Gate takes Stage One

Media Release - Wednesday 15 January 2020

Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy got their 2020 season underway in style today with a perfectly timed run that saw Aaron Gate win stage one of the New Zealand Classic being staged in the Wairarapa.

Gate, the defending New Zealand Cycle Classic champion, took out the 122km stage in a sprint finish up Lansdowne Hill in 2hr 49min 41 secs while Australian rider Jensen Plowright, riding for Team BridgeLane finished second and Kiwi Dylan Kennett, riding for St George Continental finished third.

At the presentation ceremony held at the Masterton Golf Club, Gate told the crowd he couldn't think of a better way to begin his 2020 season. He also thanked his team mates for executing such precision to ensure he was in the perfect position heading into the final 1km, including the short, sharp hill climb.

"I know it sounds like a cliche, but I would not have been able to do it without the guys. That clear cut (strategy) was awesome and they did it perfectly for me," he said.
"The boys led it up from the bottom of the corner and I did the last 200m ... job done."

Plowright, who also was awarded the Fagan Motors Under-23 Classification Jersey admitted the final hill climb was a tough end to the otherwise undulating stage held in cool and relatively calm conditions. He paid tribute to Gate, saying Black Spoke had timed their run perfectly.

Kennett, who was also awarded the Sprint Ace jersey, also commented on the stage.

"It was a cool finish. You don't see many finishes like that in New Zealand."

Even though there were several attempts to establish a breakaway in the first 30km of racing, nothing was successful, until 68km when Frank Sutton (WBS Cycling Team) and Logan Griffin (Cabjaks - Castelli) powered out in front of the peloton with a 32 second lead. The pair worked hard together racing through the rolling, rural countryside between Masterton and Eketahuna and extended their lead to 2mins 04 secs.

However at 100km, the peloton which was lead by riders from Black Spoke, New Zealand Cycling Project and Team Bridgelane, began to put the pressure on. They eventually clawed back any advantage made by Sutton and Griffin, so that by the time the riders were within 7km of the finish line, they were all back together again.

New Zealand Cycle Classic Race director Jorge Sandoval described today's racing as aggressive.

"It proved the strong teams here, are here to win and the likes of Black Spoke did everything right to get Aaron to get the stage win. What a great start to the Tour."

The New Zealand Cycle Classic is a five-stage elite international men’s road cycling race being staged in the Wairarapa from January 15th – 19th. The Tour is the only Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 sanctioned race to be held in New Zealand in 2020 and is being raced just over an hour’s drive from Wellington, New Zealand’s Capital City.

It continues tomorrow with a 121km stage that starts and finishes in Masterton, but takes riders out into the Gladstone region.

This year's Tour Classic is made possible thanks to the generous support from Trust House, WBS, Mobile Communications Service, WIZwireless, Fagan Motors, Mitre 10 Mega Masterton, Cross Country Rentals and Lion Foundation plus the Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa District Councils. Sandoval also wants to thank the Ulysses Motorcycle Club and the New Zealand Police for their support as well as the more than 60 specialised volunteers who carry out a variety of roles from marshalling, setting up the finish line and driving in the convoy.

Stage One results: 122km
1. Aaron Gate (Black Spoke) 2hr 49m 41s
2. Jensen Plowright (Team Bridgelane)
3. Dylan Kennett (St George Continental)

Classification Results
Trust House Individual General Classification Jersey:
Aaron Gate

WIZ Wireless Sprints Classification Jersey:
Dylan Kennett

Mitre 10 Mega Masterton King of the Mountain Classification Jersey:
Marcus Culey

Fagan Motors Under-23 Classificiation Jersey:
Jensen Plowright

Mobile Communications Service (MCS) Most Aggressive Rider Jersey:
Logan Griffin

ENDS

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