Negentig jaar geleden zou in de Australische ploeg van Hubert Opperman ook de eerste Nieuw-Zeelander deelnemen aan de Tour. Harry Watson was pas 24 geworden en zou uiteindelijk 28ste worden.

The Watson family shifted to Christchurch. There, they were neighbours with the Arnst family, who were equally sports-mad. Especially Jack Arnst (born 1883) was a champion cyclist. Harry Watson married his neighbour Catherine Margaret “Kitty” Arnst.
Watson was selected for the 1928 Tour de France on the strength of his performance in the Dunlop Grand Prix, which at the time was the biggest cycling race in the British Empire and the richest race in the world. The race was held in four stages around Victoria in November 1927, covering 690.5 miles (1,111 km). The Dunlop Grand Prix carried with it the title of Long Distance Road Champion of Australasia and Watson finished second to Opperman.
The tour was 5,377 kilometres long in 1928, most of it on unsealed roads, and the riders used heavy, fixed wheel bicycles. There were 22 stages, ranging from 119 kilometres to 387 kilometres. As the Australasians were relatively inexperienced (they had never raced in Europe before) and were a trade team of four competing against teams of 8 to 10 cyclists, the French media predicted they would only last a few stages before pulling out. Of the 168 starters that year, only 41 finished. Watson placed 28th. He stated afterwards that it was the toughest race he had ever completed: “When I think of the mountain climbing, the mad rushes downhill, and the riding at night in pitch darkness, well, it is a veritable nightmare! In spite of this, it was a wonderful experience racing the Continentals.”
After eight months abroad Watson returned to New Zealand. He went to Australia in 1934 for the Centenary 1000 a one-week race over seven stages covering 1,102 miles (1,773 km) to mark the Centenary of Victoria. Watson was one of the 30 “A Grade” riders starting from scratch, finished 2nd in stage 2 from Warrnambool to Stawell over 152.25 miles (245.02 km) and finished second overall.
He continued competitive cycling to 1937. He won almost every long distance race that he entered, and set some enduring records in the process. The most notable was in 1935 when he completed the 167-kilometre Taranaki Around-the-Mountain Road Race in 4 hours, 8 minutes, 38 seconds (average speed of 40 km/h). [Wikipedia]

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