Australian U23 rider Kelland O’Brien won tonight’s 35km promotional criterium which was part of a festive evening and the official opening for the 2018 New Zealand Cycle Classic held in Masterton, Wairarapa, New Zealand.
O’Brien, racing for the Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast Australia – took line honours in the event held in hot and sunny conditions, while JLT Condor’s Thomas Stewart came home second and Bennelong SwissWelness Cycling Team’s Jason Lea third. Fourth place went to New Zealand National Team rider Hayden McCormick while Kampers’ teammate Michael Potter came home in fifth place after also claiming a stage sprint. The first stage sprint went to SwissWellness rider Anthony Giacoppo.
The promotional criterium was part of a festive evening held at Mitre 10 Mega Masterton that saw all teams officially welcomed to the Wairarapa by Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson. During the evening a Maori welcome was performed by the Wairere Kapa Haka Group and a freestyle BMX display also took place as part of the Huri Huri bike festival. Crowds were wowed by high aerials and trick maneuverers performed by members of the Freestyle Lifestyle BMX team made up of some of New Zealand’s top riders.
The 31st New Zealand Cycle Classic begins in Masterton tomorrow morning with a 122.5km stage taking the field of over 100 riders representing seven nationalities towards Eketahuna and back. It concludes five days later on Sunday, with a fast and furious 120km circuit race (riders complete 12 laps of a 10km circuit just on the outskirts of Masterton.