Olympic rower Hamish Bond has scooped first place at the BDO Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge’s elite mens race with Southlander Corbin Strong coming in third.
More than 5700 people raced in the event’s 13 road and mountain bike races over two days on Friday and Saturday.
Slogging out the 160-kilometres Holden Elite Mens Classic on Saturday, Bond finished in 3 hours 46 minutes, 15 seconds.
Bond is best known for rowing, with six consecutive world titles and gold at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games and the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
The 32-year-old finished two minutes ahead of the second and third placed riders: Dylan Kennett from Rukuhia, south of Hamilton, and Invercargill’s Corbin Strong.
Bond got creative with his similes when describing the moment he broke from the pack.
“It was a little bit chilly around the back with rain, but I ended up in a strong bunch and we worked pretty well,” he said.
“I thought, I can’t go to the line with anyone else, so I kicked liked a… small child [kicks].
“I had to get away up Hatepe [hill] and use my TT [time-trial] experience.
“So yeah: my hamstrings are pretty cooked now.”
Bond’s average speed in the race was 42 kmh.
The Dunedin-born athlete switched from rowing to cycling after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“I’m slowly progressing and I’m learning how to use my abilities to produce results,” he said.
“This is probably my best result yet.”
Ione Johnson from Wellington won the 100-kilometre Bayleys Women’s Classic Race in 2 hours 40 minutes. Split-seconds later, Elyse Fraser of Christchurch and Teresa Adam of Waitakere followed her over the finish line.
The Huka XL Elite mountain biking saw a clash of the titans.
Britain’s three-time under-23 national mountain biking champion Frazer Clacherty’s pipped three-time race-winner Sam Shaw from Rotorua in the 80 km race.
Clacherty and Shaw battled for the lead several times in the race, as rain drenched the track halfway through.
“Eighty k’s is a long way, so I thought we’d take a while to get going, but the boys started off really fast so it caught me by surprise,” he said.
Clacherty said he had a “small crash” early in the race, but battled to get back to the front.
“I kept fighting, and before I knew it I was in first place, then second place.” he said.
“I caught Sam [Shaw] who was leading and I was with him for about an hour. We were just knocking a good tempo and then I attacked about 20 minutes from the finish.”
Shaw said he had more than a few near misses on the Craters Mountain Bike Park tracks, but kept on his seat.
“It started out really nice, but 1.5 hours in it rained, which made things really spicy,” he said.
“It changed the order of the lead quite a lot, and kept things real interesting.”
The Rotorua-based biker said he was stoked to be racing some world-class talent. ]
Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff won the female division of the Huka XL Elite Race with 4 hours 3 minutes, followed by Samara Sheppard [4h 5m] and Bulls’ Kym Skerman [4h 54m].
Holden Men’s Classic Race, 160 km
1. Hamish Bond (CAMBRIDGE): 3:46:14
2. Dylan Kennett (RUKUHIA): +2:00
3. Corbin Strong (INVERCARGILL): +2:00
Bayleys Women’s Classic Race, 100 km
1. Ione Johnson (KARORI): 02:40:42
2. Elyse Fraser (CHRISTCHURCH): +0
3. Teresa Adam (WAITAKERE): +0
Huka XL Elite Race, 80 km
1. 9324 Jolanda Neff (THAL) 04:03:05
2. 9303 Samara Sheppard (NSW) 04:05:53
3. 9301 Kym Skerman (BULLS) 04:54:20
1. 9317 Frazer Clacherty (WHITBY) 03:39:32
2. 9304 Sam Shaw (ROTORUA) 03:41:42
3. 9306 Caleb Bottcher (PALMERSTON NORTH) 03:48:28
SBS Bank Tour of Southland