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Gravel and Tar Classic

Gravel and Tar Classic
Race details
CompetitionUCI Oceania Tour
Web Edit this at Wikidata
First edition2016 (2016)
Editions8 (as of 2024)
First winner Logan Griffin (NZL)
Most winsNo repeat winners
Most recent Josh Burnett (NZL)

The Gravel and Tar Classic is a one-day cycling race, held annually in the Manawatu region of New Zealand, since 2016, finishing in Palmerston North. It is rated 1.2 and has been part of UCI Oceania Tour since 2018.[1] The race is primarily on sealed roads, however the highlight of the race is the multiple gravel sectors (usually 5 or 6) throughout the course. The race is now considered to be the toughest one-day elite race in the Oceania region.[2] The race is held in January each year, making it one of the first races on the UCI Calendar, and a key chance for teams and riders to gain early UCI points. The event has seen teams enter from countries such as Sweden, Japan, the US, and Australia, along with the best New Zealand men's trade teams.

Palmerston North was the starting location of the race for its first three years, before the race start moved to its current location in Feilding[3] in 2019. The race course often transverses the gravel roads on the watersheds near Pohangina, and the peloton is easily fractured due to punctures & crashes on these sectors. As a result of these fractures the race will very rarely see large bunches finish together, and many racers miss the time cut or are unable to finish.[4]

The Gravel and Tar La Femme is the women's version of the race, held on the same day, and introduced in 2019. The La Femme race also holds a UCI 1.2 rating, and is one of a few elite female cycle races in the world where the prizemoney on offer is the same as the men's race.[5] The race generally follows a shorter but similar course to the men's race, starting and finishing in the same locations.[6]

In 2021, the race expanded to include a series of wraparound events over the race weekend, being labelled the Manawatu Cycling Spree.[7] This includes:

  • Gravel and Tar Classic
  • Gravel and Tar La Femme
  • Slicks and Stones – An event for all amateur cyclists who wish to challenge themselves by riding close to 100 km of the elite Gravel and Tar circuit.[8] This even first took place in 2019.
  • Slicks and Stones Lite – A shorter amateur circuit for those wishing to try their skill on an easier course,[9] with the Slicks and Stones eBike Challenge, another new category, also taking place over the same 46 km circuit.[10]
  • Retro Bike Ride – A short retro themed fun ride, where donations and proceeds from this event go to the Arohanui Hospice in Palmerston North.[11]
  • Family Fun Ride – A "get moving" family event that is part of the festival to enable cycling participation for all ages and abilities.[12]
  • Arapuke Mountain Bike Challenge – The Arapuke Classic, organised by the Manawatū Mountain Bike Club, takes riders over their choice of three courses, from 13 to 41 km of single track, in the Tararua Range foothills near Palmerston North. For 2021, there’s also an e-bike category over 25 km.[13]
  • Nieuw Normal Extreme Mountain Bike Challenge – An extreme mountain bike event, held at the new Green's Estate venue.[14]

Men's race

Year Country Rider Team
2016  New Zealand Logan Griffin Oliver's Real Food Racing
2017  Australia Robert Stannard Mitchelton Scott
2018  Australia Ethan Berends Mobius–BridgeLane
2019  New Zealand Luke Mudgway EvoPro Racing
2020  New Zealand Hayden Mccormick Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy
2021  New Zealand Aaron Gate Black Spoke Pro Cycling
2022 No race due to COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand
2023[15]  New Zealand Ben Oliver MitoQ–NZ Cycling Project
2024[16][17]  New Zealand Josh Burnett MitoQ–NZ Cycling Project

Women's race

Year Country Rider Team
2019  Australia Brodie Chapman Tibco–Silicon Valley Bank
2020  New Zealand Niamh Fisher-Black New Zealand
2021  New Zealand Olivia Ray New Zealand
2022 No race due to COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand


  1. ^ "2018 Gravel and Tar". ProCyclingStats. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Gravel and Tar Classic UCI 1.2". Gravel and Tar | Manawatu 1.2 UCI Race and supporting events. Retrieved 12 October 2020.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Gravel and Tar Classic 2021. cycling route #5120035". Retrieved 12 October 2020.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Gravel and Tar Classic 2020 | Results". Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Gravel and Tar La Femme UCI 1.2". Gravel and Tar | Manawatu 1.2 UCI Race and supporting events. Retrieved 12 October 2020.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Gravel and Tar La Femme 2021. cycling route #5120039". Retrieved 12 October 2020.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Manawatū Cycling Spree". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Gravel and Tar". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  9. ^ "Gravel and Tar". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Gravel and Tar". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Retro Ride". Eventfinda. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Family Fun Ride". Eventfinda. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Manawatu Mountain Bike Club |". Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  14. ^ "General 1". Greens Estate NZs Premier Freeride mountain bike destination. Retrieved 5 November 2020.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Gravel and Tar Classic – Ben Oliver enlève la Gravel and Tar Classic 2023". (in French). 21 January 2023. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  16. ^ "Gravel & Tar Classic 2024 | Race results". Webscorer. 20 January 2024. Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  17. ^ "Josh Burnett wint Gravel and Tar Classic na sprint à deux in Ashhurst". WielerFlits (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 January 2024.
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Gravel and Tar Classic
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