Tom Sexton of Team Central Roofing Revolution Cycling has won the opening round of the Grassroots Trust Team Championship in Cambridge.  The track World Championship medallist claimed the first round win after Coupland Bakeries narrowly won the team time trial.

Close battles light up opening team time trial

Great weather and light winds greeted the field for the first round of the 2019-2020 Grassroots Trust Team Championship in Cambridge.  Getting matters underway across the seven categories was a 25km team time trial before the road race in the afternoon.  The race against the clock was a lumpy affair, starting and finishing around Leamington School with a short climb of 13% to put the hurt on inside the final 5km.  

In category 1 a very close battle emerged between the Coupland Bakeries team of Josh Page, Nick Kergozou, Tom McCallum, Glenn Haden, Madi Hartley-Brown and Mark Langlands; and the GD Pringle Building/Spoken Cycles crew of defending series champion Alex Heaney, James Harvey, Xander White, Michael Torckler, Jack Edwards and Alex Bardoul.  These two teams were head and shoulders clear of the rest of the field, with Team Skoda-Fruzio sitting third overall 1.08mins behind the winning time.  Ultimately it was Coupland Bakeries who narrowly claimed the win with just 3 seconds separating first from second.

Time gaps were a little wider in the category 2 race with Burnsco BSR taking top spot by 58 seconds ahead of Waipa Plumbing and Gas/Spoken Cycles; with Velolab Valley Toyota Images Glass a further 20 seconds back in third.

Another tense battle emerged in category 3 as CRM went head-to-head against Podium Lodge/Spoken Cycles.  The Podium Lodge/Spoken Cycles team of Matthew Davis, Daniel Barnett, Grant Tuffery, Blake Bailey, Georgia Perry and Mike Gascoigne were similarly just out done in the finale, taking second place by just 5 seconds from CRM’s Jan Lichtwark, Dan Martin, Michael Leaf, Stacey Pask, Andrew Lloyd and Ryan Thompson.

Category 4 saw Signature Homes Racing claim a 10 second win against the clock ahead of Troy Restieaux Real Estate, with 6 seconds back to third place occupied by BDO Auckland.  McKenzie and Co/E.G Whiter claimed the category 5 top spot by 20 seconds from Burnsco Gold, with O’Hagan Sport third.

In the elite women’s race Velo Project were on top of their game with Maddi Douglas, Lucy Bukeridge, Elyse Fraser, Kirsty McCallum, Bethan Stubbs, Ally Wollaston and Holly Edmondston fastest on the course while Castelli Womens Racing and Grassroots Trust Performance Hub were almost inseparable, both finishing 19 seconds behind; but it was Castelli Womens Racing who marginally took second place.  Credit also to Tank Guy/BikeBox who stopped the clock just 5 seconds shy of the top five themselves.

Finally Team Body Performance Clinic took the win in the open women’s team time trial, with a handy 1.44min buffer to HIREACE, who in turn finished 18 seconds ahead of Super TOOT.

High intensity sees track stars emerge supreme

The afternoon saw attacking racing early on for the category 1 race that took in a 63.9km course.  The first section saw one and three-quarter laps tackled for the first 45km or so before heading out on a final loop south and then back up to Leamington once again.

Once the flag had been pulled in racing got underway with plenty of breakaway interest.  Team Skoda Fruzio were clearly putting their hands up for a breakaway opportunity but with the average speed hitting 50+kph it was difficult for anything to establish itself properly at the head of the race.  At 29km covered the race was still together but strung out and waiting for something to give as they began their second lap.  

Something eventually did begin to give as a group of seven riders gained a narrow lead over the still fast-paced bunch.  After 36km their lead was at 17 seconds but steadily both the break and bunch began to fragment until finally a new 14-man move established at the front of the race with just 11km to go in the move were Campbell Stewart of Dynamo Events, James Harvey, Alex Heaney and Michael Torckler of GD Pringle Building/Spoken Cycles, Laurence Pithie of Team Skoda Fruzio, Coupland Bakeries’ Madi Hartley-Brown, Glenn Haden and Josh Page, Greig McDonnell and Logan Griffin of Cabjaks-Castelli, Regan Gough of CNZ Development, Camden Feint for Next GEN Racing-iRide, Harry Waine of Crown-Global Security and Tom Sexton of Team Central Roofing Revolution Cycling.  

Looking make good use of their numbers advantage, Michael Torckler went on the attack with 4km remaining, forcing Coupland Bakeries to chase.  In the end it would all come back together ready for a sprint that saw Sexton get the better of track teammates Kergozou and Gough to take the opening round win.  Haden took fourth place and Pithie fifth, with Michael Torckler leading home Logan Griffin and James Harvey; with Harry Waine and Camden Feint completing the top ten.

Category 2 saw another bunch sprint with Dan Cross of Pink Moose Cycling emerging victorious with a narrow win ahead of Paul Bishop of Burnsco BSR and Ethan Craine of Tank Guy/Bikebox.  In the sprint for the line almost the entire peloton arrived together out of the 61 riders who took the start.

Scott McDonald of Tauranga Cycling Club took the win in cat 3 ahead of Jan Lichtwark of CRM; with the duo finishing a few seconds clear of O’Neill Sinclair of Osmo Hydration who led home the bunch.

Bunch sprints continued to be the order of the day in cat 4 as Shane Pointon of Signature Homes Racing took top honours ahead of BDO Auckland’s Andrew McKay and Pointon’s teammate Greg Dattner; with Craig Connell of BDO Auckland and world championship track medallist Michaela Drummond of TMR completing the top five.  

In cat 5 Kieran Benade of Burnsco Gold claimed the win ahead of Nathan Livingston of O’Hagan Sport and Olano Scarlett of McKenzie and Co/ E.G Whiter.  In the elite women’s race Georgia Danford claimed the bunch sprint for Castelli Womens Racing ahead of Maddi Douglas of Velo Project and Nichole Shields of Tank Guy/Bikebox.  Finally Ruby Spring of HIREACE claimed top honours in the open women’s race with her sprint carrying her to victory ahead of Aimee Shaw of CNZ Development and Bee Townsend of HIREACE.

Round 2 of the Team Championship will see the various categories tackle a tough Tokoroa course on 13th October.  For more information about round 2 click here.

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