Media Release - 14 January 2021
Hot day on bike for stage 2 of NZ Cycle Classic
Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy's Luke Mudgway has gone straight from the offensive to the defensive after claiming the Yellow Jersey in a sensational ride during stage two of the UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic in Masterton today.
Mudgway won the 158.1km stage in 3hr 39mins 41 secs while New Zealand National team member Corbin Strong crossed the line 17 seconds behind in second place, narrowly pipping Mudgway’s teammate Aaron Gate over the line. It was a dominating performance by Mudgway who earlier in the stage won the two King of the Mountains, and more than enough points to claim the Yellow Jersey.
Minutes after finishing the stage, with temperatures soaring into the high 20s, Mudgway said he was already thinking about defending the Yellow Jersey.
“It was pretty tough. It was quite hot, and I came here pretty open minded and just stayed and raced at the front all day. There wasn't much wind but just the heat - I quite enjoyed it, the course really suited me today,” he said. “Defend (is what I need to do now). I think I've got a bit of a buffer now. I think I need to get my climbing legs on and get rid of that Christmas pudding over the next couple of days and then try and get up Admiral Hill.”
Today’s stage snaked through rolling, countryside lined with paddocks of sheep, cows and forestry blocks before riders endured a short hilltop climb to finish outside the Masterton Golf Club, home of Sir Bob Charles. The first 20km, the peloton stayed largely together despite a few attempts off the front largely led by Couplands Bakeries Toby Atkins.
Strong, who began the day in the white U23 classification jersey, attacked off the front and won the first sprint but it wasn't until the 68km mark that a breakaway stuck with eight riders taking a 30 second lead. This group included: Mudgway, NZ National team's Ollie Jones, St George Continental's Bailey O'Donnell, Coupland's Nick Kergozou and Atkins, Trust House's Adrian Hegyvary, Wellington City Council's Cathal Guiney and Kiwi Velo's Alex Williams. This group took turns to drive ahead of the peloton at one point having a 3min 40 sec lead.
Mudgway, Atkins and Hegyvary took turns at driving the breakaway forward with Mudgway being rewarded, winning two King of the Mountains. By 115km, the peloton began to close the gap with Black Spoke, the NZ National team, the Cycling NZ team and the NZ Cycling Project team all taking turns in front.
With 10km to go, things began to get interesting. Hegyvary attacked off the front and at one point lead the break away by 30secs, but Mudgway dug deep to reel him in. The pair was followed behind by Jones and O'Donnell with the peloton chasing hard and with about 3km to go Mudgway went for it and held on to the lead up the final small hill climb while his teammates got Aaron Gate in the perfect position to have a battle for second place with Strong, who just beat him over the line.
Strong praised his team’s mates as well as Mudgway’s performance.
“It was quite a nice finish. I like this finish up the wee climb. It was 50:50 if the breakaway was going to come back or not but we were not to stressed as we had Ollie Jones up there it was a big GC directive from our team, so the break ended up mostly coming back and it was a bunch gallop for second and the team did an awesome job of Regan [Gough] and Laurence [Pithie] leading us into the bottom of the hill,” he said “I was able to get up for second on this stage and those guys had top 10 finishes which is good, but it was a pretty phenomenal ride by Luke Mudgway to stay away like that and he’s going to be a hard man to beat after today.”
Race director Jorge Sandoval said today’s racing was aggressive and he looks forward to tomorrow’s 127km stage that sees riders head south from Masterton to the pretty wine village of Martinborough.
The 2020 NZ Cycle Classic can take place thanks to the generous support from Trust House, Wellington City Council, Mobile Communications Service, Wizwireless, Fagan Motors, Mitre 10 Mega Masterton, Cross Country Rentals, Tineli and Lion Foundation plus all three Wairarapa District Councils.
UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic Stage Two placings.
1. Luke Mudgway, Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy
2. Corbin Strong, NZ National Team,
3. Aaron Gate, Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy
Trust House Yellow Jersey: Luke Mudgway, Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy
Fagan Motors Under 23 Jersey: Corbin Strong, NZ National team
WIZWireless Sprints Classification Jersey: Corbin Strong, NZ National team
Mobile Communication Service Most Aggressive Rider Jersey: Toby Atkins, Couplands Bakeries.