Jason Thomason (Taranaki) took a stranglehold on the BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge, extending his Group One lead to over 3 minutes at the end of day five as stages 9 and 10 took the 160 riders from Ohakune into Turangi and then Taupo today.
The big change in group one however saw Richard Jones drop from second place on general classification to 7th after losing over 8 minutes on the 85km morning stage from Ohakune to Turangi through National Park.
In the women’s general classification Olwyn Gilbert has a commanding lead of close to an hour over New Zealand paralympian Fiona Southorn.
2Degrees Mobile continue to dominate the BDO Corporate Challenge, with teams vying for the chance to donate a prize pool of $100,000 in value to a charity of their choice. With wins in both stages today 2Degrees have continued their dominance of this category, introduced for the first time in this year’s BDO Challenge.
Should they safely negotiate the final 3 stages of the BDO Challenge, 2Degrees will be making a call to a very happy charity with news of their prize package that includes cash, accountancy services, legal services and the use of a Ford car for a year.
The event is however less about the front of the field than it is about those everyday New Zealanders taking on what is for some of them, the biggest physical challenge of their lives as people of all ages and backgrounds take on the journey up the North Island.
From 79 year old Ray Hyndman (Lower Hutt) to father and daughter Bruce and Jane Carswell (Hamilton) or 64 year old dairy goat farmer Phil Clapham (Timaru) each has a great story to tell as they share the road with other like minded and determined New Zealanders riding for themselves and official charity Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand.
Following the Ohakune prize giving on Wednesday night an auction was held to raise funds for MS, with over $7,000 going towards MS research. Highlights of the auction were two tickets including hospitality to Bruce Springsteen in Auckland, two tickets including hospitality to the ASB Women’s Tennis Classic in 2015 and a pair of boxing gloves signed by Sugar Ray Leonard.
Riders now rest up in Taupo tonight before tackling the longest stage of the Challenge tomorrow, with a 122km ride to Te Awamutu before the final day’s two stages from Hamilton to Glen Murray and then to Pukekohe and the welcome sight of the finish line after close to 900km of riding through some tough weather conditions and amazing New Zealand countryside.
BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge
1 Jason Thomason Taranaki 15:14:27
2 Michael Jones Thames 15:17:53
3 Mel Titter Taranaki 15:17:54
1 Olwen Gilbert Auckland 16:40:51
2 Fiona Southorn Whangarei 17:33:06
3 Anita Tegel Hamilton 17:51:57
BDO Corporate Challenge
1 2Degrees Mobile
3 ASB (Go Bro)
Full results for all categories can be found at www.dynamoevents.co.nz
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