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Olympic Rower wins NZCT Women's Cycle Tour of New Zealand

st3amber_thumbFeb 27th '09, Wairarapa. In her first ever cycling tour event, double rowing Olympian Amber Halliday showed the value of years of cross training as she rode across the line first to win the stage and clinche the overall title in the NZCT Women’s Tour of New Zealand.  Rachel Mercer from Team Cyclosport was the best placed kiwi.


Halliday celebrates with her team management (c)

Australian Amber Halliday took up cycling only five months ago having three times achieved the title of World Champion in various rowing disciplines.  After the disappointment of an 8th placing in Beijing Halliday explained how she went home (South Australia) and “rode out my anger”. 

Halliday says that she had always ridden hard for cross training, but didn’t have any skills or knowledge of race tactics.  She credited her MB Cycles Team for giving her this opportunity and for teaching her so much in her transition from elite rowing to elite cyclist.

29 year old Halliday won the stage by 1m29s from Min Gao (China)  Giant Pro Cycling Team.  The first New Zealander over the line was Rachel Mercer from Cyclosport Team.  19 year old Mercer also finished the tour as the highest ranked kiwi on the General Classification in 13th position.  Wellington based Cyclosport Team, managed by Eddie Bright, ended the Tour as the first placed New Zealand team with 5th position, ahead of the New Zealand National Team in 7th.


Rachel Mercer, Cyclosport, crosses the finish line at Admiral Hill Rd as the best placed kiwi.  (c)


Today’s third and final stage of the Tour was always going to be a day for the climbers.  With seven hill climbs over 125km culminating in a 10km climb up Admiral Hill Road, the peloton had no time to rest. 

Too busy to enjoy the scenery


Kathy Watt (Aus) from the Handy Rental Team attacked early on and had over one minute on the peloton before being caught at the first Queen on the Mountain line. 

With 70km to go the yellow jersey wearer Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) from the Australia National Team, did as she promised yesterday, and repaid her teammates hard work in helping her with the previous stage wins, and lead out Peta Mullens to chase down Watts. 

Halliday took Mullen’s wheel and followed.  As Mullen’s said she had an advantage of the field as she was an unknown and therefore less marked than some of the other climbers, “Nobody knew me, I could get away without the peloton panicking and chasing me down” explained Mullen.


Unfortunately for Mullens, a mechanical issue caused her chain to fall off ending her chances.  A mechanical problem also thwarted the polka dot jersey wearer Ruth Corset as she was chasing for the podium, “When I changed gear [at the final race for 3rd] I ended up in the wrong one and got cramp” explained a disappointed Corset.  Corset retained the overall Queen of the Mountain title.


Halliday charges over the line (c)
 Stage 3 Results


1st  Amber HALLIDAY (AUS) MB Cycles Team - Australia 3:51:28
2nd Min GAO (CHN) Giant Pro Cycling Team- China 01:29
3rd  Lang MENG (CHN) Giant Pro Cycling Team- China 02:54
4th  Ruth CORSET (AUS) Champions System Cycling Team
5th  Carlee TAYLOR (AUS) Australia National Team 

General Classification

1st  Amber HALLIDAY (AUS) MB Cycles Team - Australia 10:22:04
2nd Min GAO (CHN) Giant Pro Cycling Team- China 01:33
3rd  Lang MENG (CHN) Giant Pro Cycling Team- China 03:00
4th  Ruth CORSET (AUS) Champions System Cycling Team 03:04
5th  Carlee TAYLOR (AUS) Australia National Team 


Final Jersey winners

  • Mountains Classification, Ruth Corset (AUS) Champions System Cycling Team
  • Sprints Classification,  Rochelle Gilmore (AUS) Australia National Team
  • Under 23 Classification, Carlee TAYLOR (AUS) Australia National Team
  • Best Team, Australia National Team



Queen of Mountain & Yellow Jersey winners (c)




Under23 and Sprint jersey winners (c)



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