The 34th Yunca Junior Tour Of Southland is in Eastern Southland this weekend.
Cycling Southland tour director Danielle Ralph said entries for the Tour had had a resurgence this year and more than 100 riders across the under-13 to under-19 age groups had entered.
The biggest fields were the under-17 category with 45 entries and the under-15 category with 29 entries, Ralph said.
Stage 1 of the tour is a time trial at Teretonga Park at 11am today, followed at 12.30pm by stage 2, the Kermesse, the tour’s first race leg, also at Teretonga.
“The annual circuit includes two stages in Eastern [Southland] on Saturday, on the New Vale Coal circuit and Beast of the East circuit,” she said.
Stage 3, the Beast of the East, would start from Te Tipua School at 9am tomorrow and riders would be due back at the school by 12.30pm.
Stage 4, the New Vale Coal circuit, would start at 1.30pm tomorrow, also from Te Tipua School.
On Sunday, riders would begin the fifth stage – the Inner City Criterium – at 8.30am from Wensleys Cycles in Invercargill and stage 6 would start at 1pm from Grove Bush Hall.
Competition would be tough across all the grades, Ralph said.
“If you look at the results of recent tours around the country, along with the road and school nationals, many of the top four to five riders in each event are here, so it’s going to be an extremely competitive event.”
Junior cycling numbers, both in Southland and across New Zealand, had started to climb in the past year, she said.
“Cycling Southland has had an increased focus on junior road cycling for the past year and we’re starting to see the benefits of that.”
Spectators were being encouraged to head down and watch.