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The new-look Pioneer mountain bike race is proving popular. It will return in November in and around Queenstown.
Already entries are more than 70% sold and exceed numbers from the previous two editions of the multi-stage event.
Race director Bec Williams has taken huge confidence from the entries so far, and from feedback following the announcement that the event would return this year in a six-day format.
"It was our goal to ensure the long-term sustainability of the event, without losing the characteristics that made the first two editions so special," she said.
"The conversations we have had with riders directly and online have given complete backing for the changes we have made. It is going to be a very special event in November this year, one that is fresh for returning riders, and a stunning challenge for everyone."
Among the changes is a Queenstown start and finish to the event. Riders will take in six days of pedalling with 450km of riding in total. Williams said the event would be as challenging as ever. The first two y editions of the race started in Christchurch and ended in Central Otago.
"One thing that was made clear was riders did not want us to soften this event too much. They want and expect to ride over terrain that will take them to their limits, and with over 15,000m of climbing, this course certainly ticks that box."
Entries are coming in from all around the world too, with 21 countries represented. The biggest numbers are coming from Australia, United States, and Singapore, while, of course, New Zealand has the most entrants. Riders in the event team up in pairs and must not separate throughout the whole six days of riding.