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Lee Johnstone from the Warmup Cycling Team won a large frantic bunch sprint to win the 117 kilometre opening round of the Benchmark Elite masters series in North Canterbury, holding off Justin Sims (Armitage Williams) and Glen Rewi (Kiwi Style Bike Tours), winning in two hours and fifty five minutes.
Johnstone paid tribute to his team mates for working hard to protect him and bring back a dangerous break of Nigel Pink (Velocity), Neil Sutherland (Thule) and Craig Lawn (Team Tineli Masters) that was caught with 15 kilometres remaining.
“I have to give a huge thank you for all the team Warmup support, Johnstone said. “From those in the car to those on the bike, especially Wayne Smythe and Alan Bush for doing 50 to 60 kilometres on the front to keep the break in check sacrificing their own chances for me and the team.”
“Thank goodness I was able to pull it off for at the end. It was the longest sprint of my life from leading it out from the corner.”
Johnstone said he launched his sprint a little earlier than he intended in the finishing strait but that it still went exactly as he hoped it would. “It was exactly as I had visualized it,” he said “I had hoped it would come down to a bunch sprint, and it did, but only after a few of my team mates and a few others drove things really hard on the front to bring that dangerous break back. It was great to have a dedicated master’s race and I’m looking forward to the next round in Nelson.”
Dunedin’s Mark Spessot (Cycle World) came across the line sixth just behind Johnstone, but was the first over 45 master so claimed the series leader’s jersey for that masters age group.
1, Lee Johnstone , Warmup Cycling Team, Master 35-44, 2:55:11
2, Justin Sims, Armitage Williams Team, Master 35-44, 2:55:11
3,Glen Rewi, Kiwi Style Bike Tours, Master 35-44, 2:55:11
4, Brendon Mathews, Team Tineli Masters, Master 35-44, 2:55:11
5, Phil Turnwald, Cycling Otago, Master 35-44, 2:55:11
6, Mark Spessot, Cycle World, first Master 45+, 2:55:12
7, Michael Ferigo, Team Thule Cycling, Master 45+, 2:55:12
8, Jeff Keogh, Cycling Otago, Master 45+,2:55:12
9, Blair Stuthridge, Team Thule Cycling, Master 45+, 2:55:13
10, Craig Lawn, Team Tineli Masters, Master 35-44, 2:55:13