Timaru rider Shane Archbold (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team) scored his team’s second win of this year’s Benchmark Homes Tour when he won Round Five of the eight-round series in Tasman on Sunday. The 19 year-old survived best from an 11-man escape group to outsprint 2006 series winner Robin Reid (Star & Garter – Tasman) at the end of the 130km NZCT Woollaston Estates Classic.
The day cleared from heavy overnight rain and strong winds to greet the starters with near perfect conditions on the 16.2km undulating circuit starting at Woollaston Estates in Mahana. The first lap saw Benchmark Homes Cycling Team duo Daniel Barry and Leon Hextall, Edwin Crossling (Delmaine Cycling Team), and Archbold ride clear. The quartet were joined on the second lap by Jason Allen and Sam Horgan (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team), Brett Dawber (Bikeright Cycling Team), Joe Chapman (Delmaine Cycling Team), Craig Lawn (Scott – Penny Sport Cycles), Jack Bauer (Star & Garter – Tasman), and Reid.
With the major teams represented up front, the leaders worked well together to ensure the escape would succeed to lead the peloton by one minute 10 seconds at the end of the third lap. Favourites Gordon McCauley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) and Jeremy Yates (Subway Cycling Team) were prominent in the peloton, however any attempts to form a chasing group was quickly shut down by the main field which was the pattern for the remainder of the race.
At the half-way point 2mins 40secs was the gap to a seven-rider chase whilst the main field containing the leading women Nimesha Smith (Bikeright Cycling Team) and Karen Fulton (Star & Garter – Tasman) was at 3mins 20secs.
Several attacks were thrown up front to break the lead group, however nothing stuck. The peloton having recaptured the chasers continued to fall further behind to trail the leaders by 3mins 30secs on lap five, 3mins 51 on lap six, and 4mins with one lap to go.
As the bell sounded for the breakaway, Reid applied pressure to go clear in front of parochial home-supporters. His effort was nullified but set the tone for the final lap as various attacks ripped the leading group apart. The undulations were taking its toll and the result would reward those who had put in the winter miles. And so it proved as Archbold and Reid rode clear to sprint side-by-side up the finishing incline where the younger of the two sprinted best to win his first ever round of the series. Barry headed home team-mate Horgan for the final podium position.
As the remainder of the break came in one at a time, host club rider Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter – Tasman) cleared from the fragmented peloton to take tenth place and narrowly retain his lead in the Masters classification.
Smith and Fulton continued their fight right to the line for the women’s sky-blue leader jersey where Fulton narrowly held off Smith. However the commissaries relegated Fulton from the top spot after an infraction over the earlier rounds of the race. Smith’s win increased her slender lead over Fulton with three rounds remaining.
McCauley finished outside the points however still retained his lead in the series as team-mate Horgan took over the Under 23 classification lead. Their orange-clad team now leads the Team’s classification.
On a sad note was the passing away of cycling stalwart Bruce Dawe’s mother shortly after the event. Bruce and his wife Amy continued to officiate at the event despite Mrs Dawe’s deteriorating condition prior to Sunday’s event. On behalf of all Benchmark Homes Tour officials, riders, and supporters, I wish to pass on condolences to Bruce and Amy. Bruce and Amy play a very important part in the series whom the series’ winner’s trophy is named after.
Round Six of the tour will be held at Ladbrooks in the Selwyn District, Canterbury on Sunday August 24th. The Revolution Properties Open will contain nine sections of unsealed roads totaling 13.5km of the 152km event.
Shane Archbold (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team/U23) 130km in 3hrs 19mins 31secs
Robin Reid (Star & Garter – Tasman) same time
Daniel Barry (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team/U23) at 13secs
Sam Horgan (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team/U23) at 15secs
Brett Dawber (Bikeright Cycling Team) at 19secs
Leon Hextall (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team/U23) at 25secs
Craig Lawn (Scott – Penny Sport Cycles/Master) at 37secs
Jack Bauer (Star & Garter – Tasman) at 1min 27secs
Edwin Crossling (Delmaine Cycling Team) at 2mins 18secs
Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter – Tasman/Master) at 4mins 45secs
George Bennett (Star & Garter – Tasman/U23) at 4mins 49secs
Jason Allen (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) st
Joseph Chapman (Delmaine Cycling Team) st
Jeremy Yates (Subway Cycling Team) at 5mins 45secs
Shane Melrose (Cycling Otago) 5mins 54secs
Nimesha Smith (Bikeright Cycling Team)
Karen Fulton (Star & Garter – Tasman)
Nicole Anderson (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team)
Bronwen Frazer (Star & Garter – Tasman)