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Joe Cooper fought off former Subway – Avanti Pro Cycling Team mate Gordon McCauley to win a wet and windy Tour of Taranaki which finished today.
Cooper won the opening prologue in impressive style beating McCauley by 23 seconds and raced well over the following four stages, held over three days in difficult conditions, to hold on to the yellow leaders jersey and his lead for the whole tour.
“It was tough as I had no team mates and had to look after myself,” an elated Cooper said.
“The weather was terrible and the racing was tough but to stay ahead and win the tour is just fantastic and gives me good confidence for heading to China next month with the Subway – Avanti team for the Tour de Qinghai Lake.”
The three-day Powerco-sponsored Taranaki tour attracted a strong field of almost 200 riders, with McCauley, members of the New Zealand development squad and three strong teams, Bici Vida, Black Peloton/Placemakers and Mico/All About Plumbing all providing strong opposition for Cooper.
Team co-owner Hayden Godfrey was rapt with Cooper’s performance, saying it was a “great confidence booster.”
“His time trail against the current national TT champion was just exceptional given the amount of time he took out of McCauley in just eight kilometres; it set him up for the win, and it looks like he is tracking really well with his build up for China.”
1. Joseph Cooper - Subway Avanti
2. Gordon McCauley - GMC Coaching
3. Lee Evans - Mico All About Plumbing
KOM - Lee Evans - Mico All About Plumbing
Sprint Ace - Gordon McCauley - GMC Coaching
The Subway – Avanti Pro Cycling Team is New Zealand’s only UCI Continental team receiving UCI status in early 2009.
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