Pip Sutton of Hamilton City Cycling Club has won the 2018 Bev May Women’s Tour. Sutton took the win ahead of Kerri-Anne Page and Deborah Paine.
This year’s Bev May Women’s Tour kicked off with a 42km trek around two laps of the Hangawera Road Circuit. The race began well for Amanda Jamieson of Cycling CHB, who took the sprint win out of the 19 riders in the A Grade race ahead of Olivia Ray of Auckland Centra Cycling Club and Kirsty McCallum of Ramblers Cycling Club. With all riders finishing together though and just 3 seconds in time bonuses for Jamieson everything was still very much to play for in the GC battle.
It was stage 2 where the race really started to take shape for the GC contenders; and where Pip Sutton really laid down the gauntlet that would eventually take her to the overall crown. Up ahead of the riders were 70km of racing around Tahuroa/Bell Road with the race finishing on Scott Road. A brave solo move from Sutton saw the former Criterium National Champion take the stage win and with it the overall leader’s jersey in impressive fashion. Sutton finished an impressive 2.14mins ahead of Courteney Lowe of Tauranga Cycling Club and Alicia Evans of Counties Manukau Cycling Club.
If Sutton’s lead was going to come under serious threat then that threat would be on stage 3 as the riders tackled the 70km Kiwitahi Circuit; which included a hill climb finish. For the first time in the race the field broke apart with Deborah Paine of Tauranga Cycling Club at the head of affairs. Paine took her stage win 7 seconds clear of Alicia Evans and 19 seconds clear of Kirsty McCallum. Sutton crossed the line having conceded 35 seconds, but with a still strong lead of 1.39mins the win was almost certain for Sutton with just 1 Criterium stage remaining.
Any thoughts that the final stage would result in a sprint finish were put to bed by two riders in the Criterium. Kerri-Anne Page of Ramblers Cycling Club and Laura Jorgensen of Tauranga Cycling Club broke clear and put significant time into the rest of the field over the 40 min+3 lap race. Page had the power to take the win ahead of Jorgensen, with Jorgensen suffering a mechanical mishap in the finale, with the two well clear of the chasers; led home by Karen Fulton of Tasman Wheelers.
9th place on the final stage was enough for Sutton to secure the general classification 1.34mins ahead of Page and 1.42mins clear of Paine. The sprint ace jersey went the way of Laura Jorgensen with Renee Wootton of North Harbour Cycling Club second and Olivia Ray third. The Queen of the Mountains jersey went to Courteney Lowe who took maximum points ahead of Deborah Paine and Alicia Evans.
Hannah Bayard of Te Awamutu Sports Cycling Club had a race to remember in the B Grade race at the Bev May Women’s. Bayard took two victories in stages 1 and 4 to start and end brilliantly, and take with it the Sprint Ace classification, but the GC honours would go elsewhere. Once again it would be stage 2 that would prove decisive for the GC battle, with Cycling CHB’s Laura Bickers taking the win after second in stage 1, this time in a close contest with Carol McCallum of Ramblers Cycling Club and Janice Hill of Kapiti Cycling Club second and third. Stage 3 saw Bickers once again at the sharp end of the race, but finishing behind Amelia Matthews of Counties Manukau Cycling Club who took the win.
Overall Laura Bickers emerged victorious 58 seconds clear of Janice Hill, with Amelia Matthews third at 1.00min. Bayard took the win in the Sprint Ace classification, while Queen of the Mountains points went to Matthews.
In C Grade Kristi Dorotich of Counties Manukau Cycling Club was dominant taking back-to-back stage wins in stages 1 and 2 to take the overall title. Georgia Taylor of Te Awamutu rose from 6th to 2nd overall with 2nd place in stage 2, while teammate Sandra Gatenby taking third in both stages and with it 3rd overall.
Eltje Malzbender of Te Awamutu Sports Cycling Club took the win in the Para Cycling Grade. Malzbender, riding in the trike grade crossed the line in the Hangawera Road Circuit race 1.42mins ahead of hand cyclist Perry Tiffney of Morrinsville Wheelers.
Bee Townsend led a Counties Manukau Cycling Club 1-2 in the U15 & U13 race, with two stage wins ahead of teammate Ella Morton who took second on both occasions. Ella McKinney of North Harbour Cycling Club was third in stage 1 and despite Far North Flash Cycling Club’s Crystal Wikaira taking third in stage 2, McKinney did enough to finish third overall. First U13 rider overall was Caoilinn Gray of Te Awamutu Sports Cycling Club with Millie Donald of Port Nicholson Poneke Cycling Club second and Sophia Hyland of Counties Manukau Cycling Club third.
The U17 classification saw the tightest battle for top honours out of the lot, however, with Ella Wyllie of Counties Manukau Cycling Club and Lucy Buckeridge of North Harbour Cycling Club separated by just a solitary second at the end of the race. Wyllie began strongly with a bunch sprint win in stage 1, before Maddi Douglas of Te Awamutu Sports Cycling Club stepped in to take the second stage ahead of Wyllie and Aimee Shaw. Stage 3 saw Lucy Buckeridge rally to take a strong stage win 12 seconds ahead of Wyllie, and her stage win in the final stage criterium ahead of Wyllie saw the GC go all the way to the wire, particularly with bonus seconds on offer. But Wyllie taking second place on the final stage was enough to secure an extremely narrow win ahead of Buckeridge with Douglas third. Lara Hopkinson of Counties Manukau Cycling Club took the Sprint Ace classification with Buckeridge taking out QOM honours.