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The Christchurch Boys High School team continued its dominating form as the Tour of New Zealand passed through Canterbury today.
The school boy team of professional mountain biker Anton Cooper and competitive cyclists Daniel Whitehouse, Olly Marshall, Max Jones and Harry Buttle won today’s Methven to Oxford 80 kilometre stage five in two hours two minutes and six seconds.
The Christchurch Boys High School team was over five minutes ahead of today’s second rider across the finish line, Robbie Liebert who was only riding today’s stage as an individual.
The tour started simultaneously at Stirling Point near Bluff and Cape Reinga on Saturday and ends with a criterium in Wellington this Saturday. Riders are competing in teams or as solo cyclists with some also doing single individual stages.
Christchurch Boys High has taken 13 hours and 49 minutes to complete the tour’s five stages. Crombie and Price on Tour are the second placed team, 30 minutes behind the school team and Wensleys Cycles from Invercargill lie third, 15 minutes further back.
The leading South Island solo rider is Geoff Williamson who crossed the line in Oxford in two hours seven minutes and 42 seconds, just six seconds behind Liebert. Williamson has taken 14 hours and 19 minutes to complete the tour’s first five stages.
Event organiser Simon Yarrell is the second placed solo rider, 19 minutes behind Williamson and Brazilian Juarez Carvalho is third.
Yarrell is very pleased with the way the tour is going. “It’s just been brilliant. A real team atmosphere has developed and everyone is just having such a great time. The overseas guys have been blown away by the riding and the scenery,” he said.
Lifestyle-publication writers from Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China and the UK are all riding in the tour which Tourism New Zealand’s Brand and International PR General Manager Catherine Bates says is a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of New Zealand’s best road cycling routes and scenery.
In the North Island the Air Force Ohakea Corporate team, riding to celebrate 75 years of the RNZAF, is leading the team’s competition and the leading solo rider is Japan based New Zealander Dan Underwood.
Tomorrows South Island stage starts in Hanmer Springs and finishes in Kaikoura. The North Island tour starts in The National Park near Mt Ruapehu and is divided into two stages finishing in Wanganui.
Yarrell said the Christchurch Boys High team had been going very well and he couldn’t see them fading as the event neared Picton on Friday then raced around Parliament in a criterium on Saturday.
“They are all strong racers and I thought the distance might have been a challenge for them as they are younger, but they really are going very well,” he said.
Yarrell also paid tribute to solo ride leaders Geoff Williamson and Dan Underwood. “I’ve seen how well Geoff is going and from what I understand Dan is going really well leading the North island solo riders. They will both be tough to overhaul.”