Nelson cyclist Paul Odlin (Trek) scored a repeat win in the Parry Field Lawyers Open on Saturday to claim the series lead in the eight-round Benchmark Homes Tour. Odlin who won the same event last year, finished best from the 130 starters by sprinting home youngsters Tom Findlay (Subway Cycling Team) and Tom Scully (Cycle Surgery) just 10 seconds ahead of the main field.
Round three of the series produced aggressive racing throughout, however it was not until the 100 kilometre mark that a group of ten formed the decisive move of the day. Working well together, the breakaway quickly built a one minute 20 second lead that was closed to 55 seconds with less than 20km to ride. The current series leader Gordon McCauley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) was unlucky to suffer a puncture in this group as the tempo within lifted.
The pace reduced the group one-by-one until Odlin and the two youngsters were left to negotiate the last obstacle of the day Summerhill and the descent into Cust. There a jubilant Odlin had enough in reserve to win his third ever round of the series’ format that is now into its fourth year.
On a day when junior cyclists shone in the calm conditions, Sam Steele (Peak Fuel) and Ruaraidh McLeod (Subway Cycling Team) led home the peloton ahead of deposed series leader McCauley. Finishing in the same time were the first of the women, Karen Fulton (Star & Garter – Tasman) and Nimesha Smith (BikeRIGHT). Smith’s ride was enough to keep her lead in the Women’s classification and extend it over her nearest rivals.
Findlay has taken the lead in the Under 23 classification whilst his Subway Cycling Team won the day’s Team award. Former Olympian Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter – Tasman) continues to lead the Masters classification.
Round Four will be held on May 11th between Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura.