From left to right: Ryan Christensen, Luke Mudgway and Cyrus Monk on the podium after the Gravel and Tar Classic 2019, photo Ed Wright/RoadCycling.co.nz

Luke Mudgway has won the 2019 Gravel and Tar Classic.  EvoPro Racing came away with the dream start to their UCI campaign with a 1st and 3rd; as New Zealand’s Ryan Christensen took 2nd place with Mudgway’s teammate Cyrus Monk completing the top 3.

 

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The Gravel and Tar Classic got underway to warm 25C conditions.  With no defending champion Ethan Berends in attendance it would be very interesting to see who would step up to the plate.  Luke Mudgway of EvoPro was present and fresh from his win in the Hub Tour, as was last year’s second and third placed riders.

After an initial early attack the race came back together in what was a very fast opening sector or so.  With several riders aware that an early attack could well be a winning one it eventuated that no real move could properly go clear in the opening stages.  Eleven riders initially looked interested in making a move but with the pace so high with riders from GD Pringle/Spoken Cycles, the NZ Cycling Project, Team Skoda Fruzio, Tank Guy/Bike Box and the New Zealand National Team all pushing the tempo on the front nothing could really stick.  

Daniel Whitehouse, Cyrus Monk, Wouter Wippert, Shane Archbold and Luke Mudgway at the start prior to their successful Gravel and Tar campaign, photo Marion Wright/RoadCycling.co.nz

It took until the first gravel section of the race with 32km already in the legs for the race to begin to break up and a group of 17 riders begin to make their way off the front of the bunch.  Included in the group were Glenn Haden of Tank Guy/Bike Box, Luke Mudgway, Daniel Whitehouse and Cyrus Monk of EvoPro Racing, Logan Griffin of GD Pringle/Spoken Cycles, Ryan Christensen, Ben Hamilton and James Oram of the NZ National Team, Ben Oliver and Paul Wright of Team Skoda Fruzio, Cameron Ivory of GPM Stulz, Jay Vine of Nero Bianchi, as well as riders from Oliver’s Real Food and Futuro Pro Cycling.

The leading group gradually built a lead of 38 seconds over a chase group on the road that in turn had 16 seconds over the peloton.  At the head of the race the group got whittled down to 11 riders and they survived the second sector of gravel together but it was sector 3 that would take the riders onto Ridge Road that saw the real damage done.  62.5km into the race the riders hit sector 3 and it blew the race wide open.  EvoPro took the approach of the best form of defence being attack and proceeded to drill the group to the point where at the end of the sector with 52km of racing remaining only 5 riders remained. 

A small group of riders came across to the five leaders but it was just before sector 5 where the decisive moves would be made.  Glenn Haden – who’d been strong all day – broke free in the company of Ryan Christensen and Cyrus Monk and it was left to Mudgway and Oram to give chase; reestablishing a group of five at the head of the race.

The New Zealand National Team came away winners of the team GC, with James Oram and Ryan Christensen leading the charge with 4th and 2nd respectively, photo Ed Wright/RoadCycling.co.nz

It looked like the race was destined for a five-man sprint until Haden was dropped, leaving two NZ National Team vs two EvoPro riders.  From there Monk was fully committed to leading out Mudgway, with Mudgway’s fast finish easily making him the stand out to watch in the finale.  Mudgway made good his favourite status in the sprint, winning convincingly with Christensen holding off Monk to secure second place for the National Team and Monk taking third place ahead of Oram.

The win adds to Mudgway’s victory in last weekend’s Hub Tour and Aaron Gate’s win at the SRAM Tour de Ranges; a great start to the season for EvoPro Racing.

Results:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Time
1 Luke Mudgway NZL EvoPro Racing 3.23.31
2 Ryan Christensen NZL New Zealand +0.01
3 Cyrus Monk AUS EvoPro Racing +0.02
4 James Oram NZL New Zealand +0.03
5 Glen Haden NZL Tank Guy/Bike Box +0.47
6 Conor Murtagh AUS Oliver’s Real Food +1.02
7 Ben Oliver NZL Team Skoda-Fruzio +1.18
8 Cameron Ivory AUS GPM ST
9 Madi Hartley-Brown NZL Manawatu +1.38
10 Ben Hamilton NZL New Zealand +3.42
11 Jay Vine AUS Nero Bianchi +4.54
12 William Green NZL Tank Guy/Bike Box +5.11
13 Sam Bascombe AUS Nero Bianchi +7.42
14 Antony Nalder NZL Tank Guy/Bike Box +8.05
15 Logan Griffin NZL Spoken Cycles +8.07
16 Carter Bettles AUS Futuro Pro Cycling +8.17
17 Alex West NZL Team Skoda-Fruzio +8.27
18 Daniel Whitehouse GBR EvoPro Racing +11.44
19 Ethan Batt NZL New Zealand +12.06
20 Ioan Fuller NZL Tank Guy/Bike Box +12.07
21 Christopher Miller AUS Nero Bianchi ST
22 Ben Spenceley AUS AMR Renault +12.08
23 Dylan Simpson NZL Manawatu +12.11
24 Thomas Green AUS GPM ST
  Grayson Napier NZL NZ Cycling Project OTL
  Jordan Louis AUS Nero Bianchi OTL
  Christopher Williams AUS Futuro Pro Cycling OTL
  Matias Fitzwater NZL New Zealand OTL
  Alex Heaney NZL Spoken Cycles OTL
  Joel Walsh AUS GPM OTL
  Thomas Stannard NZL Manawatu OTL
  Wouter Wippert NED EvoPro Racing OTL
  Ollie Jones NZL Team Skoda-Fruzio OTL
  Theo Gilbertson NZL NZ Cycling Project OTL
  Kees Duyvesteyn NZL NZ Cycling Project OTL
  Joel Yates NZL Team Skoda-Fruzio OTL
  Sam Cook NZL Futuro Pro Cycling OTL
  Calvin Standrill NZL AMR Renault OTL
  Daniel Busbridge NZL Futuro Pro Cycling OTL
  Carne Groube NZL Manawatu OTL
  Shane Archbold NZL EvoPro Racing OTL
  Reuben Soares NZL Tank Guy/Bike Box OTL
  Harrison Bailey AUS GPM OTL
  Sam Gardner NZL Tank Guy/Bike Box OTL
  Burnie McGrath NZL New Zealand OTL
  Jake Marryatt NZL AMR Renault OTL
  Nick Miller NZL Futuro Pro Cycling OTL
  Luke McDermott NZL NZ Cycling Project OTL
  Callum Pearce AUS Oliver’s Real Food OTL
  Liam Cappel NZL Spoken Cycles OTL
  Campbell Jones AUS Oliver’s Real Food OTL
  James Harvey NZL Spoken Cycles OTL
  Samuel Hill AUS Nero Bianchi OTL
  Paul Wright NZL Team Skoda-Fruzio OTL
  Toby Fuller NZL AMR Renault DNF
  William Hodges AUS Oliver’s Real Food DNF
  Josh Kuysten NZL Spoken Cycles DNF
  Liam Edwards AUS AMR Renault DNF
  Fintan Conway AUS Oliver’s Real Food DNF
  Frank Sutton NZL Team Skoda-Fruzio DNF
  Rylee Field AUS Nero Bianchi DNF
  Cameron Layton AUS Futuro Pro Cycling DNF
  Alex Ray NZL Manawatu DNF
  Riley Fleming AUS GPM DNF
  Cameron Roberts AUS GPM DNF

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