Sequoia Cooper from the H & J’s Outdoor World team and Paul Odlin from SUBWAY® Pro Cycling won the Around Brunner cycle race in Greymouth today.
Cooper defended the title she won last year out sprinting Christchurch cyclist Julie Grant from the Benchmark Homes team to win in three hours and 27 minutes.
Odlin continued his run of fine form to beat his SUBWAY® Pro Cycling teammates Dylan Kennett and Sam Horgan to the line after breaking away from the leaders five kilometres from the finish to win in three hours and six minutes.
Kennett and Horgan crossed the line 24 seconds after Odlin with veteran cyclist Gordon McCauley, who for the past year has been focused on triathlon and ironman racing, clinging on to Horgan’s wheel to finish a very credible fourth.
The pace was on right from the start of the 130 kilometre race with numerous early attacks and very aggressive racing on a course that did not offer any challenging hill climbs.
The early aggression took its toll and resulted in a bunch of 17 leading riders as the race approached Jacksons and the turn off towards Lake Brunner and Moana.
With 25 kilometres remaining an elite group of seven riders that contained Odlin, Kennett and Horgan from SUBWAY® Pro Cycling, Dan Barry and Will Bowman from Benchmark Homes, Tom Hubbard from the Homestyle team and McCauley had formed at the front of the race.
This group continued to race aggressively with the key moment coming 15 kilometres from the finish where Bennett and Odlin bridged across to McCauley and Horgan who had escaped up the road after another series of vicious attacks.
Once the four riders regrouped it was obvious it was going to be a SUBWAY® Pro Cycling win, it was just a matter of which rider from the team would cross the finish line first.
McCauley knew he was the odd rider out. “Even though I have not raced much in recent times I still can read a race and I just made sure I was in any move that had a Subway or Benchmark rider in it,” he said.
“Once it was only four of us away and I was with three Subway guys I settled for fourth as I was just happy to be there; I felt like I was in a Subway sandwich over the last 10 kilometres.”
Odlin thought the racing was very positive and said the pressure went on from the start. “The attacks did start early and just didn’t stop,” he said. “Breaks would go, then get reeled back in and we’d reform, then another break would go again.”
“We were very keen to force things along and keep the intensity high. It was just what we needed before Korea next week and to finish one, two and three was great.”
Odlin said he was really happy with the win and it showed he was still in good form for next week’s Tour de Korea where he hopes to defend the sprinters classification jersey he won last year.
Josie Giddens was the third female home, two and a hold minutes behind Cooper and Grant.