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British rider continues winning streak at Festival of Cycling

British rider Matt Cronshaw wins at the Benchmark festival of Cycling, Photo Bruce Wilson.
Dec 1st, 12. British rider Matt Cronshaw ended his New Zealand training holiday on a high by winning the men's road race at the Benchmark Homes Festival of Cycling in Waipara today.



Cronshaw, who supported his Kiwi Node 4 team-mate Michael Northey to his Tour of Southland and Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge wins over the last month was rewarded with the line honours after the pair dominated much of the race.


New Zealand national champion Michael Vink (Scotty Browns - Vision Systems) was out-sprinted for the win, with Northey taking third after the trio were the the last remaining riders of the day's break.


"It has been a great time in New Zealand. We've had a pretty good run with Mike winning Southland and Taupo last weekend. He definitely worked for me coming into the finish so I am really grateful for that," said Cronshaw.


The pair knew their recent success would make them a target, and rode accordingly.


"We thought a lot of people would be wanting to beat us today, after the results that we have had. Instead of letting people take it to us, we did our usual style of attacking by getting stuck in early."


Cronshaw's early attack in the first 10km of the 90km race was the defining move. He was joined by Northey, Sam Horgan (Subway), Daniel Barry, Hamish Schreurs and Darcy Ellerm-Norton (Benchmark Homes), Vink, Grayson Napier and Geert-Jan Jonkman.


The rest of the field, which included New Zealand’s top professional and Olympic riders, did not see the leaders again as the breakaway established a three minute lead.


It was Cronshaw, Northey and Vink, evidently the strongest riders, who controlled the proceedings in the lead group, gradually dropping their companions until the were the only remaining riders with 12km to go. The pair tried unsuccessfully to drop Vink.


"I sat behind Vink. We tried to get rid of him in the finish, but he is very strong, we didn't quite manage."


Olympian Shane Archbold led the rest of the field home 40 seconds later.


It could be a Node-4 repeat in the criterium tomorrow, with Cronshaw certain he has plenty left in the tank for tomorrow's race.


"It is supposed to be quite a technical course, so that suits me quite well."


Cronshaw has been savouring the New Zealand weather and scenery before he heads home to England on Wednesday.


Kaiapoi's Reta Trotman added another victory to her growing list in the women's road race.


Trotman  took the race in a sprint from breakaway companions Sophie Williamson (Alexandra) and Emma Crum (Soul Star Racing, Auckland).


"It was a good aggressive race right from the start. With a couple of teams there it made it quite exciting. Soul Star was definitely attacking,” said Trotman.


The trio, along with local rider Haley Mercer, broke away from the field over the only Queen of the Mountains climb, and managed to create a three minute lead.


"There were a few attacks over the hill climb where our break of four managed to get away. From there it was heads down working to the end.


"I spent the last 30km having a think to see how I was going to out sprint those girls. I just knew that I would have to go early, which is what I did, I managed to hold onto the end which is really awesome."


Nearly 1000 riders competed in the day's events which included two mountain bike events, a 10km run and a children's ride in addition to the road events.


Tomorrow's second day of the Benchmark Homes Festival of Cycling sees the competitors test themselves on the technical criterium course at the University of Canterbury. The first race is at 11am, with the elite men's race the last of the Festival, kicking off at 2pm.


A highlight of the day will be the Free Wheelin’ Frenzy 150 which will see 12 Canterbury celebrities including MP Lianne Dalziel, Mayoress Jo Nicholls-Parker, Crusaders Ryan Crotty and Matt Todd and Olympians Ryan and Gough,  race each other in wheelchairs to raise awareness for the NZ Spinal Trust.


For more information, full results  and for spectator guides visit




Elite Men (90km): Matthew Cronshaw (Lancaster) 2:02:06, 1; Michael Vink (Christchurch) 2:02:06, 2;Mike Northey (Auckland) 2:02:06, 3; Shane Archbold (Timaru) 2:02:47, 4; Aaron Gate (Auckland) 2:02:48, 5.


Elite Women (90km):Reta Trotman (Kaiapoi) 2:22:42, 1; Sophie Williamson (Alexandra) 2:22:42, 2; Emma Crum, Soul Star Racing (Whangaparaoa) 2:22:42, 3; Haley Mercer (Christcurch) 2:22:57, 4; Gabrielle Vermunt, Soul Star Racing (Invercargill) 2:31:16, 5.



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