Timothy Roe has won the first stage of the New Zealand Cycle Classic.  The IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness rider attacked with a couple of kilometres remaining to secure the win and the first leader’s jersey of the 30th anniversary of New Zealand’s only UCI race.

 

Stage 1 of the New Zealand Cycle Classic took the field of 100 riders 121km from Masterton to Castlepoint.  The king of the mountain points came at the 24km and 108.5km marks but there were a handful of other short ascents that would hurt the legs; including the final ramp up before the short and swift descent into Castlepoint itself.  The weather at the start was bleak with rain and winds picking up at the start of the day.

The attacks flew from the drop of the flag as the riders raced out of Masterton.  Dylan Newberry of Mobius Future Racing and Paul Duynhoven of Team Wizwireless were the instigators of the first move, attacking very early on and drawing out a group that contained Tim Roe and Sean Lake of IsoWhey Sports-Swiss Wellness, Robert McCarthy of JLT-Condor, Muhamad Izzat Halal of Team Sapura, Scott Ambrose of Team Novo Nordisk, Hayden McCormick of the New Zealand National Team and Ethan Berends of Mobius Future Racing.

Behind them the pace was hot as the peloton were in no mood to mess about.  Sadly though that resulted in a crash that brought down both Hamish Bond and Joshua Aldridge of Blindz Direct.  The two were able to remount and continue on, but the injuries sustained to Bond in particular were of concern, with the double Olympic rowing champion having to get a spare bike and wince through pain in his shoulder.

However, after 18km the race was back together in what would develop into a persistent day of attack after attack, shuffle after reshuffle at the head of the race.  Heading to the first KOM after 24km it was Robert McCarthy who took first place over the line.  A new group formed after the KOM that included Dylan Newberry, Neil van der Ploeg and Joseph Cooper of IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness, Jonathan Mould of JLT-Condor, Matt Zenovich of MSC Team and the New Zealand National Team duo of Hamish Schreurs and James Oram.  Also in the group were Mould’s teammate Alex Frame and Cobra9 Interbuild Racing’s Jordan Kerby.

But that move also would prove futile as groups came and went.  One of the big factors throughout the day was the wind, creating numerous echelons that at one point were detached and then at the next were coming back together again.  Finally with 90km covered four riders moved to the head of the race, with van der Ploeg, Jordan Kerby, Callum Gordon and Jonathan Mould.  They gained a lead over the peloton of 1.07mins, with James Oram and Matt Zenovich now in pursuit between the two groups.  They managed to catch the quartet and it looked like they would contest the finish.

But a late move by Tim Roe put paid to that.  With 2km remaining there was a final short but steep climb to tackle.  Roe used that as his point to attack and first bridge to the group and then attack them.  It would prove an attack that this time would have no response as Roe raced away to the stage win.  Behind him Alex Frame overcame Brad Evans in the sprint for second.

 

Competitors approach the finish line in wet and windy conditions during the NZ Cycle Classic stage one, Photo: Hagen Hopkins / lintottphoto.co.nz

 

Afterwards Roe reflected on the day’s racing.  “It was really tough, it was hard racing . . . every team was attacking,” Roe said.  “I can’t remember the last time I rode in conditions like that  . . . it was hard core.”

Race director Jorge Sandoval was pleased with the first stage of the five day race – the course route a new addition as part of the 30th anniversary of the NZ Cycle Tour.

“I’ve had great feedback from the riders about the course. It was challenging especially with the cross winds and we were all really looking forward to the finish but that front just blew through and brought with it pouring rain and fierce winds … it was so dramatic, “he said. “The weather bomb came late to Castlepoint.”

Tim Roe heads into stage two in the yellow jersey, while Jonathan Mould won the award for the most aggressive rider.  In the U23 classification Scott Ambrose has the lead ahead of Alex West and Logan Griffin, while Callum Gordon, Robert McCarthy and Michael Torckler are all tied on points in the King of the Mountains battle; with Gordon enjoying the privilege of wearing the leader’s jersey tomorrow.  The sprint classification is led by McCarthy while IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness are 5 seconds ahead of JLT-Condor in the team classification.

Stage two of the tour will begin from the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park in Masterton tomorrow morning at 10am. This challenging 147km stage will see riders travel from Masterton towards Riversdale via the Masterton – Castlepoint Rd before riding through Wainuioru via the Limeworks and Te Wharau Hill then finishing atop Admiral Hill in Gladstone.

 

Stage results:
Pos. Rider Team Time

1

Timothy Roe IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness 2.57.21

2

Alex Frame JLT-Condor +0.05

3

Brad Evans New Zealand National Team ST

4

Jonathan Mould JLT-Condor ST

5

Neil van der Ploeg IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness ST

6

Steve Lampier JLT-Condor ST

7

Joseph Cooper IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness ST

8

Scott Ambrose Team Novo Nordisk ST

9

Hayden McCormick New Zealand National Team ST

10

Michael Torckler Blindz Direct ST

11

Sean Lake IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness ST

12

Alex West Team Skoda Racing ST

13

Logan Griffin Oliver’s Real Food Racing +0.11

14

Ollie Jones Fagan Motors ST

15

James Oram New Zealand National Team ST

16

Jake Marryatt Fagan Motors ST

17

Ryan Thomas Oliver’s Real Food Racing +0.19

18

Jordan Kerby Cobra9 Interbuild Racing +0.27

19

Sam Crome IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness +0.28

20

James Fouche Mobiles Future Racing +0.43

21

Hamish Bond Blindz Direct ST

22

Ryan Christensen Team Figros Snep ST

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