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Davison Surprises in Benchmark Round
11 Apr, 2013

Full time triathlete Tom Davison (Scotty Browns-Vision Systems) had his best road racing result winning the second round of Benchmark Homes Elite Cycling Series in Nelson today, the Tasman Classic, with an impressive display of climbing in the last 500 metres.
Davison won the 132 kilometre race in three hours and twenty four minutes, making his winning move at the top of a tough 20 percent final climb that led to the finishing line, leaving Tom Hubbard (Homestyle), Tim Rush (Calder Stewart) and Scott Thomas (L & M Racing) unable to match his climbing over the final 200 metres.
 
"We were all looking after Robin (Reid), who was clearly our team leader, but his legs were pretty stuffed after his solo effort in winning the GrapeRide yesterday, so the team started looking after both of us and it paid off," Davison said.
 
The 23 year triathlete joked he probably 'wouldnt go for a run' after todays race, as he now looks towards heading to the United States in two weeks to start his American triathlon campaign. 

The course had several tough climbs, including the four kilometre long Spooners saddle, and this was where the first significant breaks occurred which saw a group of six riders get away to be chased by another bunch of 14 riders which included the series elite leader Brad Evans (Fitlab).
 
Evan's was dropped after 70 kilometres and the two front bunches eventually came together with 35 kilometres remaining. L & M Group Racing took control of the lead bunch, riding tempo on the front as riders waited for the final set of hills to launch attack.

National Under 19 representative Max Beckett (Bread of Europe All About Plumbing) attacked with 10 kilometres remaining, eventually being caught with only two kilometres left. It was then left to who had the best climbing legs for the final tough climb that saw L & M Group's Scott Thomas make the first move, followed by Homestyles Tom Hubbard, Tim Rush (Calder Stewart), Thomas' teammate Joe Chapman and Davidson.

"It wasn't until I saw the finish line about 50 metres in front of me that I thought I had it won," Davison said. "It was just balls to the wall the whole way up and is definitely my best road racing result."
 
Hubbard finished second and took the Under 23 series leaders jersey and Rush was third.

Two teams members of the New Zealand team's pursuit squad that finished fifth in London, Jamie Nielsen (Altherm Window Systems) and Lauren Ellis (Benchmark Homes), combined to escape from the field early on, establishing a lead of over seven minutes at one stage, until Ellis out climbed Nielsen to win in three hours and three minutes, and claim the series overall leaders jersey.
 
"We managed to get away after the first climb and it felt like we were back on the track really, in the TP (team pursuit) racing with each other, just lapping it out until the finish and then it was everyone for themselves and I managed to get the win, so it was great," Ellis said.

Ellis' Benchmark Homes teammate and touring professional and multiple world championship medal winner Linda Villumsen came home strongly to take third, almost 10 minutes behind.

Lee Johnstone (Warmup Cycling) made it two wins in a row in the series to take a firm grip on the masters tour leaders over 35 jersey. Although dropped on the four kilometre Spooners climb at the 25 kilometre mark the Christchurch rider was well supported by his team ,mates and several other teams to successfully rejoin the leaders after 30 kilometres of effort.
 
He then showed strong climbing ability to ride away from the leaders on the final tough climb to the finish line, surprising not only himself but his fellow riders who were expecting him to fade on the steep gradient.
 
"I looked at the final hill before the race and though there was no way I could win today, so was really surprised I won," he said. "I really have to credit my team mates as quite a few of us went off on Spooners and we were about a minute and a half down at one stage and the boys got on the front and drove it really hard and we were lucky to get back on.
 
Johnstone's teammate Darron Burns was second with Masters over 45 series leader Mark Spessot (Cycle World) coming third.

Click to enlarge...
Credit BRUCE WILSON PHTOGRAPHY - Davison savours the victory

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