Dunedin is proving a happy hunting ground for Commonwealth Games bound cyclist Kate McIIroy who made it two winning years in a row in the Armstrong Prestige Dunedin Classic yesterday.
Riding for the new Lightworkx Photography team McIIroy, who turned her back on the international triathlon circuit two years ago to join the Specialized Women’s Racing team in Australia, had her first one day race win as an elite cyclist in Dunedin’s round of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series last year, and won again with similar tactics to win in three hours and four minutes after 109 kilometres of racing.
Her Commonwealth Games team mate Sharlotte Lucas (Velo Project) outsprinted Ella Harris from the Mike Greer Homes team to finish second, just under a minute behind McIIroy while last year’s Calder Stewart Cycling Series women’s champion Mikayla Harvey (Mike Greer Homes) was ninth, five minutes off the winning pace.
“I was really happy to finish off my team mates’ hard work who protected me all day to the bottom of the hill,” McIIroy said. “They put me in the best possible position to start the climb so really it was about doing my part and giving back to the team.”
McIIroy enjoyed riding for the new Lightworkx photography women’s team that features some talented under 16 riders. “I hope the result gives them the motivation to train hard and smart and I look forward to being part of this.”
“Racing with three riders supporting me was an exceptionally hard thing to do, but we followed the team plan, and to see the way they all rode was impressive to say the least.”
“I was surprised with the legs that I had. It’s one of the hardest climbs I have raced but it’s the type of climb that I love. It’s not easy to win bike races so I’m really proud of today’s result and the way we rode as a team that was a critical to my win.”
Although having won stages in Tour events of Australia’s National Road Series, Saturday was just McIIroy’s second ever one day race win. The women’s leaders jersey will change hands in the next round in Hokitika on the South Island’s West Coast as McIIroy, who will be at her third Commonwealth Games in her third sport, will be racing with Lucas in the road race.
Riding as an individual Rachel Thow, who finished tenth in three hours and nine minutes, was the first over 35 female home so will defend that jersey in the next round while Annamarie Lipp (Velo Project) was the first Under 19 rider home finishing fifth two minutes ahead of Thow.
Photo: Rachel Harris