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On the 3rd of October 11 Bike Manawatu age grade members travelled to 

yunca tour winners 2013Invercargill to compete in the 30th year of the YUNCA Junior 3 Day Tour.

The Yunca Tour is known as the most prestigious age grade tour in New Zealand with a large contingent of Australiaʼs top age grade riders making the trip over to compete.

Myself and Emily Shearman contested the Under 15 Girls grade, a small field of just 10 riders but made up of NZ and Australian National Champs. I (Libby) started with my favourite discipline, the Individual Time Trial and managed to finish 3rd after a poor start. Emily finished 5th. Emily then showed her fantastic sprint form to get 2nd to Australian sprint champ Jessie Saunders in the Kermese (points race).

After Day 1, Emily was 3rd in GC with me running 4th, only 1 second behind.

The sun came out on Day 2 with really good racing conditions and 20 degree temperatures. We were now into road racing with KOM and Sprint Jerseys up for grabs. In the first race of the day I chased the KOM and won

maximum points and also managed to finish 3rd on the line. That moved me up to 3rd in the GC and into the Polka Dot Jersey. My goal now was to keep that jersey.

The next race (4th race of the Tour) consisted of 2, 17km laps for the Under 15 Girls with 2 KOMʼs up for points at the start and finish. I again managed to pick up maximum points in the KOM in lap 1 and finshed 2nd on the line to secure the jersey for another day and to hold 3rd place in the GC still by 1 second.

Day 3 opened with a criterium in downtown Invercargill – it was going to be hard to hold off the Aussie sprinters and this proved true. Emily gave it a really good crack though and picked up good points which moved her up to

3rd in the sprints division. I finished 4th on the line.

The final road race was a challenging one. It was a 40km course made worse by strong winds. Our Under 15 girls group worked well with 7 riders staying together until the KOM at the 36km mark. I was lucky enough to take

out the KOM again to make it 3 out of 4 KOM wins. Then the sprint to the finish was on, with myself and two other riders racing it to the finish line. I pushed hard and picked up 2nd on the line.

Overall I placed 3rd in the Under 15 Girls GC and won the KOM. Emily placed 5th overall and 3rd in the Sprint points. Myself and Emily too both picked up valuable experience from the Yunca Tour and now weʼre looking

forward to joining the BIke NZ Junior Development Squad for 2013/2014.

Our other riders rode really well too. George Roberts and James Denholm contested the Under 19 Mens age group, with George attacking from Day 1 and he never stopped. George made every break narrowly missing out on

the Sprint title. James Denholm worked well to assist George and had a tidy tour.

The Under 17 Boys had the largest contingency of Bike Manawatu members with the Yellow GC Jersey held throughout the tour by both Josh Kendall and

Campbell Stewart. Campbell narrowly losing the GC by only 1 second in the final race. The Under 17 Boys Sprint Jersey was won by Alex West. The boys including Chris Denholm, Carne Groube and Joel Yates all performed well and again asserted their dominance in this age grade.

Kate Stewart contested the Under 19 women and again showed excellent signs of recovery from illness over the winter. Kateʼs results probably were the highlight for the club with a 3rd overall in the GC for her age grade.

Micheala Drummond in the Under 17 women contested everything. She won the KOM title, placed 2nd in the Sprint points and placed 2nd in the GC. She had a great tour and proved (especially to Emily and I) that she will be hard to beat when we are all competing against each other in the Under 17 womenʼs age grade next year.

Following the Yunca Tour all the Bike Manawatu riders boxed up their road bikes (with help from Dad) and put their track bikes together. We then had the chance to get back on the boards of Invercargillʼs Velodrome and

compete in a 2 Day Track Carnival. It was lots of fun, even though by now we were all pretty tired. It was fun having a go a racing some of the top track cyclists in our age grades. Canʼt wait until track season starts at home.

Overall it was a great performance by all the Bike Manawatu riders. I think we did Bike Manawatu proud, picking up 3 tour jerseys and a number of GC placings.

On behalf of all the riders that competed in Invercargill I would like to thank our parents and coaches, who travelled with us (and those that didnʼt). Thank you for taking your time to drive us (or fly us) all over the country, coach us, look after us and feed us when we are competing. It was a fun week and I hope to be able to compete there again next year.