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.
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.
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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Shane Archbold||NZL||EvoPro Racing||OTL|
|Reuben Soares||NZL||Tank Guy/Bike Box||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|