NZ Cycle Classic stg3 - Gough wins stage 3 Mudgway retains Yellow
An early breakaway paid dividend for New Zealand National team’s Regan Gough today when he was rewarded with a stage three victory in the UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic held in hot conditions in Wairarapa.
Gough won the 127km stage in 2hr 49min 45secs while Kiwi Velo’s Hayden McCormick finished second and Coupland’s Bakeries/Booth’s Transport Group Glenn Haden, third. The trio had formed a breakaway approximately 32km into the stage and worked together taking turns to extend their lead over the peloton as they headed south from Masterton through the rolling, rural hills of Gladstone towards the wine village of Martinborough.
Heading into the first of eight laps around the vineyards and through the town Square, lined with spectators, the trio had a 2min 45secs lead over the peloton. Over the coming laps, this time was reduced as riders from Cycling Project, Black Spoke and Cabjaks Castelli drove the peloton forward – eventually closing the gap to one minute. But Gough, McCormick and Haden, buoyed on by a large crowd in the Martinborough Square, dug deep and held on for the stage victory. Race director Jorge Sandoval said it was the first time in this stage’s history that the peloton had not caught the breakaway and congratulated the trio for their tenacity.
Gough was thrilled. It was his second stage win this tour, after he helped his NZ National team win the teams’ time trial earlier in the week.
“It’s the first time in history I’ve done this stage and I wasn’t too sure of its reputation, but we got away in a strong cohesive group and we just rolled and rolled and rolled. We sat back a bit early on, then tried to wind it home which actually paid off,” he said.
“I’m a little bit down on GC, so that was probably a reason a couple of us were let go … it was cool. It was good to save our boys legs for tomorrow for Admiral hill. It is a target for a number of them and not so much for me, so (I was) just sharing the load.”
McCormick, who won the NZ Cycle Classic in 2018, was surprised the breakaway stuck.
“It’s funny because last night I said there’s no point going into a breakaway in this stage because you always get caught but it was just the right combination of guys. Regan and Glenn were super strong, and it just ended out, that we stayed away.”
He also admitted the podium placing was bittersweet as he has a wedding to attend tomorrow meaning he is unable to finish the NZ Cycle Classic. But he said it will be a good, motivating opportunity for his teammates.
“Kiwi Velo has a young team, so hopefully they can learn a lot this week and have a good climb tomorrow.”
After crossing the line in 16th place, Black Spoke’s Luke Mudgway did enough to maintain the yellow jersey heading into tomorrow’s challenging 127km stage – known as the Queen’s stage. This includes a hilltop finish on Admiral Hill in Gladstone with Sandoval believing whoever wins this stage is most likely going to be the overall tour winner.
“A lot of riders are going to be very hard to beat tomorrow and I will try and do my job up that climb, but we’ve got a crew of guys who can light it up if need be,” said Mudgway.
The NZ Cycle Classic concludes in Wellington on Sunday with a city circuit race around Lambton Quay. Riders will race for one hour plus three laps.
Earlier in the day a fun new community event called Cycle the Golden Mile will be staged on the same circuit and includes children’s races and a celebrity circuit featuring Wellington Deputy Mayor Sarah Free, former Wellington Mayor Celia Wade Brown, National List MP Chris Bishop, Carterton Mayor Greg Lang, Hurricanes mascot Captain Hurricane and Greg O’Connor, Labour MP for Member for Ōhāriu and chairperson of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee. They will line up at 10.30am and be joined by and other Wellington sporting mascots Leo and Flossie.
The 2020 NZ Cycle Classic can take place thanks to the generous support from Trust House, Wellington City Council, Mobile Communications Service, Wizwireless, Fagan Motors, Mitre 10 Mega Masterton, Cross Country Rentals, Tineli and Lion Foundation plus all three Wairarapa District Councils.
UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic Stage Three placings.
1. Regan Gough, NZ National team
2. Hayden McCormick, Kiwi Velo
3. Glenn Haden, Coupland’s Bakeries/Booth’s Group Team
Trust House Yellow Jersey: Luke Mudgway, Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy
Fagan Motors Under 23 Jersey: Corbin Strong, NZ National team
WIZWireless Sprints Classification Jersey: Regan Gough, NZ National team
Mobile Communication Service Most Aggressive Rider Jersey: Glenn Haden, Coupland’s Bakeries/Booth’s Group Team
Mitre 10 MEGA King of the Mountains Jersey: Luke Mudgway, Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy