Saturday, January 28, 2012

NZ Cycle Classic – Stage Four

2012 NZCC stage 4-15

Stage four brought along sunshine which was a welcome sight after all the rain yesterday. Roll out time at a leisurely 11am with a relatively short stage of 110km ahead for the riders.

The race took in two laps of a circuit that included a hill climb and a relatively flat section which would be dominated by cross winds.

The race was relatively quiet until we reached the first sprint of the day which was won by Nick Lovegrove of Subway moving him into the virtual leader of the Sprint jersey classification.

First time up the climb and the race was all together, but this was not from lack of trying from different teams trying to get off the front. We knew that Joe was going to need to get some points in the two KOM climbs today in order to secure the jersey and he managed to win the sprint to the top of the climb to take the full points on offer which was great for his overall lead in this classification.

The main peleton reformed after the hill climb and continued to roll along with plenty of teams attacking to try and get a break working.

Just prior to the second sprint of the day Patrick Lane from Jayco managed to ride clear of the main bunch taking the full sprint points followed by two other riders who managed to bridge across and join him. These three went on to pick up the KOM points as well which worked in our favour as they weren’t a threat to the KOM classification (this break also worked in Nick Lovegrove’s favour as they also hadn’t featured in the sprint points and he would take the jersey at the end of the stage).

Once onto the flat section after the climb the bunch reeled the break back in and with 20km to go the race was all together. Over this last 20km there were a few guys that tried to get off the front, but it was clear that a bunch sprint was on the cards, which ended up being won by Drapac followed by Jay McCarthy of Jayco and Patrick Bevin in 3rd.

2012 NZCC stage 4-21

Another great day for Ricoh with all riders finishing in the main bunch except for Mitch who had another unlucky day with a puncture, Joe keeping the KOM jersey and a change in the overall classification with Jay McCarthy moving into the yellow jersey as well as continuing to hold the U23 jersey. Nick Lovegrove taking the Sprint Jersey from Patrick Bevin.

Tomorrow will be much of the same with another 110km stage (the same loop but in reverse) with another two KOM climbs and sprint’s on offer.

Will be interesting to see if a break manages to stay away or if it ends in another bunch sprint finish.

2012 NZCC stage 4-20

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