New Zealand representative Lauren Ellis from the Warmup Pushbikes Cycling Team won the third round of the woman’s Benchmark Homes elite cycling tour held in North Canterbury on Saturday, collecting the tour leader’s jersey in the process.
Ellis, a World Championship Silver Medallist and Commonwealth Games medallist on the track, won round two of the series in Timaru, rode strongly to make it two wins from two starts in the series.
Ellis was clearly the strongest female in the field of over 90 riders with Cycling Otago’s Corrine Smit the only other female able to stay in contact with Ellis and the main bunch in the 141 kilometre race held in tough and challenging weather conditions.
Team Manager Tony Cleall said he was pleased with the way the team rode in the conditions that included heavy rain and some wind.
“There was some sunshine at times too, but it was very cold. The team was prominent at the front end of the race with Scott (McDonnell) making the key chasing break with 50 kilometres to go. It was a solid day from the team.”
Shane Archbold (Rieker Cycles) won the men’s race after he slipped away from the peloton in a break of 11 riders in the first half of the race. The break included most of the top contenders including under 23 national road champion Michael Vink (Thule), previous Benchmark Homes stage winner Sam Horgan and Jason Allan, both from the Subway Pro Cycling team.
The Warmup Pushbikes Cycling Team had four riders finish comfortably in the first half of the strong field, with McDonnell the third masters rider to cross the line following Masters stage winner Gordon McCauley (Moa Team) and Masters series leader Mark Spessott (Cycleworkz).
McDonnell was the third rider from a category two team to finish, with John McKenzie fourth, Ben Wortelboer fifth and Jerry Ingles sixth category two team riders to finish.
Women’s individual series standing; L. Ellis 20, K Fulton 18, C.Smitt 14.