Australia Day turned out to be quite symbolic for the Huon Salmon- Genesys Wealth Advisers team today at the 2013 NZCT Cycle Classic in Manawatu.
Once again they showed why they are the number one ranked cycling team in Australia. It was a show of strength and professionalism from the riders as they controlled the peloton through out the day.
Racing over a 135.3km course and finishing on what is bound to become a climb in NZ cycle racing history, the Saddle Hill top at the impressive Meridian Wind Farm.
Again the Manawatu region turned on a beautiful sunny day for the riders and spectators for the fourth Stage of this event.
There was to be a quiet start to today’s race with the Huon-Genesys boys quite content to control the bunch and tempo, a pace that sometimes would reach 65km plus an hour with some favourable winds playing its part in challenging the riders throughout the day.
Once again the early sprint points came at the 28km mark and with good lead out help from Armstrong Motor group team mates Jason Christie and Nick Bain, Paul Odlin secured the 3 points on offer to increase his lead in that classification. Second went to Christie and Huon-Genesys rider Pat Shaw third.
A move by Ryan Wills (NZCT NZ) and U23 rider Kieran Hambrook (Team Tineli) was able to escape off the front of the peloton at the 45 km mark and they were soon to be joined by GMP-Data Australian riders Joseph Lewis and Geoff Straub (Seight Custom Clothing).
Driven by Wills, these riders were able to gain 3 minutes quickly on the peloton and looked to be increasing the pace as the peloton were quite content to allow the move to go, with none of these riders threatening general classification it seemed obvious the lead would increase. At times the main bunch was rolling along at 25km p/h.
But the plan of the day came after the 100km mark when Huon Genesys decided it was time to reel the break in and with the help from the Drapac Pro racing and NZCT teams, the 3 minutes would be reduced as the Hill top finish loomed.
As the riders hit the base of the climb it was Michael Torckler (NZCT NZ) who showed his cards and attacked, with the Yellow jersey of Nathan Earle in tow they gapped the peloton as they entered the 13% terrain.
Not content to follow, Earle countered Torckler and settled into a gruelling tempo to solo over the KOM. Earle never looked like being caught as he entered the Meridian Wind Farm and finished what he described as “A dream come true” Stage 4.
Torckler was able to maintain his second position to the finish.
“To win a hill top finish in yellow for me is a dream come true” Earle told Roadcycling.co.nz “once again my team were amazing, we never panicked and the boys gave it 150%, Campbell (Flakemore) and Joe (Cooper) were like weapons on the front all day”
“Coming to the climb I wasn’t sure how it would go, Torckler as I expected attacked and from there it was up to him to try and get rid of me, I had nothing to prove” Earle said.
“With 3kms to go I just hit him and he didn’t respond, so I knew I had to give it all I had”
“I did run out of steam at the entrance to the wind farm but by then the stage was mine”
Earle will hold the yellow jersey into the final stage.
Tomorrow will see the fifth stage of the race run over a new course, a 117km circuit from Palmerston North Square and return. The race will commence at 10.30am and finish at approximately 1.15pm.