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Tour of Taranaki – 2013

by | Jun 7, 2013

June 1, 2 and 3 2013

The traditionally appalling weather failed to materialize for the Tour of Taranaki this year – although it made a valiant attempt on Saturday, hiding the mountain in clouds and rainbows and washing our bikes clean of cow dung. However, clear skies on Sunday and Monday meant that it was Bike Manawatu riders who made hay while the sun shone in the Naki over the June long weekend.

In a strong A Grade field Luke Mudgway should have succeeded in his mission to impress the U19 Bike NZ selectors with a strong tour, culminating in a decisive four-man break on the final stage. Luke finished third on GC behind hard man, Gordon MacCauley, and Morgan Smith, ahead of many more fancied (and experienced) riders. George Roberts started the race, but withdrew due to illness.

James Denholm was the only Bike Manawatu rider in B Grade and hung with the large field until Stage5, when his legs finally cracked in the consistently fast pace.

And speaking of hard men, John Stewart raced well in C Grade, winning Stage 3 and finishing 7th on GC. He missed the winning break on Stage 5 because he was watching the yellow and polka dot jerseys (who were probably watching him!), and spent the rest of the race regretting his decision and chasing hard.

D Grade was combined with the U17 girls, and had strong representation from Bike Manawatu. Ruby Perry rode off with the Women’s jersey for D Grade partly based on some impressive time trial form. Meanwhile, Alex Denholm in his first race since the great flood, and John Arbuckle, now a seasoned Naki campaigner (or should that be tourist?) made a few cameo appearances at the front, while Katherine Stannard and John van Lienen ensured a Bike Manawatu presence at the Lantern Rouge end of the bunch. Elizabeth Stannard not only ended up 2nd in the U17 girls race and 3rd in the KOM contest for the whole of D Grade, but won the final stage with a gutsy solo break 5km from the finish, crossing the line 10 seconds clear of a bunch of angry masters!

The U17 boys grade boosted the value of the Manawatu economy (and probably the profits of the Boys High canteen) to the tune of several hundred dollars, with plenty of that prize money spread among our junior riders. Bike Manawatu riders won every stage (Stage 1 Robert Stannard, Stage 2 Campbell Stewart, Stage 3 Alex West, Stage 4 Joel Yates and Stage 5 Robert Stannard), and every jersey (Alex West Tour Leader and Sprint Ace, and Robert Stannard King of the Mountains). A number of parents were heard complaining that a ‘parent tax’ on prize money should have been embedded in the constitution when Bike Manawatu was formed.

Many of us stayed at the St Mary’s Boarding School, living the life of professional cyclists (or children), with all our meals provided, under floor heating in our rooms, and support crew providing beer and comedy routines. I should mention that many of the Bike Manawatu support crew also provided race assistance, driving lead and support cars for various grades and stages.

Well done and thank you to Cycling New Plymouth for organising yet other version of this iconic event.

Final results for all Bike Manawatu riders were as follows;

A Grade Luke Mudgway 3rd

B Grade James Denholm 24th

C Grade John Stewart 7th

D Grade Elizabeth Stannard 6th and 2nd U17 girl

Ruby Perry 11th

Alex Denholm 21st

John Arbuckle 22nd

Katherine Stannard 26th

John van Lienen 31st

U17 Boys Alex West 1st

Nate Levin 4th

Robert Stannard 5th

Carne Groube 6th

Joel Yates 7th

Jake van Lienen 9th

Jacob Seivwright 10th

Hayden Washington Smith 11th

Cameron Huston 13th

Hamish Mikkelson 15th

Fergus Allan 16th

Andrew McKenzie 18th