it’s a good chance for those in town to see some racing in the city centre.
“We’re hoping we can grow the event in the future and offer other racing as well.”
Racing in the Criterium starts at 2.30pm on Good Friday with two races planned. There will be minimal road closures in the area to ensure safety for the riders.
Riders will then race between Riverton and Tuatapere (Saturday morning) and Tuatapere and Manapouri (Saturday afternoon); Manapouri and Te Anau (Sunday morning) and Mossburn and Winton (Sunday afternoon); and Wyndham and Niagara (Monday morning) and Niagara to Invercargill (Monday afternoon).