NZ Cycle Classic finale - Gunman retains Yellow as Avanti take the New Zealand Cycle Classic
Todays finale saw the remaining 68 riders undertake 164.2km stage including a double ascent of the Pahiatua Track. Conditions can only be described as average, with rain over night making roads slippery and the rain continued to fall throughout the day which continued to tests ability and ambition. Nine riders DNF’ed today after multiple crashes and a high speed race over rolling terrain. Budget Forklifts Joshua Prete won todays stage in an average speed of 39.1km/h over the 164.2km stage. Prete finished in a time of 4.11.45, one second up on James Oram.
Photo Credit: Jack McKenzie
Budget Forklifts came back to defend the Tour won by Michael Vink in 2014, but failed to meet this goal due to Avanti’s dominance throughout the Tour. Taking a Stage and having Daniel Barry in Yellow for a night is a bittersweet reward to take away from the New Zealand Cycle Classic. Avanti again showed the depth of their team rolling on the front of the peloton for most of the stage to bring the break back after it got out to just under seven minutes.
The Tour Leader going into the final stage was Taylor Gunman, and after another team effort the Yellow Jersey stays on his shoulders. “The Yellow Jersey is a representation of what the team set out to do, we showed we had strength on the road and the boys rode amazingly all week. We can be proud of what we have achieved, if it wasn’t for the team I wouldn’t be where I am now” reflects the 2015 New Zealand Cycle Classic champion Taylor Gunman of Avanti Racing Team.
The U23 White Jersey was again on the back of Dion Smith riding for the New Zealand National Squad, 3.57 clear of team mate James Oram in second.
Skody Downunder’s Rhys Gillet maintained his hold King of the Mountain category. Eight points clear of James Oram going second in another classification. James Oram again finished the New Zealand Cycle Classic with a couple of second places, but further down the GC than last years runner up to Michael Vink.
The Green Jersey for the Sprint Classification stayed with Data#3’s Craig Evers who held off team mate Scott Thomas by one point.
Next up is the only other UCI sanctioned race in New Zealand, The Rev at the end of February. Before riders hit into their domestics season in New Zealand or chase the endless summer racing in Europe.
Full results are available from http://www.cycletournz.com/stagefive
Article thanks to: Ashley Cassin