Road racing in the south looks to be in good health, with Southland riders producing strong results in the annual junior cycle tour.
About 130 riders from around the country took part in the three-day six-stage Yunca Junior Tour of Southland, considered a breeding ground for New Zealand road cyclists.
Entries were up on last year, with more Southland riders taking part and this was reflected in the results with three divisions won by southern riders.
The unluckiest ride of the day would have to be Rhylee Akeroyd, who had an unfortunate end to her campaign, crashing in sight of the line in the U17 girls race. She had taken a one second lead into the start of the stage and needed to win to secure time bonuses and the yellow jersey. After receiving medical treatment, she was able to cross the finish line but could not hold on to the yellow jersey, with Henrietta Christie taking the title. Akeroyd was able to secure the sprint jersey.
The U13 divisions were won by Caitlin Kelly and Magnus Jamieson with Kayne Borrie in third, while Corbin Strong overcame a two-second deficit in the final stage on fellow Southlander Hamish Keast to claim the hotly-contested U19 mens’ division. Mitchel Fitzsimons was second in the U17 boys division.
Strong, who won a world track title earlier this year, said competition for the U19 title had been extremely competitive.
“It was a really good tour. At the start it looked as though it could have been Xander White or Bailey O’Donnell but in the wind at Gorge Rd on Saturday it all changed. Hamish had a really good race but it came down to the wire on the final stage which is good racing,” he said.
“We knew that the hills would provide the opportunity for some gaps to open up.
“I saved my legs at the start and then had a couple of goes to test everyone else and going up the final climb I knew it was all or nothing so gave it everything and got a good gap. I had some riders with me and they pulled some good laps with me and I pushed through to take the two seconds.”
Tour director Danielle Ralph said the racing throughout the three days had been extremely competitive.
“There wasn’t much between many of the grades and many of the divisions were determined on the final stage. The U19 Men’s grade was particularly competitive – as expected – with the lead changing hands two or three times.
“It takes something special to win a yellow jersey on this tour and with the challenging conditions we had, those riders can be particularly proud of their efforts.
“It’s been a fantastic tour with some of the best performances coming from new riders or those riding their first tour. That’s really pleasing, to see the smile on the faces on those riders who might not be contesting for yellow but are still having a fantastic time.
“The determination shown by those youngsters is a good sign for the future of the sport, particularly with the fellowship and sportsmanship shown by all riders.”
Focus now turns to the track with a carnival at the veldrome on Tuesday night, and the South Island Schools Track Championships to be held on Wednesday.
- U13 Girls: Caitlin Kelly, 1:52:06, 1; Geraldene Leef, @17secs, 2; Chelsea Nicholas, @45secs, 3. Sprint: Caitlin Kelly.
- U13 boys: Magnus Jamieson, 1:46:18, 1; Jonny Barclay, @3secs, 2; Kayne Borrie, @19secs, 3. Sprint: Magnus Jamieson, 1.
- U15 Girls: Ally Gothard, 3:29.44, 1; Bee Townsend, @25secs, 2; Amelia Sykes, @3.29, 3. Sprint: Bee Townsend. QOM: Ally Gothard.
- U15 Boys: Jaxson Whyte, 3:15:25, 1; Blake Bailey, @23secs, 2; Jonathan Fish, @35secs, 3. Sprint: Jaxson Whyte. KOM: Jonathan Fish.
- U17 Girls: Henrietta Christie, 4:51:16, 1; Rhylee Akeroyd, @7 secs, 2; Maddi Douglas, @7secs, 3. Sprint: Rhylee Akeroyd. QOM: Henrietta Christie.
- U17 Boys: Boston Bright, 5:22:28, 1; Mitchel Fitzsimons @32secs, 2; Kyle Hoskin, @42 secs, 3. Sprint: Kaio Lart. KOM: Kyle Hoskin.
- U19 Girls: Cecilia Crooks, 4:49:41, 1; Connie O’Brien, @1:24, 2; Sami Donnelly, @1:40secs, 3. Sprint: Sami Donnelly. QOM: Connie O’Brien.
- U19 Men: Sprint: Corbin Strong, 7:11:48, 1; Hamish Keast, @23secs, 2; Bailey O’Donnell, @2:55, 3. Kiaan Watts. KOM: Keegan Hornblow.