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Professional mountain biker and junior world champion Anton Cooper lead his Christchurch Boys High School team to overall victory in the Tour of New Zealand’s final stage, a criterium in Wellington on Saturday.
After over 700 kilometres of racing and seven stages in the North and South Islands, teams and individuals went head to head to decide overall honours in the technical criterium. The final stage was raced around Parliament and saw the talented school boy team fend off the challenge of top North Island team Air Force Ohakea.
The leading North Island solo rider, Japan based New Zealander Dan Underwood, beat the South Island’s individual solo leader Geoff Williamson to claim the Tour’s individual rider honours.
The North Island’s top individual female Dian Bell beat the South Island’s Jan Litt to claim the female honours.
The Christchurch Boys High School team rode a very good criterium with Cooper attacking from the gun and building an early lead that was well covered by his team mates and never threatened as the 17 year old Copper crossed the finish line half a lap ahead of the best placed Air Force rider.
In the individual race event organiser Simon Yarrell, who was the second placed South Island rider, managed to get up for second after passing Williamson in the closing metres of the criterium.
“Racing around Parliament was a fantastic way to finish off the tour,” Yarrell said. “After starting simultaneously at Stirling Point near Bluff and Cape Reinga a week ago it has been just an unforgettable journey that has taken in some of New Zealand’s most iconic scenery.”
Yarrell said all the lifestyle-publication writers from Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China and the UK that rode in the event agreed the tour was a great advertisement for New Zealand as an international visitor destination.
“The international riders and media were just blown away by the event, our wonderful scenery and riding routes and along with the Kiwi riders many are already planning to come back next year and bring more cyclists and supporters back with them.”