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COOPER AND STANNARD LEAD NEW ZEALAND SUCCESS AT THE 2014 OCEANIA ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS

by | Feb 28, 2014

Australia, New Zealand and Guam’s best cyclists battled for Oceania honours in Toowoomba last weekend at the 2014 Zarraffa’s Oceania Road Championships.

Lizzie Stannard celebrates her win with the rest of the U19 women’s team

The three-day Championships began with individual time trials on Friday February 21 before the road races on Saturday and Sunday February 22 and 23.

Leading the charge for the Kiwis was New Zealander Joe Cooper (Avanti Racing), who was crowned the Zarraffa’s Coffee Oceania time trial men’s champion.  Queensland’s Shara Gillow (Orica-AIS) took out the women’s title.

Cooper, who was New Zealand’s 2013 national time trial champion, covered the 39 kilometre course in a time of just 49 minutes 43.82 seconds to claim gold.

Cooper finished 14 seconds ahead of Drapac Pro Cycling’s William Clarke (49:58.21) and Lachlan Norris (50:01.22) who stopped the clock a further 17 seconds in arrears.

The title comes after Cooper was unable to defend his New Zealand Time Trial National Championship in January due to injury, having developed a hamstring strain a few weeks before the event.

In the women’s event, Shara Gillow continued to show her strength against the clock, winning her fourth Oceania time trial title.

Gillow posted a blistering time of 35 minutes 01.92 seconds over 25 kilometres, 26 seconds ahead of Australian National Champion Felicity Wardlaw (Bicycle Superstore, 35:28.29) and a further 34 seconds in front of New Zealand’s Reta Trotman (35:36.31).

In the junior women’s event, UCI Road World Championship medalist Alexandria Manly (SA) took out the 13 kilometre course in a time of 18 minutes 59.96 seconds. Manly took out the race ahead of New Zealand duo Madison Farrant (19:26.57) and Amanda Jamieson (19:34.82).

In the Under-19 women’s race the following day, New Zealand’s Elizabeth Stannard broke free from a small group inside the final kilometre to claim the junior Oceania title solo.

Stannard took out the 71 kilometre race from Queensland’s Jessica Pratt and Anna Hull (NSW) who finished 5 seconds behind the kiwi.

The official New Zealand U19 team was made up of U19 Men Corbin Mason-Smith, Jake Marryatt, George Roberts and Alex West, and U19 Women Madison Farrant, Lizzie Stannard, Georgia Vessey, Amanda Jamieson and Ione Johnson.

They were accompanied by Junior Development Coach Wayne Girdlestone (U19 Men’s South Island Coach) and Team Manager Tracey Herbert, who Wayne commended as a ‘lifesaver’ when it came to logistics for the team.

“The event served as a steep learning curve for both men’s and women’s teams.” said Wayne Girdlestone. “The women have certainly stepped up following high attendance at the Junior Development Camps, and this intensive training is now paying dividends.”

“They [the women’s team] went to Australia with very little expectation and rode very well – especially Lizzie. The course suited them.”

Girdlestone was impressed by the technical challenges the course presented, admitting it was considerably harder than it appeared on the map.  Jake Marryatt placed 8th and Corbin Mason-Smith 10th, taking away valuable knowledge of what it takes to race at a higher level than what is available domestically.

“The Aussies made us feel very welcome,” said Girdlestone, “The level of U19 racing is much higher across the ditch, and it’d be great to return with a larger team next year and build on 2014’s achievements.”