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Windy Conditions for Secondary Schools Nationals
1 Oct, 2014

The New Zealand Schools Road Cycling Championships wrapped up in windy, but sunny conditions today with points races at the Manfeild Auto Course in Manawatu.

Sophie Pulford (Saint Peter's Cambridge) worked hard in the 24km women's under-20 points race and stayed in the game winning the last two points laps and winning in style with a big lead, to take away the national title.

"It was really tough racing out there today with fierce competition from top riders." said Pulford.

It was a challenging weekend for riders across all 12 age-grades as weather played a huge part throughout the entire weekend. The weather was so extreme yesterday the road race was cancelled. This is only the second time this has happened in the 46 year history of the event.

Wind was a major factor on day three, in usual under-20 points race fashion, which made life on the bike very difficult.

This win a huge surprise for Sophie as she has had half the year off because of health problems.

"This was my first major race back and despite the weather it was a fantastic weekend and I am very proud to win this event. I had so much fun today and encourage other riders to get out have fun and enjoy themselves" said Pulford.

The 39km under-20 men's points race was a tighter affair with just one point separating the top two riders.

Nate Levin (Palmerston North Boys' High) was crowned national champion ahead of John Newman-Watt (Massey High).

The win was a surprise for Levin who was out riding for fellow team mate Luke Mudgway but happened to be placed in a break away and went from there.

"The race was full gas the whole way and very hard in the wind. But all and all it felt good and I am very happy to be walking away with the win, I definitely wasn’t expecting it."

Palmerston North Boys' High School also took out the Under 17 Points Race with Campbell Stewart winning by 12 points. This makes it the third year in a row Campbell has been on top of the podium in the points race at Nationals.

Another local making it a three peat was Michaela Drummond (Palmerston North Girls' High School) who won the Under 17 Girls Points race with 14 points.

For the first time ever the top boys school trophy went to Takapuna Grammar, and Baradene College took away the girls trophy for the third time in a row.

Today's racing concludes the New Zealand Schools Road Cycling Championships which have seen some top racing from record numbers, despite the windy Manawatu conditions.

Click to enlarge...
Credit Jack McKenzie - Sophie Pulford in solo style

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