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21 Nov 2017 17:23
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  •   Home > News > Sports

    NZ cyclists humbled by WWI trophy

    World Tour cyclists Jack Bauer and Sam Bewley have reflected on the WWI sacrifices of NZ soldiers on fields where their racing takes them each northern spring.

    A century ago, army tanks and soldiers were on the Belgian cobblestones that New Zealand cyclists Jack Bauer and Sam Bewley know well from their racing.

    So it was a sobering moment for the two World Tour riders as they received a trophy to commemorate the New Zealand Cyclist Corps' contribution on the Western Front during World War I.

    "To think 100 years is not that long ago, but that there were guys like me travelling from as far away as New Zealand to fight over here, which says so much about New Zealanders," Bauer said.

    The trophy, set in timber from the trenches, features a cobblestone from Kemmelberg and was presented on behalf of Cycling NZ.

    It will be awarded to the men's under-23 winner at the national road race championships in Napier in January.

    "It's special to receive a trophy of a cobblestone that has been on that road for 100 years," Bewley said.

    "It has had army tanks and New Zealand soldiers walk across that cobblestone and now it's part of the New Zealand cycling community."

    Formed in New Zealand, the NZCC performed a similar function to mounted rifles and also did scouting and reconnaissance and served in the trenches as infantryman.

    Kemmelberg, now a famed cobbled climb in cycling's annual Flanders Classics, was the scene of major loss of life among members of the corps.

    Their contribution, among the thousands of New Zealanders who died in WWI, will be commemorated 100 years on from the Battle at Kemmelberg at the Gent-Wevelgem race in March.


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