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McCauley triumphs in Hell of the South
Aug 26th, 12. In perfect Canterbury conditions, Gordon McCauley won the 'Hell of the South' race today, taking over Brian Fowler's record wins in the Benchmark Homes Elite Cycling Series.
After a great outing in the Australian Scody Cup series earlier this month, McCauley was the strongest of the field in Selwyn today.
His Scotty Browns Vision Systems team were rewarded for their hard work, they were the best team overall for this round.
The Auckland coach was first over the line in the 128km course, raced over 8 laps of 16km which included 1.9km of gravel and dirt roads each lap. Second was Chris Nicholson (Tasman Wheelers - Senior). 3rd was Will Bowman (Benchmark Homes team - U23) +2min. The bunch was led home by James McCoy (Homestyle) a fair way back.
"The road had recently been re-shingled, it was really rough - like riding on marbles. It was perfectly dry though, in fact it was quite warm day," said McCauley of the gravel section which two weeks ago was underwater due to prolonged rain.
The rough roads lived up to expectations with more than twenty punctures, and one crash on just the first passing!
"It was a case of each time into the shingle Jason Allen and Rob Reid set me up," McCauley told RoadCycling.co.nz. "We all worked well together to stay up the front during the gravel. Crashes always happen further back so it was important to always be up the front. There was some wind blowing, which made it harder today."
It was Nicholson and Bowman who livened up the action with a breakaway about 45km before the finish. McCauley, who had been sheltered and kept safe up until then by his teammates, soon chose to bridge. After a 1km solo chase he had joined the duo.
With one lap to go, Bowman faded back but McCauley was still strong. With McCauley racing as a Master and Nicholson as a Senior (he started the race 2nd overall behind Benchmark's Daniel Barry), the two were able to work well together without thought to competing objectives in the overall standings.
Behind them, McCauley's teammates worked well to slow down the chase, leaving the two out front to contest the finish. In the sprint, McCauley had enough of a gap to be able to raise his arms in victory as he crossed the finish line. He also won Round 2 of the Benchmark Homes Elite Cycling Series, raced in Hokitika back in April.
"There is nothing better than crossing the line first in a race," said McCauley who has now bettered Brian Fowler's record for the highest number of Benchmark wins. Fowler won six rounds over the series' history, McCauley has now won seven.
"Brian Fowler is one of the legends of New Zealand cycling, so to pass him in any type of way is cool," he said.
Just ten days ago, McCauley won a stage in the Tour of the Great South Coast in horrid weather conditions. He told RoadCycling.co.nz it was his first big win in two years and justified his decision to take give back his NZ master's licence in favour of an elite licence for 2013.
Next Saturday McCauley is heading back to Australia for the next tour of the Scody Cup Series, the Tour of the Murray River, he is again riding as a guest for Australian team Drapac.
The first women home in the seperate women's 78km race today was Alice Hay from the Benchmark Homes team - which earned the women's top team award today.
She won the sprint from a five rider group 3min ahead of the field.
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