EvoPro racing’s Aaron Gate has won the Grassroots Trust New Zealand Cycle Classic title while another exciting sprint finish saw Drapac Cannondale Holistic Development team take first and second over the line in today’s fifth and final stage; courtesy of Theo Yates and Jensen Plowright.

Today’s 143km stage, nicknamed the Circuit of Champions, involved riders completing eight laps of a 8.2km circuit on the outskirts of Cambridge before completing a different circuit eight times then finishing in the centre of town.

Drapac’s Theo Yates crossed the line in first place in 3hr 20 secs 28 mins with Jensen Plowright second while Gate’s teammate Shane Archbold was third. EvoPro’s top placing also saw them win the Cross Country Rental team classification jersey, capping off a terrific week for the Irish-based team.

Race director Jorge Sandoval said he was thrilled with how today’s racing went and he was pleased to see so many spectators out lining the course ringing their cow bells and cheering the field of international riders on. Many are staying on to enjoy the Party in the Park celebrations which are part of the Three Peaks RIDE New Zealand’s Cycling Festival, a week-long festival encouraging people of all ages and stages of cycling to get out and ride more regularly.

“I’m very happy with how everything went to day and in fact, the whole week up here in the new location of Waipa, has been fantastic. The hospitality has been warm, the racing exciting and great to see so many spectators,” said Sandoval. “I look forward to returning next year.”

Theo Yates has won stage 5 of the New Zealand Cycle Classic, photo provided

Despite several early attacks this morning, a breakaway did not form until around 75km when four riders attacked including defending champion Hayden McCormick (Team Bridgeland), Swiss National team, New Zealand and GPM Stulz riders. They extended their lead to over minute with just over 100km to go. But with approximately 10km remaining the breakaway was caught. Then St George’s Mathew Zenovich and Team Skoda Fruizio’s Joel Yates formed their own break away and things began to get frantic before Ethan Batt (NZ) and then Bridgelane’s Joe Cooper each made an attack off the front before Drapac thwarted their plans with the sprint finish, with the large crowd at that lined the Cambridge square finish line cheering them on.

The New Zealand Cycle Classic celebrated its 32nd Anniversary this year. After being staged in the Wairarapa for the last three years it was staged entirely in and around the surrounds of Waipā and featuring new race routes that tested all riders.

Being held simultaneously with the Grassroots New Zealand Cycle Classic was Three Peaks RIDE New Zealand’s Cycling Festival, a week-long festival encouraging people of all ages and stages of cycling to get out and ride more regularly. These two events were made possible thanks to the generous support from the Brian Perry Charitable Trust and the Waipā District Council.

Final Jersey Presentations:

Winger Suzuki Most Aggressive Rider Jersey: Ethan Batt (NZL);

BNZ Sprint jersey: Stefan Bissegger (Swiss National team)

Three Peaks Manuka Honey King of the Mountain Jersey: Cyrille Thiery (Swiss National team);

Foster Construction U23 Jersey: Theo Gilbertson (GD Pringle)

Grassroots Trust GC Yellow Jersey: Aaron Gate (EVO Pro).

Cross Country Rental Team: EVO Pro

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