Recently crowned track cycling World Champion Hayden Godfrey will join his Subway Cycling Team for round three of the Benchmark Homes Tour at Cust this Saturday. Godfrey’s attention will turn from the boards of the Manchester velodrome to 135 kilometres of undulating roads around North Canterbury. And whilst jet-lag could play a part in his performance, Godfrey should still be able to offer a leadership role for his younger team-mates in a team he co-owns.
Over 100 starters are expected for the Parry Field Lawyers Open that will see up to fourteen sponsored cycling teams from around the South Island and a number of individual entrants vie for a sought after victory in a round of this prestigious competition. Following the large peloton will be the service vehicles of the respective teams with support staff at the ready to offer a quick wheel change in case of a puncture and the refueling of their riders.
Last year’s event and eventual series winner Paul Odlin (Village Cycles) will again travel from Nelson for an assault on the series. Odlin will face stiff competition from any number of riders including round two winner Gordon McCauley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team). The popular Aucklander will start Saturday’s event wearing the white leader jersey that will ensure his movements during the event are clearly monitored by the rest of the peloton. McCauley is tied for the lead with national track squad member Marc Ryan (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team) who also has been competing at Manchester. No doubt Ryan will want to reclaim the coveted white jersey that signifies domestic cycling’s most consistent road cyclist. Ryan won round one of the series in February.
Other riders likely to impress are Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter Wheelers – Tasman) who leads the Masters classification; the Under 23 leader Sam Horgan, Daniel Barry, and Edward Barrett (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team); Stephen Elden, Reon Park, Brian Fowler, and Darren Shea (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team); Tom Findlay, James Williamson, and Jason Christie (Subway Cycling Team); Shane Melrose and Alex McGregor (Cycling Otago); Joe Chapman, Ashley Whitehead, and Michael Vink (Delmaine Fine Foods); and, Lester Settle and Anthony Chapman (Lowe & Associates). Whilst these riders have proven themselves over the previous two rounds, the quality of any Benchmark Homes Tour field has the potential for any number of riders capable of winning a round of the series.
The current points standing is such that any one of the classification leader jerseys could change shoulders by the end of round three such is the closeness of this year’s competition. This is equally so in the Women’s classification currently led by Nimesha Smith (BikeRIGHT). Smith has a one-point buffer over her nearest challenger Sara MacDonald (Cycling Otago), followed by last year’s Women’s winner Tracy Clark (Team Thule Cycling). The Benchmark duo of Laura Thompson and Donna Sibley are top contenders to finish as first woman home, as is Josie Giddens and Katri Laike (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team), and Clark’s team-mate Annaliisa Farrell. Unfortunately the well-performing Jeannie Kuhajek (Star & Garter – Tasman) will be missing due to the broken collarbone she suffered as a result of a crash in round two at Timaru.
The battle for the Team classification will gain continue between the stronger teams, namely Benchmark Homes, Kelford – Reiker, Subway, and Lowe & Associates.
The event starts at 10am from the Cust Domain in Mill Road.
Points Standing after Round Two;
Gordon McCauley (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) 25 points
Marc Ryan (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team) 25 pts
Sam Horgan (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team/U23) 23pts
Chris Nicholson (Star & Garter Wheelers – Tasman/Master) 22pts
Jason Christie (Subway Cycling Team/U23) 22pts
Anthony Chapman (Lowe & Associates) 21pts
Darren Shea (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team/U23) 20pts
Paul Odlin (Village Cycles) 18pts
Shane Melrose (Cycling Otago) 18pts
Craig Lawn (Scott – Penny Farthing Cycles/Master) 16pts
Tom Findlay (Subway Cycling Team/U23) 15pts
Alex Meenhorst (Subway Cycling Team/U23) 14pts
Stephen Elden (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team) 12pts
Brian Fowler (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team/Master) 12pts
Reon Park (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team/Master) 10pts
1. Nimesha Smith (BikeRIGHT Cycling Team) 11 points
2. Sara MacDonald (Cycling Otago) 10pts
3. Tracy Clark (Team Thule Cycling) 10 points
4. Jeannie Kuhajek (Star & Garter – Tasman) 7pts
5. Katri Laike (Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team) 5pts
6. Laura Thompson (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) 5pts
7. Annaliisa Farrell (Team Thule Cycling) 3pts
8. Carolyn Jenkins (Cycling Otago) 2pts