Alex Heaney celebrates victory in the Hamilton Open ahead of Ryan Christensen, photo Geoffrey Dickinson/Hamilton City Cycling Club

Alex Heaney emerged victorious in last weekend’s Hamilton Open after out-sprinting breakaway companion Ryan Christensen.  Daniel Molyneux crossed the line third, leading home a group that contained Nick Reddish, Frank Sutton, Matias Fitzwater, Logan Griffin and more after almost 3 hours in the saddle.

This year’s Hamilton Open took in 115km of racing around which incorporated the Aspin Circuit, the climb of Te Miro and the infamous Maungakawa Hill.  19 riders took on the A Grade event with early aggression seeing a handful of riders go clear in the opening kilometres of the event.  Eventually though a group of five riders formed featuring yellow jersey wearer and stage winner at the New Zealand Cycle Classic Nick Reddish.  Also in the group were Drew Christensen, Noah Coster, Owen Owens, Noah Coster and Jacob Hannon.

Despite attempts from a few riders to get across the break resisted and built a lead of around 1.30mins.  At this point Alex Heaney and Ryan Christensen were content in the bunch after a couple of minor attempts to come across but that would change as the race progressed.  Eventually though their first significant attack saw the two riders gap the rest of the peloton by some 20 seconds before the bunch brought them back.  There was movement in the break at this point though with Noah dropping back, leaving a group of five riders out in front.

The chase group in action at the Hamilton Windscreens Hamilton Open, photo Geoffrey Dickinson/Hamilton City Cycling Club

What ensued proved to be a bit of a war of attrition between the chase – which was championed by Logan Griffin, Ryan Christensen and Alex Heaney – and the breakaway.  With 1 lap of the course remaining the gap had dropped to 1.20mins, but Nick Reddish was not content to leave anything to chance and his surge of pace saw him go up Te Miro for the final time in the lead.  Eventually though the chase group wore the break down and closed to within 30 seconds before the pace in the pack really began to tell.  8 riders remained in the group and it was from here that Reddish – the break’s last man standing – was finally caught and the winning move could go clear.

Three riders instigated the final move with Ryan Christensen and Alex Heaney joined briefly by Cameron Wynniatt.  Wynniatt dropped off quickly though and it was left to the two remaining riders to take on the final kilometres.  At 5km to go their gap had risen to a substantial minute and the victory was looking progressively more assured for one of the two.  But allegiances were put to bed with 2km remaining as Christensen made a bid for a long range victory; not wanting to rely on a sprint.  But Heaney closed him down and it all came down to the two-up sprint finish; with Heaney in the lead until Christensen got the jump on him.

However, Heaney had just enough left in the tank to wind up the sprint and come through to take the win ahead of Christensen, with Daniel Molyneux attacking the chase group to grab third place ahead of a resilient Nick Reddish.

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