Commonwealth Games medalist Gordon McCauley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team)
exposed weaknesses in teams-based racing in this country when he won Round Four of
the eight-round Benchmark Homes Tour in Kaikoura on Sunday. The twelve sponsored
cycling teams of the tour suggest New Zealand has a long way to go to match its overseas
counterparts when no one team displayed a leadership role to orchestrate a cohesive
chase behind McCauley.
Almost 110 starters set off from Hanmer Springs in the 123km Ocean Ridge Bicycle
Classic. The peloton was quick to warm into the day with a flurry of attacks led by
McCauley and his team-mate Jason Allen. However it was not until the passing of
Rotherham that the Benchmark Homes duo was able to break free of the main field with
the company of Eliot Crowther (Lowe & Associates).
Storming through Waiau at the 44km mark, the trio-express had 40 seconds advantage on
the main field after Subway initially showed signs of organizing a chase. As the race hit
the first of the frequent climbs, the lead of the breakaway began to extend.
The climb from the Wandle River (52km) split the main field in two as the front of the
peloton now trailed by 1 minute 25 seconds. Still the pursuers failed to organize a
consistent chase as the lead hovered around the one and a half minute mark for nearly the
next hour of racing. Finally, inroads into the lead appeared encouraging when the timegap
at the crossing of the Conway River (82km) was down to one minute 10 seconds,
then just on a minute by the top of the climb out of the basin.
The greasy descents were taking its toll up front as Crowther repeatedly applied caution
that each time left him the task of expending extra energy to rejoin his companions. It
perhaps was not surprising that Crowther was dropped at the 105km mark when the gap
from the leaders to the chasers neared two minutes.
Soon after, Allen suffered the same fate leaving his team leader alone to hold off the
pursuers with 15km to ride with one minute 50 seconds in hand.
Crowther, then Allen were swept up by the attacks that were being made behind as
individual riders tried to make an impression into the lone leader’s lead. McCauley
though was not going to give in easily as his speed towards the coastal town at times
approached 60km/h.
McCauley entered the Ocean Ridge Estate and tackled the final obstacle of the day which
was a 400 metre climb to the finish at 100 metres above sea-level. His lead of around a
minute appeared comfortable as he weaved his way to the chequered flag to just hold off
the pursuers led home by Jeremy Yates (Subway Cycling Team) and Paul Odlin (Trek) at
a dozen seconds or so behind.
McCauley’s well-deserved win placed him back into the series’ white leader jersey
having re-captured it from Odlin by a one-point margin. Subway’s Tom Findlay retained
his lead in the Under 23 classification despite not securing any further points, whilst
Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter – Tasman) produced a fine ride to come home sixth and
extend his lead amongst the Masters. Nicholson’s team finished well to take the day’s
Team prize for the first time in the 2008 series.
Star & Garter – Tasman rider Karen Fulton repeated her win of Round Three by again
finishing first woman ahead of Nimesha Smith (Bikeright) and Katri Laike (Kelford –
Reiker Cycling Team). Smith still retained her lead in the Women’s classification despite
Fulton reducing it by a further three points.
Had the stronger teams of Yates’, Odlin, and Stephen Elden (Kelford – Reiker Cycling
Team) ridden with purpose, then the winner could well have been different. The fact
they did not somehow leaves one the impression that the perception of cycling as an
individual sport will remain in this country, whilst the Europeans acknowledge it as a
team sport.
The Benchmark Homes Tour now enters its traditional winter-break before its resumption
on August 3rd in Nelson.
1. Gordon McCauley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) 123km in 3hrs 01mins
2. Jeremy Yates (Subway Cycling Team) at 12secs
3. Paul Odlin (Trek) same time
4. James Williamson (Subway Cycling Team) st
5. Michael Torckler (Trek) st
6. Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter – Tasman) st
7. George Bennett (Star & Garter – Tasman) st
8. Tom Hubbard (Revolution Properties) st
9. Jack Bauer (Star & Garter – Tasman) st
10. Patrick Williamson (Subway Cycling Team) st
First Women;
1. Karen Fulton (Star & Garter – Tasman)
2. Nimesha Smith (Bikeright)
3. Katri Laike (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team)
First Team;
1. Star & Garter – Tasman
Points Standing (Provisional);
1. Gordon McCauley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) 64 points
2. Paul Odlin (Trek) 63pts
3. Tom Findlay (Subway Cycling Team/Under 23) 37pts
4. Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter – Tasman/Master) 36pts
5. Craig Lawn (Scott – Penny Sport/Master) 26pts
6. James Williamson (Subway Cycling Team/U23) 24pts
7. Stephen Elden (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team) 24pts
8. Sam Horgan (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team/U23) 23pts
9. Jeremy Yates (Subway Cycling Team) 22pts
10. Jason Christie (Subway Cycling Team/U23) 22pts
Women’s Classification;
1. Nimesha Smith (Bikeright) 25 points
2. Karen Fulton (Star & Garter – Tasman) 20pts
3. Katri Laike (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team) 15pts


Long day at office…

Race got underway with full on attacking until a good group formed with Sam in it. He was with the yellow so we had big hopes for the move.

The move was closed down then three riders on the counter attack got 4 min on the field.

Three Iranian teams controlled the race bring them back, it was very difficult to attack with a tough head wind.

With 25km to got it was all on, we attacked hard to get something away but it kept coming back,

With around 15km to go I got in a move with the yellow jersey and 7 others. We stayed away but only 26 sec ahead.

Gordy / G – I’ve forgotten how to win a race you would think with the second chance for a stage!! I may need some lessons! I was toast truth be said.

Dan had more bad luck with a puncture in the final 3km and Sam spent himself in a big move that got pulled back. Leon had a better day today also.

Results Stage 2: Brendan 19th / Dan 20th / Sam 22nd. Results Stage 3: Brendan 9th in stage /Sam & Dan bunch. GC: Brendan 3rd 32sec off lead / Sam and Dan are only 1m down. Team GC: 4th


Stage One – 48km Street Race.

Great start to the tour and a bit of a confidence booster with Sam and Brendan making the winning Break.

The circuit was a little hard as the third straight was up hill with a head wind. The crowd lined the streets yelling and cheering, great atmosphere.  

It was a fast race with plenty of attacking, we stayed in contention for the most part, Sam attached with two others with around 15km to go. Brendan went across with seven others and joined Sam after a few laps.

In the final lap Brendan attacked up in the last km on the uphill, with 20m on the group it looked good for the win or Sam was going to take it out but it wasn’t to be, Brendan ran completely out of legs in the last 100m!!! (again). Sam got boxed in so missed his opportunity.

We finished 8th and 9th with our Team in 3rd place on GC.

Big day tomorrow – 125km Ghom to Tehran with one cat 2 climb – Check out web site link for details. (

It’s been great trip so far, this place is vastly different than NZ as you can imagine. They do look after you very well!!


The Hanmer to Kaikoura Race was held in mild (10 degrees) overcast weather, the race was hard with attacks from Gordon McCauley and with a final attack that saw him ride out the front for last 90 odd K's, they tried to haul him in but never made it...So McCauley took it out, Jeremy Yates 2nd and Paul Odlin 3rd...

Log in every day this week, as "That Bike Guy" has interviews, of Gordon, Paul Odlin, Jeremy Yates, Craig Adair, Mark Inglis and many more...


The first presidential cycling tour of iran

The Benchmark Homes Cycling team supported by Tineli Clothing, heads to Iran today to compete in the Presidential Cycling Tour of Iran. This represents a significant milestone for the team, as this is the first time riders have raced overseas under the Benchmark Homes brand. Five riders will be travelling to Iran to compete in the tour. The team, racing under the joint banner of Benchmark Homes and Tineli Clothing NZ, consists of Daniel Barry, Sam Horgan, Brendan Hart, Leon Hextall and Michael Naylor of the Benchmark Homes Cycling Team, based in Christchurch. The tour runs for five days and covers terrain in the regions surrounding the Iranian capital, Tehran. The course covers a total distance of 526km and includes two circuit races and a grueling mountain stage on the final day.

This final day is likely to be where the key moves of the tour are made, as there are two category one climbs, the second of which climbs to the finish at an elevation of 2600m above sea level. The early flat stages will be well suited to the aggressive riding style of Sam Horgan who has been making his presence felt in the Christchurch racing scene for most of this season. The international racing experience of Brendan Hart will be a key factor in the success of the team and his mountain climbing ability will prove vital on the final stage.

This tour will be the first taste of overseas racing for Horgan, Hextall and Naylor, who all race in the Under 23 age category. Each of these riders has had success in racing around New Zealand and this experience will give them a chance to improve even further. Daniel Barry, another Under 23 rider, has represented New Zealand in junior racing in Australia and in Spa, Belgium at the Junior World Cycling Championships in 2006. Daniel and Sam have been the in-form riders of the Benchmark Team in the 2008 season and they are expected to perform well in this event.

Travelling with the riders are Andrew Jamieson of BikeNZ, Tim Vincent of Tineli Clothing and Margo Rhys-Jones. Margo will be an asset to the team, bringing expertise in many areas. She is a qualified English teacher, a masseuse and a chef as well as a former international track and road cyclist. She has written for ProCycling Magazine and is well versed in many aspects of health and nutrition. Tim and Andrew have also had extensive international racing experience and they will be able to provide guidance and advice to the young riders in the team. Tim won the World Mountain Bike Marathon Champs in 2006 and has raced many successful seasons in Switzerland.

This team, although quite young and inexperienced, has the potential to perform very strongly at the Iran Tour. There is plenty to ride for with a total prize pool of over forty-thousand dollars up for grabs. The experience gained by the riders traveling will prove invaluable to the Benchmark Team later in the season


Round Four of the Benchmark Homes Tour is likely to be a showdown between ex-Trek team-mates Paul Odlin and Gordon McCauley.  Last year’s series winner Odlin (Trek) will begin the Ocean Ridge Bicycle Classic on May 11th as leader of the eight-round series having deposed McCauley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) of the leader’s jersey in Round Three.

The third edition of the 133km event raced between Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura will follow its traditional course through the scenic Inland route to the coastal tourist town.  The course containing narrow roads, and short sharp climbs punctuated with breathtaking descents will conclude with a short steep climb to the finish inside Ocean Ridge Estate.

Odlin’s four-point series advantage will be all the more easily to defend in the absence of several of McCauley’s team-mates who will be competing overseas.  McCauley will need to rely solely on seasoned-campaigners Scott Wilder and Andrew Williams, whilst Odlin will be missing team-mate Hayden Roulston.

Whilst both Odlin and McCauley are likely to be pre-occupied with the race for the leader’s jersey, Hasting’s Jeremy Yates will have his sights firmly set on the race win.  He will head a strong Subway Cycling Team that co-leads the series’ Team classification.  Joining Yates are James and Patrick Williamson, Jason Christie, Myron Simpson, Ruaraidh McLeod, and Tom Findlay.  The latter sits third overall and leads the Under 23 classification.

As co-leader in the Team classification, Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team will also field a strong team that will include Brian Fowler, Reon Park, Stephen Elden, Darren Shea, and James Fairweather.  Whilst it will want to go into the winter break with the outright lead in this competition, its riders will also want to take out their second individual win of this year’s series.  The absence of their more fancied team-mate Marc Ryan will provide Fowler a free reign to repeat his win he scored on this course two years ago.

There are many other riders capable of taking the day’s main prize, namely Joseph Chapman, Matt Sillars, and Michael Vink (Delmaine Fine Foods); Anthony Chapman, Elliot Crowther, Lester Settle, and James Gibson (Lowe & Associates); Alex McGregor (Cycling Otago); Brett Dawber (BikeRIGHT); Tom Scully and Paul Gough (Cycle Surgery – Dunedin); Neil Sutherland and Brad McFarlane (Team Thule Cycling); Jack Bauer, Kieran Hambrook and Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter – Tasman); and Craig Lawn (Scott – Penny Sport Cycles).  The latter two are separated by just one point in the Masters classification that Nicholson leads.

BikeRIGHT’s Nimesha Smith has a handy lead of eight points in the Women’s classification, however she will need to finish no worse than fourth to retain her lead should the first woman home be either Karen Fulton (Star & Garter – Tasman), Katri Laike (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team), Sara McDonald (Cycling Otago), or Tracy Clark (Team Thule Cycling).  This quartet each has 10 points.  And whilst Smith will no doubt be keeping an eye on her immediate challengers, a win could come from Laura Thompson or Donna Sibley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team), Josie Giddens (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team), or Jeannie Kuhajek (Star & Garter – Tasman).  Kuhajek will be returning to the competition following her crash in Round Two that resulted in a broken collar-bone.

The Ocean Ridge Bicycle Classic to be raced amongst the falling autumn leaves will start at 10am from the Sports Pavillion on Jack’s Pass Road, Hanmer Springs