Sports · 30 Sep 2019

Sexton Enjoys Double Hit Out With Team Championship Opener

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Tom Sexton claimed the first round of the Grassroots Trust Team Championship presented by Dynamo Events in Cambridge on a day dominated by bunch sprints. We caught up with the track World Championship medallist afterwards.
By Ed Wright

Tom Sexton claimed the first round of the Grassroots Trust Team Championship presented by Dynamo Events in Cambridge on a day dominated by bunch sprints. We caught up with the track World Championship medallist afterwards.

Day 1 of the 2019-2020 Team Championship took in a two-part day of racing with a team time trial followed by road race around Cambridge roads that we may well see again in February at the Elite Road National Championships. For Tom Sexton, one of a large New Zealand team set to contest the Oceania Track Cycling Championships, it was a well worthwhile day out on familiar roads. “The two races were a pretty good hit out on the road again and good to be racing some familiar faces again,” Sexton told RoadCycling. “The team did really well in the team time trial and then in the road race it was good to get a good session out there.”

Sexton and his Team Central Roofing Revolution outfit finished fifth in the team time trial and then backed up with the 64km road race in the afternoon. For the podium in category 1 – comprised of Sexton, Nick Kergozou and Regan Gough – multiple races in a day are nothing out of the ordinary; and at this point in the season, one that is still young for the track team, the format definitely has its advantages. “The multiple races in one day was a good way to get a decent amount of work out and see how the body pulls up after the TTT, and then having to try back up in the road race really stresses the system which is good for me at the moment.”
Regan Gough, Tom Sexton and Nick Kergozou on the podium after round 1 of the Team Championship, photo Dynamo Events

The short nature of the road race, compared to other Team Championship outings, saw Sexton anticipating a high energy road race; and he wasn’t disappointed. “The race being quite short meant it was lightning fast from the start. I knew how it would sort of play out with 6 or so riders going up the road before another 6-10 would bridge across and it would be a sprint from that reduced group which played out pretty much as planned, unfortunately for me the company in the group was very good with a lot of guys being powerful enough to go for a late flyer and then all having 5 boys from the track squad in there it was going to be a difficult sprint coming into the end,” Sexton said.

Sexton knew that the strength of the Coupland Bakeries team, already victorious in the team time trial, was a key train to mark in the run in. The team were built around Nick Kergozou going into the finale; and Tom was not about to miss that train. “Knowing they wanted to set Nick up for the sprint was good for me and a few others just to let them chase anything that went away. Coming into the finish Regan took a late flyer that I thought would have been the move to win but with Couplands on the front they kept the pace too high to let anyone get too big of a lead.”

The sprint was far from a textbook one for Sexton and co as a late crash upset matters. But Sexton was able to hold it together to secure the win and the first leader’s jersey of the 2019-2020 series. “Coming into the final corner I knew how tight it is having raced it as a junior so knew I had to just take it long in the sprint and go before the corner just to make sure I was clear coming into it,” he explained. “Unfortunately 2 riders ended up slipping out which disrupted the bunch and gave me a little bit of a gap before a drag to the line between me Regan and Nick.”

Looking ahead the spring-summer is going to be busy for Sexton who heads to the Oceania Championships next month before the Tour of Southland and then the beginning of his World Cup season. We hope he starts as he means to go on!

Source: roadcycling.co.nz Republished by arrangement.