A brave solo effort up Admiral Hill in the Wairarapa by Team BridgeLane’s Rylee Field saw him win stage four of the New Zealand Cycle Classic today and claim the yellow jersey from his teammate Jenson Plowright.

After a day of fast and furious racing through the Wairarapa’s rural, hilly countryside that included two major breakaways – it was Field’s stunning powerful effort over the last 15km that got spectators cheering.

“I put my head down and just went for it,” said the 25-year-old from north-west Sydney, Australia.

Field won the 178.6km stage – the longest in the Tour’s history – in 4hrs 31mins 03secs while his teammate Kees Duyvesteyn crossed the finish line 53 seconds later in second with Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy’s Aaron Gate third with the same time. French rider Thomas Lebas was fourth while New Zealand National Team’s Corbin Strong was fifth and Gate’s teammate and 2018 New Zealand Cycle Classic winner Hayden McCormick sixth.

Despite the cool, drizzly conditions at the top of Admiral Hill there was no denying the warmth and excitment for Team Bridgelane with Duyvesteyn and Field whooping and hollering each other and then waiting for teammates Ben Metcalfe, Ayden Toovey and Plowright to cross the line. Field praised Plowright’s aggressive riding in the peloton for much of the day.

“We worked for him yesterday. He worked for us today. It’s a really good feeling to be in a team where everyone can put it on the line for each other,” said Field. “He worked so hard today. He rode the front (of the peloton) from the start after the breaks had gone until the second climb. He did an outstanding job, incredible in fact.”

Black Spoke’s Gate said it was a hard day on the bike and he praised Field for his solo effort.

“(It was) very hard. It’s the most my legs have hurt for quite a while,” said Gate. “It’s been a few years since I’ve climbed Admiral Hill and when I saw the 5km to go sign, I thought oh oh … this isn’t good but I had that bit of respite and lull in the climb with 4km to go. I was just trying to pull back that lone rider out there but I didn’t quite get there, so hats off to him because he was out there for a while and it was a hard day to pull that off and the fact he still beat everyone in the climb was bloody impressive.”

While the final part of the stage ended in a solo effort, the first part of the stage was punctuated with two main breakaways. The first came around 36km when six riders had a 55 second lead over the peloton and the second came at 60km when five riders including local Mark Langlands, James Harvey, George Jackson, Keegan Hornblow and Dylan Kennett formed and remained together until over 100km. At one point they had well over five minutes lead on the peloton being driven forward by Black Spoke and BridgeLane.

The New Zealand Cycle Classic concludes tomorrow with a 120km stage around Masterton. 

Results:


Stage Winners:
1. Rylee Field from Sydney, Australia (Team Bridgelane)
2. Kees Duyvesteyn (Team Bridgelane)
3. Aaron Gate (Black Spoke)

Classification Results
Trust House Individual General Classification Jersey:
Rylee Field (BridgeLane)

WIZ Wireless Sprints Classification Jersey:
Jensen Plowright (BridgeLane)

Mitre 10 Mega Masterton King of the Mountain Classification Jersey:
Finn Fisher-Black (New Zealand National team) 

Fagan Motors Under-23 Classificiation Jersey:
Corbin Strong (New Zealand National team)

Mobile Communications Service (MCS) Most Aggressive Rider Jersey:
Rylee Field (BridgeLane)

Photo: Dave Lintott

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