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by Matt de Neef
December 17, 2019
Cycling in New Zealand is set to get a boost in 2020 with the formation of a new men’s Continental team: Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy.
The venture has been founded with the goal of “seeing more New Zealand cyclists competing and winning on the world stage” and will be headlined in 2020 by a trio of established Kiwi talents:
– Aaron Gate (29): Formerly of Aqua Blue Racing.
– Hayden McCormick (25): Formerly of One Pro Cycling.
– James Oram (26): Formerly of One Pro Cycling and Mitchelton-BikeExchange.
The rest of the roster showcases the team’s commitment to the development of young talents. Current U23 riders Luke Mudgway and Ethan Butt are part of the squad, so too Kiaan Watts, Ari Scott, Josh Kench, Drew Christensen and Xander White who all step up to the U23 ranks in 2020.
“The opportunity to develop my racing career with a New Zealand team that has big ambitions and is able to foot it on the world stage is amazing,” said Gate. “Projects of
this nature are rare and unique. With a Kiwi heart and soul, I know fans will support this around the globe.”
Black Spoke will be managed by former pro Scott Guyton and is owned and backed by businessman Murray Bolton. Aussie former pro and commentator Dave McKenzie will serve as a mentor and adviser to the team, while Marc Prutton will be the outfit’s high-performance coach.
Guyton said that Black Spoke will provide a much-needed pathway for young Kiwi cyclists who are looking to make it to the highest level.
“Providing this clear pathway helps New Zealand’s existing talent unlock their potential and hopefully inspires future generations of Kiwis to consider cycling as a realistic professional sporting career,” Guyton said.
New Zealand hasn’t had a men’s Continental team since 2015 when Avanti Racing Team (now BridgeLane) came over from Australia for a season and when CCT p/b Champion System also had Continental status.
Black Spoke will make its debut at the New Zealand Cycle Classic in January — won this year by Gate and last year by McCormick — before racing in Taiwan and Australia (likely Race Torquay and/or the Jayco Herald Sun Tour). Further races in Asia, the USA and Europe are also on the cards.
– Aaron Gate
– James Oram
– Hayden McCormick
– Luke Mudgway
– Ethan Batt*
– Kiaan Watts*
– Ari Scott*
– Josh Kench*
– Drew Christensen*
– Xander White*
* Under 23 riders in 2020