A new cycle race season is finally under way. Chance once again to test the legs, and heart and lungs, not to mention the race tactics, and determination. All those things that have been put on hold during the winter. Even though the season is just starting there are some very fit cyclists out there – namely those competing in the North Island Team Series – whilst for others their fitness and early season training has yet to kick in.
After the cancellation of the first grading race last week, the weather was much kinder this week so allowing the second grading-race to proceed as planned. This 27 km Mass Start Road Race began at the bottom of the Rangitumai bluff racing towards Mauriceville and then returning to finish 2 kms past the bluff on Rangitumai Road.
In mass start racing, as the name suggests, the race starts with everyone together at the same time. This means the vast majority of the field then trying their best to ‘hang on’ to the wheels in front of them, whilst those who fancy their chances, attack as hard and fast as they can to create gaps and a breakaway. Predictably, within a few kms of the start, Mark Langlands along with Tom McCallum executed the perfect attack to create their breakaway. A head-cross-cutter wind probably assisted with breaking the elastic to the chase group. The main chase group once formed, worked together to try to bring back the breakaway. In doing so, many other riders found themselves distanced and strung out along the road. These riders then formed smaller groups to work with each other.
Unfortunately, Tom was unable to stay with Mark and dropped out of the breakaway to be reeled back in by the chase bunch. At the turnaround, Mark was solo and had a gap of about a minute back to the chase group. This gap was reduced somewhat with the assistance of the tail-crosscutter wind on the return leg of the race, but not by enough to close the gap completely. In the end Mark had a solo win with a margin of 43 seconds. Dominic Green showed a clean pair of heels to the rest of the chase group to cross the line in second place, with Tom McCallum sprinting to third.
The next group back on the road contained the top woman contender, Belinda Fuller, followed 32 seconds later by Emily Lutyens. A little further back Kirsten Goodin outsprinted Julie Millar to be third woman home.
Chocolate fish story tonight goes to John Murray who punctured before the turnaround. Congratulations to everyone who raced and thanks to all our race officials and marshalls.
Next week is one for the hill-climbers with an A and B-Graded race starting in Watson’s Road, heading out to Wainiouru and finishing at the top of Limeworks hill.
Full results are:
|First Name||Last Name||Place||Ride Time (Min)|
|Mark||Langlands||1||0:37:03||1st and Fastest man|
|Belinda||Fuller||12||0:40:05||1st and Fastest woman|