Endurance cycling debut by Coast to Coaster

Dougal Allan will go from winning the Coast to Coast to making his cycling tour debut this...
Dougal Allan will go from winning the Coast to Coast to making his cycling tour debut this weekend. PHOTO: WAYNE PARSONS
Dougal Allan had always wanted to give the Tour of Southland a go.

It has never fitted in well with his busy multisport schedule, namely the Coast to Coast — of which he is the defending champion.

That has prevented him lining up on the start line.

This year, though, he has decided to make time for it.

The Wanaka endurance athlete will race for the Mike Greer Homes-Circuit Asphalt team in the eight-stage road race.

‘‘I’ve always wanted to do it,’’ Allan (36) said while out for a run.

‘‘It’s New Zealand’s most prolific cycle race and definitely a flagship endurance race in New Zealand as well. Always being an endurance athlete, I’ve looked at it and followed it.

‘‘I guess I’ve never done it because it commands respect. With the Coast to Coast and Challenge Wanaka being my priority, I’ve always found it hard to justify doing a race notorious for bad weather and crashes.

‘‘But I’m definitely at the latter end of my career. In terms of taking risks and doing events I want to do while I’m still competitive, that’s what led me to want to do it this year.’’

Allan’s CV is illustrious in the multisport arena.

Among those achievements are twice winning the Coast to Coast, as well as holding the course record for Challenge Wanaka.

Road cycling was a new venture at this level, though.

It was something he was looking forward to learning more about.

‘‘I’m feeling very open-minded.

‘‘I’ve got a lot to learn and I’m really excited to learn it. Every day, as I get through the race, I’ll come a little bit smarter and I’ll learn things that will set me up better for the following day.

‘‘I’m going into it with my curious brain being excited to learn. I’ve got very little experience racing road bikes at this level.

‘‘The other thing is being a team race, I’ve got experienced team-mates that will hopefully help guide my decision-making and help me understand my role in the team. I’m very much committed to doing what’s best for my team.’’

The tour begins at Queens Park in Invercargill with the prologue time trial leg on Sunday.

It concludes when it returns to Invercargill next Saturday.


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