Sam Horgan had his biggest win racing for the SUBWAY® Pro Cycling team as the team dominated the opening round of the Benchmark Homes Tour near Nelson on Saturday.
Horgan won the 130 kilometre race in three hours, twelve minutes and sixteen seconds, 14 seconds ahead of team mate Ian Smallman. SUBWAY® Pro Cycling team riders also filled fifth, sixth and seventh positions resulting in the team comfortably winning the teams classification.
“The win means a lot to me as it’s my fifth year doing the (Benchmark) series after starting out as a real novice rider,” Horgan said.
“It’s great to finally pay back the faith my sponsors have in me. It’s my biggest win with SUBWAY® Pro Cycling. Ian took second but deserved the win just as much as I did; he was just so strong.”
Seventy two riders from 12 teams started the day on two laps of a tough hilly Upper Moutere course. The field threatened to split several times on the first lap until Horgan and Smallman counter attacked after a strong break by SUBWAY® Pro Cycling’s Jason Allen was caught.
Horgan and Smallman quickly established what was to be the winning move with Hamish Schreurs from the Benchmark Homes team. The three riders were joined by Darcy Ellerm-Norton (Team Cycleworkz) and Tom Francis (L & M Group Racing) and continued to build a lead over the chasing peloton that had split into several groups.
As the leaders hit the race’s major climb up Neudrof Saddle for the second time the gap was three minutes. Approaching the final 10 kilometres Smallman hit the leaders with a strong surge on the final climb of the day which allowed Horgan to attack off the front and use his time trialling skills to solo to the win over the last five kilometres.
Photo credit: David Letsche – CyclingPhotos.co.nz
· Horgan 3:12:16, 1; Smallman 3:12:30, 2; Schreurs 3:12:57, 3; Thomas Nicholson (Tasman Wheelers) 3:13:00; 4, Tom Hubbard 3:13:24, 5; Nick Lovegrove 3:13:24, 6; Paul Odlin 3:13:43, 7; Tayla Harrison (Benchmark Homes) 3:14:06, 8.