New Zealand’s growing recognition as a world-class cycling destination owes much to one major event - the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, the must-do annual outing that has been putting the Kiwi cycling community into a spin for more than 40 years.
It’s New Zealand’s biggest cycling event, attracting 6000 riders plus bikes and 9000 supporters from around New Zealand and at least 20 other countries into Taupo for a high-energy weekend of events.
Thousands of riders participate in the event's most popular category, the 160-km Round the Lake - a one-lap ride around Lake Taupo - but this is just one of 14 categories on the schedule.
The around-the-great-lake course inspires cyclists of all levels, from top professional and endurance road cyclists through to mountain bike enthusiasts, weekend and occasional leisure spinners, competitive business relay teams and family groups on shorter loops.
Over the full 160km route, cyclists circumnavigate New Zealand’s biggest lake - the beating heart of the volcanic central North Island is a gigantic crater left by an ancient eruption. The classic route is an up-hill, down-hill on-road journey that’s a visual feast of lake shores, forests and rural farmlands and played out before crowds of enthusiastic roadside spectators.
When the 43rd edition of the cycle challenge rolls out on 30 November 2019, participants will have the option of 14 categories, including the fast-paced Criterium events on Friday night, the multi-lap Enduro events, the full 160km round the lake, 75km half the lake or 40km quarter lake, as well as the 80km, 60km and 30km mountain bike options. Families can also participate in the 5km Kids Heart Ride and the 16km Lakesider.
About: The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge
- New Zealand’s largest cycling event
- 6000-plus riders from 20 countries
- 160km circumnavigation of Lake Taupo
- 14 categories include shorter routes, road cycling and mountain bike options for individuals and teams for all levels of cycling and fitness abilities
- 2019 is the 43rd edition