Stefan Bissegger edges Shane Archbold to win stage 2 of the Grassroots Trust New Zealand Cycle Classic, part of Archbold's return to form and fitness, photo provided

A photo finish was required to determine the winner of stage two of the 2019 Grassroots Trust New Zealand Cycle Classic held on the outskirts of Cambridge today, following aggressive riding by the Swiss National Team; with Stefan Bissegger taking today’s stage honours.


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Gate continues EvoPro’s winning form with Cycle Classic stage 1 win


After making several solo attacks and leading off the front for the majority of the 129km stage, Swiss rider Cyrille Thiery left it to his U23 team mate Stefan Bissegger to take line honours by a whisker from EvoPro Racing’s Shane Archbold in a sprint finish that overlooked Lake Karapiro. Bissegger won the stage in 3hr 5min 16 secs, with Archbold in second and third place being awarded to Blake Quick (St George Continental).

James Oram was the first New Zealand National team member home in fifth place while EVO Pro’s Aaron Gate crossed the line in 10th – and retained the overall Tour’s yellow jersey. Thiery ended up crossing the line in 29th place but his aggressive riding earned him the Winger Suzuki Most Aggressive Rider Jersey and the Three Peaks Manuka Honey King of the Mountain Jersey while Bissegger also picked up the Foster Construction U23 Jersey and the BNZ Sprint jersey.

Race director Jorge Sandoval said the Swiss team’s performance was impressive and added to an exciting day of racing.  “Obviously the Swiss just dominated today and I congratulate them. The finish was very exciting especially for all the spectators to see a big bunch sprint like that,” said Sandoval.

After the day began on slightly wet roads, conditions following rain in the morning, it cleared to blues skies and a scorcher of an afternoon. From the get-go, the peloton was animated with several riders attacking off the front, but at 38km, what would become the main breakaway group, formed with six riders from the New Zealand National team, Japanese team KINAN, Oliver’s Real Food and Thiery. Working well together and taking turns to lead, the riders wound their way through rolling countryside and maintained a one minute lead on the peloton. After one rider dropped back, the breakaway of five extended their lead to 1min 38secs when crossing the Arapuni Dam bridge at the 100km mark; but after the final King of the Mountain stage they were absorbed back into the bunch.

With 10km to go Oliver’s Real Food, BridgeLane and EvoPro worked hard to organise themselves for the final leg before KINAN and the Kiwis drove out in front again with 3km to go. It came down to a fast and furious bunch sprint for the finish line with a photo finish required to determine the winner.

Overlooking the shores of Lake Karapiro afterwards, Thiery said it was never his plan to start the day going alone and he hoped a small breakaway would eventually join him. It was a strange tactic … but it ended up working. It also set up Bissenger to take the stage victory.

“For me it was pretty cool – there was always something going on – it was a bit hilly and during the sprint I was just searching for the line, searching for that great position to get over the line,” said Bissenger.

Gate, who won the opening stage yesterday, retained his yellow jersey after his team mates worked hard to control the breakaway – never letting it get out more than 1m 30 secs from the front of the bunch. Gate described the second stage as “hectic racing” but thanked his teammates for doing their job and is now looking ahead to the 152km stage three beginning and finishing in Te Awamutu tomorrow morning.


Stage results:

Pos. Rider Team Time
1 Stefan Bissegger Swiss National Team 3.05.16
2 Shane Archbold EvoPro Racing ST
3 Blake Quick St George Continental Cycling Team ST
4 Jay Vine Team Nero Bianchi ST
5 James Oram New Zealand National Team ST
6 Jensen Plowright Drapac Cannondale Holistic Development Team ST
7 Harrison Bailey GPM Stulz ST
8 Hayato Okamoto AISAN Racing Team ST
9 Cameron Ivory GPM Stulz ST
10 Aaron Gate EvoPro Racing ST
11 Kota Sumiyoshi AISAN Racing Team ST
12 Yasuharu Nakajimakin KINAN Cycling Team ST
13 Shotaro Watanabe AISAN Racing Team ST
14 Scott Bowden Team BridgeLane ST
15 Zack Gilmore Pro Racing Sunshine Coast ST
16 Theodore Yates Drapac Cannondale Holistic Development Team ST
17 Hayden McCormick Team BridgeLane ST
18 Daniel Busbridge Futuro Pro Cycling ST
19 Tobias Orchard Pro Racing Sunshine Coast ST
20 Michael Vink St George Continental Cycling Team ST
21 James Krzanich Mobile Communications Services ST
22 Liam Edwards AMR Renault Racing ST
23 Thomas Green GPM Stulz ST
24 Lukas Ruegg Swiss National Team ST
25 Mathew Zenovich St George Continental Cycling Team ST
26 Joel Walsh GPM Stulz ST
27 Ollie Jones Team Skoda Fruzio ST
28 William Green AMR Renault Racing ST
29 Cyrille Thiery Swiss National Team ST
30 Ethan Batt New Zealand National Team ST


For more results from stage 2 of the New Zealand Cycle Classic click here.


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