The BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge continued on its way up the North Island today, with riders completing two stages from Palmerston North to Hunterville and then on to Wanganui for the overnight stopover tonight with prize giving at the Velodrome.
For the first time this week the weather played its part, with the rain and cold giving way to overcast but warmer and dry conditions for the 160 riders, increasing the comfort levels for the 160 plus participants and Corporate Teams in an event raising money and awareness for official charity Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand.
Today’s stages included some tough climbs, none more so than Vinegar Hill at the end of the 75km stage into Hunterville with the afternoon primarily rolling roads through to Wanganui, with the descents a test of the riders technical abilities on the tight and twisting roads.
There was little change in the Group One leaders, with Jason Thomason (Taranaki) maintaining a 6 second lead over Mel Titter and just one more second back to Mel Titter. With 4 days left to ride into Auckland on Saturday afternoon (Pukekohe), the top 3 riders have established a 1:40 lead over the chase pack, with their move in this morning’s stage looking like the deciding move in the BDO Challenge this year.
“It has been fairly challenging few days with a lot of the Group One riders working against Mel and I as a couple of the stronger two in the race. This is great though and presents a great challenge for the both of us. Climbing probably suits Mel and I when it gets a bit tougher, we can maybe get rid of a few of the challengers so we are looking forward to it, we will have to see how it works out tomorrow on the hills.”
Indeed tomorrow’s ride into Ohakune has the potential to change all of that very quickly though, with stage one taking the riders from Wanganui to Kakatahi over the Parapara’s and then the afternoon sees the riders tackle the notorious but spectacular Fields Track, with a total of 8km of climbing facing the field as they head further north.
BDO Wellington to Auckland
Day 3 – stages 5 and 6
Palmerston North to Wanganui
1 Jason Thomason Taranaki 8:37:14
2 Michael Jones Thames 8:37:20
3 Mel Titter Taranaki 8:37:21
The BDO Wellington to Auckland
Sunday 9 Feb
Stage 1 8.30am Lower Hutt to the summit of the Rimutaka Hill
Stage 2 Midday Ride through the Wairarapa from Featherston to Masterton
Monday 10 Feb
Stage 3 8.30am Masterton to Pahiatua
Stage 4 1.00pm Pahiatua to Palmerston North
Tuesday 11 Feb
Stage 5 8.00am Palmerston North to Hunterville
Stage 6 12.45pm Hunterville to Wanganui
Wednesday 12 Feb
Stage 7 8.30am Wanganui to Kakatahi
Stage 8 12.15pm Kakatahi to Ohakune, via famous Fields Track
Thursday 13 Feb
Stage 9 8.00am Ohakune to Turangi
Stage 10 1.00pm Turangi to Taupo
Friday 14 Feb
Stage 11 8.00am Taupo to Te Awamutu
Saturday 15 Feb
Stage 12 8.00am Hamilton to Glen Murray
Stage 13 12.45pm Glen Murray to Pukekohe