Friday again saw flocks of Bike Manawatu juniors and their families migrating north across the Desert Road. This time to Rotorua for the CRI Junior Tour – four stages over two days in the rolling countryside just north of the town.
In the U15 Boys Dylan Simpson, Thomas Stannard and Harrison Kinghorn were up against “the beasts” (otherwise known as “second year U15 riders”), often a foot taller and sometimes a foot wider across the shoulders as well. Our boys acquitted themselves well, Dylan managing to hold onto the second bunch in every stage to finish 13th on GC and Thomas and Harry riding determinedly throughout.
The U15 girls was a two horse race between Libby Arbuckle and Jenna Merrick from Auckland. Jenna won the first road stage, but Libby came back in the time trial to take the yellow jersey. Next morning in the criterium Jenna bounced back to win the final sprint and gain some time bonuses, but not enough to take yellow from Libby. The final stage saw Libby carefully watching Jenna’s every move. Jenna took the stage win, but Libby was right on her wheel and kept a tight grip on the yellow jersey. Libby and Jenna finished 9 minutes ahead of the next girls, highlighting their dominance. Young Ashhurst riders Peita Ransom (10th), Madison Allardice, Jannah Rowden (12th), Samara Fenn (13th) and Megan Burns (14th) also enjoyed the tour.
Bike Manawatu juniors again dominated the U17 boys race, not only in entries (13 out of 43), but also in results. Campbell Stewart had another superb tour, winning the first and final stages, manufacturing the winning break in the crit and taking home the yellow jersey. Stage finishes were generally a “green wash” as follows;
Stage 1 Campbell Stewart, Alex West, Chris Denholm
Stage 2 Corbin Mason-Smith (CHB), Campbell Stewart, Tom Carter (Tauranga)
Stage 3 Sam Thorpe-Loversuch (CHB), Campbell Stewart, Robert Stannard
Stage 4 Campbell Stewart, Robert Stannard, Chris Denholm
Final General Classification was; Campbell Stewart (1), Robert Stannard (7), Chris Denholm (8), Alex West (9), Carne Groube (11), Jake Van Lienen (12), Hamish Mikkelsen (14), Hayden Washington-Smith (18), Joel Yates (22), Jacob Sievwright (23), Cody Simpson (25), Mitchell Kinghorn (34) and Fergus Allan (39) – with the top 35 riders separated by less then 5 minutes.
Elizabeth Stannard and Michaela Drummond were the only Bike Manawatu riders in the U17 girls race. Michaela finished strongly in Stage 1 to get 3rd across the line, Elizabeth finished in the bunch after a gear cable broke with about 10km to go, leaving her crunching a big gear to get home. The time trial saw Elizabeth finish 4th, only 1 second behind the 3rd placed rider. A crash in the criterium halted the race to enable St John personnel to clear bodies from the track – there were minor injuries to one rider and the other went on to win the stage! The final road stage saw some aggressive riding from Elizabeth and Sophie Pulford (Morrinsville), but they failed to dislodge four other riders and there was no change to the top of GC. Elizabeth was 4th overall.
Luke Mudgway, Mark Findlay and Jordan Castle all started with a bang, 1st, 3rd and 5th across the line in Stage 1 of the U19 boys race. Stage 2 saw the big time trial riders take top spots on GC, but Luke, Mark and Jordan still held their places in the top 11. The criterium was hard and fast from the outset, and great riding from our boys saw them all gaining valuable sprint time bonuses. After the crit Luke was 3rd, Mark 4th and Jordan 6th on GC. The final road stage was a 90km, 6 lap circuit. Breakaways went from the gun, and in the end a 3 man break led by Regan Gough (CHB) finished just 11 seconds ahead of the main bunch, which contained all of the Bike Manawatu riders. Final GC saw Luke in 3rd, Mark in 5th and Jordan in 7th.
Many of these young riders will be travelling to Queenstown next week to compete in the National Road Championships. The results above must bode well for some Bike Manawatu medals, and we wish them all good riding, great climbing and magnificent sprinting!