Ben Robertson shocked the field with a breakaway effort that took him all the way to the finish line, and thus to the win in round 2 of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series. In the women’s race Amanda Jamieson was just as impressive in her breakaway effort that carried her to the win.
Round two of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series, the Kiwi Style Bike Tours Timaru Classic, was raced in near perfect conditions on the tough Pleasant Point circuit on Saturday. The 148km elite men’s race featured a star studded line up including four time national road race champion Hayden Roulston (Mike Greer Homes Racing), current series leader Tom Hubbard (TotalPOS Solutions), 2015 series winner Sam Horgan (Mike Greer Homes Racing) and several other riders who compete on the international stage throughout Europe and Australia. Despite the big names on the start line, some riders saw this as an opportunity to take a gamble on a long range attack, hoping the big names would look at each other to do the chasing.
After 16km of racing Ben Robertson (Modus Construct) and Hefin Price (Mike Greer Homes Racing) initiated a break away that swelled to ten riders after the first of three laps. At the end of the second lap Robertson, Price and Jordon Gilmore (Central Benchmakers – Willbike) were the three surviving break away riders left at the head of the race, with a six minute advantage over the chasing peloton.
On the final lap Robertson was too strong for his break away companions, riding away to take an impressive solo win. An ecstatic Robertson crossed the line with a two minute lead, after what he described as a tough race. “Luck went my way today and I’m happy with the win. The team got good points all round, so everybody is pretty happy” he said. Price held on for second place, while the remainder of the break away riders were caught by the main peloton who finished over four minutes behind Robertson.
Tim Rush (Mike Greer Homes Racing) sprinted the bunch home for third place, taking over the series lead from Tom Hubbard. Mike Greer Homes Racing capped off a successful day by claiming the Under 23 series lead with Ben Johnstone. The Under 19 lead is held by Ethan Batt (PKF Cycling).
The women’s race saw an equally impressive break away move succeed. After her Black Magic Women Cycling team mates softened the bunch up with attacks in the first half of the race, Amanda Jamieson put in the winning move with 50km of the 109km race still remaining. “I counter-attacked and was left off the front for 50km solo” explained Jamieson. Her strong solo ride turned into a winning margin of almost three minutes. The win takes her into the overall series lead.
Jamieson’s team mate Mikayla Harvey took second place in a bunch sprint ahead of last years series winner Sharlotte Lucas (Benchmark Homes). Jeannie Kuhajek retains her lead in the over 35yr category.
Dave Rowlands (Christchurch Mitsubishi) again showed his dominance in the masters race, breaking away with Carlos Lara (Cycle World Red) with about 18km to race. The pair held onto a 30 second lead over the bunch, which was lead home by Justin Sims (Armitage Williams). The win sees Rowlands extend his lead in the 35-44yrs category.
Lee Johnstone (Champion System) gained maximum points in the 45-49yrs category to retain his lead. Blair Stuthridge (Protocol Mackleys) also produced a good sprint finish to maintain his lead in the 50+ years jersey.
The next round of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series is in Nelson on 20 August 2016.