Posted on Thursday 9th February, 2023

(Joint news story with Cycling New Zealand)

New Zealand’s Home of Cycling, the Grassroots Trust Velodrome in Cambridge, hosted a special ceremony this morning as two new faces were added to the Walk of Champions.

Paralympian cyclist Nicole Murray and mountain biker Sam Gaze join New Zealand’s world champions of cycling with plaques adorning the Walk. Gaze and Murray receive not just one but two plaques each, having achieved the rainbow jersey twice in 2022.

Paralympian #222 Nicole Murray had the best year of her career in 2022, winning her first gold world cup medal in road Para cycling earlier in the year, leading on to her Para Cycling Track World Championship double victory in October 2022 in Paris. Nicole took gold medals for the C5 Omnium and Scratch Race, as well as winning an additional bronze and silver medal.

Unveiling her plaques, Murray thanked her teammates and support crew, saying:

“I’ve been working towards this for years. It’s just a really really cool way to honour the work people have put into me as an athlete, and a great way to remember the good times. It’s not in my nature to make a big fuss out of things like this. It’s been good to challenge that. That’s what we really should be doing – lifting each other up like this.”

MTB’s Sam Gaze similarly had an outstanding year in 2022, winning the XC Short Track and MTB Marathon World Titles.

Cycling New Zealand High Performance Director Amy Taylor unveiled the plaque on Gaze’s behalf, saying:

“Sam had a great year. Coming back from a knee operation, he managed to achieve two world titles. It’s just incredible.”

Taylor explains the significance of the Walk of Champions, which is housed in a prominent spot where cyclists entering the Velodrome pass each day.

“The Walk of Champions is a tunnel, where people get to walk through the legacy of our sport. Every day athletes walk through this tunnel to get to the track. They see those people who’ve come before and won world championships, the rainbow stripes. That’s really important to see that inspiration. It’s a tribute as well to the likes of Nicole, to the likes of Sam.”

When asked if 2022 was the best year ever for New Zealand cycling, Taylor laughed and affirmed it was.

“We’ve never had two people winning two world championships in one year. It’s amazing.”

Both Murray and Gaze now have their sights set on Paris 2024.