Cyclists give their all for charity

After five days of gruesome climbs, a fair bit of rain, and hundreds of thousands of dollars raised, the Tour of New Zealand reached its peak.

On Friday, atop the Crown Range between Queenstown and Wanaka, more than 100 cyclists crossed the line to complete the seventh instalment of the tour.

Starting in the rainy Arthur’s Pass on Monday, the riders clocked more than 500km over five days, travelling through Hokitika, Franz Josef, Haast, Makarora and Hawea and finishing with the trek from Wanaka up to the Crown Range summit.

Father and son Malcolm and Harry Legget stand atop the Crown Range, having just completed the...
Father and son Malcolm and Harry Legget stand atop the Crown Range, having just completed the Tour of New Zealand while raising funds for the Unicorn Foundation/NeuroEndocrine Cancer NZ, which the former chairs. PHOTO: MELISSA READY
The tour was unique in that it catered for a range of abilities - riders could be as competitive as they wanted - and had a fundraising focus.

Since its inception in 2012, the tour has raised more than $2.3 million for charities and the aim was to add another few hundred thousand dollars this year.

Tour director Peter Yarrell came up with the concept, and has loved seeing the event grow.

He said it was an opportunity for cyclists from all walks - or rides - of life and all corners of the world to experience the country’s most beautiful roads, make life-long friends and contribute to charities doing good.

One of the riders was former-pro cyclist Julian Dean, who also competed with his wife, Carole Harvey, and had plenty of praise for the event.

Mr Dean was fundraising for Tearfund to help fight human trafficking.

Other charities included the Child Cancer Foundation, Heart Foundation, and NeuroEndocrine Cancer NZ.

First to the top on Friday was the "Muppets" team, comprising Aucklanders William and Daniel Morton and their father Simon.

The family trio said they were keen to return next time around, though Simon Morton reckoned he was just trying to keep up with his boys wherever possible.

"I don’t think a dad could ask for anything more, but to be able to keep up with them that’s another thing. They were really kind to me - every day they were pulling turns up front and making it a bit easier for me, except for today. You can’t do much on a hill."