Kirsty McCallum of Ramblers Cycling Club has won the 30th edition of the Bev May Women’s Tour.  McCallum took the overall title ahead of Courteney Lowe of Tauranga Cycling Club and Counties Manukau’s Jenna Merrick.

This year’s Harcourts Bev May Women’s Tour kicked off with the Hangawera Road Circuit; 42km in length for the A Grade and B Grade racers.  Over 30 riders lined up for the opener and it was a big bunch sprint that contested the race honours.  First place across the line went to Te Awamutu Sports Cycling’s Georgia Perry with Tauranga Cycling Club’s Courteney Lowe and USA Cycling’s Laura Jorgensen completing the top three.  Maddi Douglas of Te Awamutu Sports Cycling was the first U19 rider home ahead of Jenna Merrick and Stella Nightingale.  For Kirsty McCallum the race had begun steadily with a patient 8th place finish leaving her just 3 seconds away from Perry overall.

The general classification was shaped in stage 2, although it would be far from straightforward for McCallum whose stage win in the stage still left her with a narrow margin between her and her nearest rivals.  McCallum was in scintillating form from the off, taking maximum points at all 4 QOM sprints to stamp her authority over the classification.  With no points on offer in the final stage criterium the classification was wrapped up with McCallum taking the classification out with 25 points, Lee Boon of Cycling New Plymouth took second with 10 points, and Jenna Merrick of Counties Manukau Cycling third with 8 points.

Overall though the battle for general classification honours was still hot, with McCallum’s stage win ahead of Alicia Evans of Counties Manukau Cycling Club and Pip Sutton of Hamilton City Cycling Club seeing the trio occupy the top three overall with just 2 seconds separating all of them.  Deborah Paine moved into fourth place ahead of Merrick and Lowe with Emma Jeffcoat slotting into seventh.

Keeping the pressure on in the second day of racing, Courteney Lowe stepped up to take the first of two consecutive stage wins and close the gap to McCallum.  Starting the day 6 seconds adrift of the new race leader, Lowe crossed the line first after 80km of racing with the field strung out behind her.  Finishing a second ahead of McCallum and Merrick; with Jorja Swain fourth ahead of Deborah Paine, Lowe moved to within 4 seconds of McCallum on the back of an extra bonus second picked up at the line.

Everything would be finally decided in stage 4, a 40 minute plus 3 lap criterium around a 1.2km course outside of Morrinsville Intermediate School.  Lowe was again in fine form, taking the stage win, but McCallum rode well defensively to come home second and only concede the 1 bonus second to her rival.  Katie Richards of Kapiti Cycling Club took third place across the line.

Overall the yellow jersey remained on McCallum’s shoulders with Lowe 2nd by just 3 seconds and Jenna Merrick 4th at 6 seconds.  Alicia Evans and Deborah Paine completed the top 5, with Jorja Swain the first U19 rider, 6th overall.  The Sprint Ace classification went to Laura Jorgensen of USA Cycling, who kept her points tally up through each of the four stages to win the classification ahead of Kerri-Anne Page and Natalie Van Coevorden.

Victory in stage 3 for Brittany Warly of Stratford Cycling Club set her up for victory in the B Grade race.  Warly got the better of stage 1 winner Carol McCallum of Ramblers Cycling Club, with stage 2 winner Erin Wolland of Cycling CHB taking third overall.  Kristi Dorotich of Counties Manukau won stage 4 of the race and also took out the Sprint Ace classification, while Wolland’s second overall also saw her come away with the win in the QOM classification.

The U17 classification was a triumph for Lucy Buckeridge of North Harbour Cycling Club; who won the race outright 1.49mins ahead of Alexandra Galvin of Counties Manukau and Queenie McElwee of Epsom Girls Grammar School.  After finishing second to Jorja Clouth in stage 1, Buckeridge went on a stage-winning rampage, taking fine solo wins in stages 2 and 4; while still finishing 5 seconds clear in stage 3.  Emma Hannan of Counties Manukau took out the Sprint Ace classification, while Buckeridge rode away with the Princess of the Mountains classification.

The C Grade classification went the way of Fiona Carswell, whose back-to-back stage wins saw her claim the title ahead of Rachel Bartells of Taupo Cycling Club and Sandra Gatenby of Te Awamutu Sports Cycling Club.  In the Para Cycling classification Tiffiney Perry of Morrinsville Wheelers took the win over the 2 stages after first winning the the opener 2.05mins ahead of Eltje Malzbender.

Finally in the U15 and U13 classification it was Ruby Spring of St Kentigern College who took two stage wins out of two, claiming the overall title by 2 seconds from Seana Gray of Te Awamutu Sports Cycling and Emma Blackmore of Counties Manukau.  First U13 rider was Te Awamutu’s Caoilinn Gray, who took the win ahead of Far North Flash Kaitaia’s Geraldene Leef and Millie Donald.

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