The New Zealand team worked hard without reward on another testing day of wet conditions and strong winds on the roads around Yorkshire for the junior women and under-23 men at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire.
The Vantage New Zealand junior women’s pairing on Ella Wyllie and Stella Nightingale were in the peloton for much of the day in the 86km race from Doncaster until 20kms remaining when the move came off the front, while a crash slowed progress in the pack.
A 20-strong group cleared away with a breakaway caught in the final 3kms as American favourite Megan Jastrab out-sprinted the bunch for victory.
Wyllie and Nightingale rode strongly in the second group to finish just over one minute back in 31st and 38th placings respectively.
It has proven an impressive first road world championships for the pair, with Wyllie in particular backing up from her excellent time trial with her effort in the road race. The Auckland pair are both part of the Barfoot & Thompson Performance Hub development programme.
The under-23 men’s race, over 187kms from Doncaster and including the challenging Greenhow Hill, proved a brute with set conditions and blustery winds with a high number of punctures and crashes along the way.
Paul Wright, 21, was the best of the Vantage New Zealand team, finishing in the third pack, 12 minutes down on the winner in 85th place. The former mountain biker, part of the Skoda-Fruzio team, has enjoyed some excellent results in Europe this year.
Both national champion James Fouche, the current Mitchelton-Scott trainee, and Marlborough’s Ethan Batt were caught in the carnage further back in the 160-strong field, both among the 55 riders that did not finish.
The race finished in some controversy with the Dutch rider Nils Eekhoff, first across the line, disqualified, with the title going to Italian Samuele Barristella and local Yorkshire rider Thomas Pidcock elevated on to the podium.
Tomorrow will see young New Zealand rising professionals Ella Harris (Canyon-SRAM) and Mikayla Harvey (Bigla Pro Cycling) among the 152-strong field for the elite women’s road race over 149kms from Bradford to Harrogate.
Results, Junior women, 86km: Megan Jastrab (USA) Julie de Wilde (BEL) same time, 2; Lieke Nooijen (NED) same time, 3. Also NZers: Ella Wylie at 1:07, 32; Stella Nightingale at 1:17, 39.
Under-23 men, 187km: Samuele Battistella (ITA) 3:53:52, 1, Stefan Bissegger (SUI) same time, 2; Thomas Pidcock (GBR) same time, 3. Also NZers: Paul Wright 4:06:34, 85; James Fouche and Ethan Batt dnf