Tom Hubbard backed up a sixth place finish in a strong field in the UCI 1.2 REV Classic race yesterday in Cambridge to win the opening round of the elite race of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series in Oxford near Christchurch today.
Hubbard, riding for the Breads of Europe team, managed to get across to 11 leaders at a critical time in the 159 kilometre race to then take a leadership role with team mate Fraser Hewitt to build a solid lead on the chasing peloton.
“I got across to the right move at the right time,” Hubbard said. “It took a huge effort to bridge across and I was feeling a bit fatigued after yesterday’s race but knew it just had to be done.”
Hubbard and Fraser drove the break and on the last lap of a circuit that included a short climb up Summerhill Hubbard attacked the group taking Keagan Girdlestone from the NZ Road Youth Academy team, Richard Lawson (TotalPOS Solutions) and former Olympian Robin Reid (Freshchoice Richmond Pomeroys) with him.
The group worked well together adding to their lead until Hubbard made his winning move with 800 metres to go, launching an attack before the final corner that lead into the finishing straight, saying he wasn’t keen to leave it to the last 400 metres.
“I’m pretty happy to take the win,” he said. “Not only for me but also for my Breads of Europe All About Plumbing team who are the series defending champions. It’s a good start to the racing and a step in the right direction as I want to win the overall series.”
Hubbard won in a time of four hours and nineteen minutes, three seconds clear of Girdlestone who out sprinting Lawson and Reid to claim second and take the lead in the Under 23 series classification.
For seventeen year old Christchurch cyclist Rose Marshall-Lee (Vidasana-Thule) it was a winning start in her first open women’s road race, beating a strong field after escaping the leaders with eight kilometres to go.
“The win was completely unexpected,” she said. “I was just aiming to finish and as we got closer to the end I just wanted to stay near the front as I knew some more hills were coming.”
Marshall-Lee has experienced success on the track that included third in last months Under 19 national points race and a win in the teams sprint with Olivia Podmore, but she rode with a maturity beyond her experience on the road launching an attack in the closing stages to avoid the result being decided in a sprint.
“After still being there I knew I didn’t want to wait for a sprint, so dug deep, went and then just kept watching the k’s (kilometres) tick away. It was like a 15 minute effort.”
Marshall-Lee hung on to narrowly hold off the fast finishing bunch, winning in three hours and twenty three minutes, only beating Karen Fulton (Freshchoice Richmond Pomeroys) who was second and Amanda Jamieson (Black Magic Black) who came home third, by one second.
Wellington cyclist Dave Rowlands (Christchurch Mitsubishi) won the 120 kilometre masters race after the nine leaders split apart on the final climb out of Ashley Gorge. Rowlands was dominant throughout the race, and timed his sprint well to beat Brent Allnut (Team Thule Cycling) in the final kick to the line, winning in two hours and fifty five minutes.
Rowlands takes the lead in the masters 35 to 44 age group classification ahead of Allnut and Mathew Talbot (Team Thule Cycling) who was third across the line while sixth place finisher Wayne Girdlestone (High 5 CFO) won the over 50 series leaders jersey and Lee Johnstone (Placemakers), who was twelfth, has taken the lead in the 45 to 40 age group classification.
The next round is the Moore Stephens Markhams Timaru Classic on Saturday 11 April at Pleasant Point near Timaru in South Canterbury.