Paul Wright and Ryan Christensen starred for New Zealand over on the Isle of Man at the Cycle 360 Manx International Stage Race. Wright walked away with third overall and the win in the best young rider classification, while Christensen was crowned KOM winner with a final day flurry.
Christensen claims KOM win on final stage
The Cycle 360 Manx International had been a solid one for the Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes team with Daniel Pearson and Max Stedman both finishing inside the top 10; 5th and 6th overall respectively. A stage win had been just elusive for the team, with Matthew Bostock finishing second to Ed Clancy in the opener before Pearson and Stedman finished 5th and 7th respectively on day 2. Bostock then finished 8th in the stage 3 bunch sprint, but it was stage 4’s finale where Christensen took centre stage with a big day in the breakaway.
Christensen formed part of an 8-man move that broke clear to establish themselves at the head of the peloton and stay clear for a good chunk of the stage with a maximum advantage of 3 minutes. Christensen took second place at the first of two intermediate sprints but it was his campaign to notch up KOM points that was his stand out moment.
Stage 2 saw Matthew Holmes of Madison Genesis notch up 3 points to lead the KOM classification, leaving everything to play for over 6 KOM climbs in the final day. Christensen’s intent was clear as he took first place over the first, third and fourth climbs of the day; along with second place over the second climb to notch up 11 points, which would prove an insurmountable lead.
Christensen took the win in the classification by 4 points from Peter Williams of Swift Carbon Pro Cycling with Holmes taking two more points on the final climb to finish third on 5 points. Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes also finished the tour second in the team classification, 2.20mins behind Team Wiggins Le Col.
Wright’s consistency secures two podium trips
Paul Wright’s campaign kick started in stage 2’s individual time trial. A very strong performance in the 6km hill climb saw Wright finish fourth, 8 seconds behind Matthew Holmes, with Mark Christian of Team Wiggins Le Col second and Swift Carbon Pro Cycling’s Edward Laverack third. That moved Wright up into third overall and into a 32 second lead in the best young rider classification with two stages to go.
After holding his ground in stage 3 to finish with the same time as winner Ed Clancy, the destination of the best young rider’s jersey and the final GC podium would be confirmed with a brutal 103.5km course that consisted of 15 laps of a 6.9km circuit.
After the Christensen group had been reined back in, a move from Matt Bostock of Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes and Rob Scott of Team Wiggins Le Col went clear and gained a 2 minute lead before being brought back. It was the following attack that would prove decisive, with Paul Wright ensuring that he was in the move that included Matthew Holmes, Daniel Pearson and Edward Laverack.
Over the course of the final kilometres all but Laverack, Wright and Holmes would drop back, with a chase group of eight riders – including three from Wiggins Le Col – trying to bridge the deficit. But Holmes, Laverack and Wright were too strong, with Holmes attacking with 3km to go to cross the finish line solo, 23 seconds clear of Laverack who edged Wright into third place.
The result secured the GC win for Holmes, 45 seconds ahead of Laverack with Wright finishing third overall. The Kiwi also claimed the best young rider classification, 1.07mins clear of Jacques Sauvagnargues of Team Wiggins Le Col.