'It's humbling, it's great to be here' - Lance Armstrong surprised by huge turnout for early morning Auckland bike ride

Disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong says he was surprised and "humbled" by the 2000 or so Kiwis who turned out to join him on an earlier morning ride along Auckland's Tamaki Drive today.

The disgraced US sportsman was more than happy to meet some of the hundreds who turned up. Source: 1 NEWS

"I never know what the expect. I assume there'd be more of you guys (the media) and less of these guys (fans)," Armstrong said after the ride.

"It's humbling, It's great to be here."

The cyclists turned out on Auckland's waterfront under a clear sky today to get a chance to ride alongside controversial cycling figure.

Armstrong issued an open invite for Kiwis to join him on a bike ride this morning.

"See you at 6am!" Armstrong tweeted last night as a reminder.

Armstrong was asked by media about being stripped of seven Tour de France titles after he admitted taking banned performance enhancing substances.

"We all sort of know the story by now," he said.

The disgraced US sportsman had a lot of company for his ride this morning. Source: 1 NEWS

"For me the most important things are ... try to raise five kids and fit myself. 

"People think I'm curled up in the foetal position, but they're wrong, you know what I mean. 

"They're wrong ... we're in a good place, my kids are in a good place."

Yesterday, Kiwi Ironman Cameron Brown copped backlash for going on a ride with Armstrong on Sunday.

The disgraced cyclist expected more members of the media than cyclists when he headed out this morning. Source: 1 NEWS

But former triathlon world champion Rick Wells has defended the convicted drug cheat's presence in New Zealand.

Having met with Armstrong for a leisurely ride on Sunday, Brown was targeted on social media, with many outraged at his praise for the seven-time former Tour de France winner.

The criticism so fierce that Brown has removed himself from the media spotlight as a result.

Rick Wells says the Kiwi Ironman has done nothing to deserve the backlash he's received for meeting with the disgraced cyclist. Source: 1 NEWS

In the wake of the controversy, Wells has leapt to Brown's defence, praising the Ironman as being one of New Zealand sports' good guys.

"Of all the athletes Cam Brown is the most honest," Wells told 1NEWS.

"He's a guy I really look up to and admire for his integrity, it's uncompromising."

Hundreds of cyclists on Auckland's Tamaki Drive with Lance Armstrong.
Hundreds of cyclists on Auckland's Tamaki Drive with Lance Armstrong. Source: 1 NEWS

However, Wells also urged understanding when discussing Armstrong, a cyclist whom he competed against as a teenager.

"We all know Lance Armstrong's a cheat," Wells said.

"I know what he's done, I don't condone it, I don't like, he's done it, we move on."

Wells also spoke of understanding the bigger picture, and that there are more important things than sport at the end of the day.

"He's not a bad guy, he's not an axe murderer. He's just a cyclist who rose to the top in a crooked sport anyway."


'New Zealand's space industry personified' – an exclusive look inside Rocket Lab's new Auckland factory

He's a man who's spent plenty of time on spaceships, so it's no surprise that actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on Star Trek, scored himself an invite to Rocket Lab's new factory in Auckland yesterday.

But as entertaining as Shatner is, Seven Sharp opted for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look with a man who thrilled us six weeks ago with his animated explanation of lightning.

Professor Craig Rodger took over reporting duties from Seven Sharp’s Michael Holland to take us through "New Zealand's space industry personified". 

To find out more about Rocket Lab's "magical moment", click on the video above.

Once up to speed it’s hoped the Mt Wellington factory will build a new Electron rocket every week. Source: Seven Sharp


Road closed after large sinkhole found in South Auckland

A South Auckland road has been closed after a large sinkhole opened up.

Manurewa's Alfriston Rd is closed between Saralee Dr and Porchester Rd until further notice after it was discovered around 6pm, Auckland Transport said on Twitter.

An Auckland spokesperson told 1 NEWS the sinkhole is believed to have been caused by a failed water culvert half a metre under the road, but investigators will confirm the exact cause when repair work begins on Monday.

"Contractors will be on-site to conduct traffic control," the agency said.

Alfriston College students have been advised to allow for extra travel time early next week, while all other motorists have been advised to consider using an alternative route or avoid the area if possible.

A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS


'Instead of a car, a newborn baby' - William Shatner takes dig at Elon Musk, bizarrely suggests sending baby Neve to space

William Shatner has made an odd suggestion to help improve the country's space programme - sending baby Neve Gayford into space.

The comments come after the Star Trek actor helped open Rocket Lab's new factory alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Auckland today.

In a dig at SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who put a car inside a rocket which was sent into orbit, Shatner said sending Ms Ardern's newborn baby would yield a greater payload.

"The Prime Minister has a baby, so why don't we put the baby as a payload. Get the baby up there, protect it - and, of course, bring the baby back home - but think how much better New Zealand's space programme would be," he said.

"Instead of a car, a newborn baby. What a wonderful place to be - on the cutting edge of this technology."

The Star Trek actor gave a very odd suggestion to help improve the country’s space programme Source: 1 NEWS

First of more than 18,000 crosses installed outside Auckland War Memorial Museum to mark WW1 deaths

On a dim and wet Auckland day, the first of more than 18,000 crosses - one to mark each death from WWI - are being carefully and painstakingly put in place outside the city's War Memorial Museum.

There was a private blessing this morning to mark the start of the installations.

The thousands of white crosses will keep being installed across the weekend and through to Monday afternoon at the earliest.

Auckland RSA president and Fields of Remembrance vice chairman Graham Gibson told 1 NEWS the end result will be a poignant sight.

"This is coming to the final stage, Armistice 2018, when the guns stopped. We're finally putting this field in as a national field," Mr Gibson said.

"It's 18,277 crosses."

The Fields of Remembrance started in 2014, as commemorations began intensifying leading up to this year's 100 year anniversary of the Armistice signing that ended the war.

There is grief behind each of the crosses, and a separate field is especially for the many families that have more than one cross.

"In that field is the nine mothers that lost four, the 51 mothers that lost three sons, and the 636 that lost two sons," he said.

"It's actually quite significant that we're starting to lay the field on this day, the 12th of October. History tells us that's when our bloodiest thing [happened] in the first World War, the Battle of Passchendaele, where we lost 846 men in the time it takes to play three games of rugby."

Current NZDF members have been laying the crosses today.

"It's only fitting that the military lay the crosses for the men and women that went before them.

"It was all for the young ones, and we wanted the young ones to understand what service and sacrifice was about."

From October 20, a bugler will walk through the fields at 7am and 7pm.

TVNZ will be broadcasting Auckland's Armistice centenary service live.

First of more than 18,000 crosses put in place at Auckland War Memorial Museum ahead of Armistice centenary commemoration. Source: 1 NEWS