Calder Stewart Cycling Series elite leader Tom Hubbard has his fingers crossed for a speedy recovery after falling ill so he can defend his lead in Saturday’s second round of the series, the Moore Stephens Markhams Timaru Classic.
Hubbard will rely heavily on his Breads of Europe team mates after getting sick which saw him pull out of Wellington’s Cossie Club Easter Tour.
“Timaru has treated me well in the past,” Hubbard said, referring to his first ever win in the series in 2011 on a route that finished in Timaru. “That was on a different course, but I’m still keen to go well on Saturday and I know the team is looking forward to defending the leader’s jersey. I just hope I feel better but if I don’t we have a number of guys that can front up and look to lead the team and go for the win.”
Breads of Europe has a strong look about it with Invercargill’s Luke MacPherson in particular showing good form after a dominating win in the Vital Signs Tour de Lakes A grade at Easter.
Sam Horgan, Dan Barry, Jason Christie and Keagan Girdlestone are four riders who are not racing with their Australian Continental teams in this week’s National Road Series event the Jayco Adelaide Tour. All four have good recent form with Barry winning last month’s Coffee Culture Le Race where Horgan was third.
Girdlestone, riding for the NZ Road Youth Academy, was second in Oxford’s opening round of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series and leads the series’ Under 23 classification.
TotalPOS Solutions is another strong looking team that includes recent Grape Ride elite winner Christie, Reon Nolan, who won two stages at Easter’s Tour de Lakes and the tour’s A grade sprinters jersey and the well performed Brodie Catterick and Sam Lindsay.
Athens Olympian Robin Reid and veteran double winter and summer Olympian Chris Nicholson are too vastly experienced riders who lead Nelson’s Freshchoice Richmond Pomeroys team.
Others that could feature on the elite men’s 148 kilometre course that includes three climbs are former national track representative Jason Allen (Mike Greer Homes Racing), Daniel Ellison (Modus Construct) and Liam Aitcheson (L&M Group Ricoh NZ), another rider to perform well at the Tour de Lakes.
The masters field is again the largest, and is wide open after recent crashes to Wellington’s Dave Rowlands (Christchurch Mitsubishi), who leads the masters 35 to 44 age group, and Placemakers 45 to 49 age group classification leader Lee Johnstone sees both riders as nonstarters.
Team Thule Cycling have Brent Allnut, Matt Talbot and Scott McDonnell all chasing Rowland’s leaders jersey while Yancey Arrington and Scott Wilder from High 5 CFO and Placemakers Brendan Akeroyd, who won the Tour de Lakes B grade competition, Craig Domigan, Justin Stott and Mike White are also all capable of taking the jersey and winning the masters race overall.
Paul Gough (Cycle World), Darrell Kircher (Christchurch Mitsubishi), Garry Smith (Placemakers), Simon White (Moore Stephens Markhams) and High 5 CFO’s 1991 Tour of Southland winner Stuart Lowe, Darron Burns and Steve Scott are all potential winners of the 45 to 49 age group.
Over 50 masters leader and top 10 finisher overall in the first round, Wayne Gilderstone (High 5 CFO) is also not racing on Saturday opening up the opportunity for Brent Marryatt (Corsa Zona Rossa), Graeme Nuttridge (Team Thule Blue), Geoff Keogh (Placemakers), former Tri NZ national coach and national cycling representative and Olympian, 1986 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Greg Fraine (Cycle World Masters), Barry Tinkler (Kiwi Style Bike Tours), and Dad’s Army ironman legend Scott Molina and his team mates Phil Scott, Dave Lawson and Jeremy Heathfield to all have an impact on the points table.
2014 women’s series champion Sharlotte Lucas (Benchmark Homes) will be looking for a good result after not starting round one. Lucas, who won last month’s Le Race, and her Benchmark Homes team mates that includes last year’s series runner up Elyse Fraser will be keen to re-establish themselves at the top of the points table after a disappointing first round that featured a strong showing from Nelson’s experienced Karen Fulton (Freshchoice Richmond Pomeroys) and the two new Black Magic women’s teams.
First round women’s winner seventeen year old Christchurch cyclist Rose Marshall-Lee (Vidasana-Thule) is not starting as she is another leading cyclist recovering from a recent crash.
The elite men will tackle three laps covering 148 kilometres on the undulating circuit based near Pleasant Point, north of Timaru, while the masters and women will do two laps covering 109 kilometres.