The North Shore City Grand Prix crowned two new worthy champions last night in Takapuna Beach. Proving how specialised this form of cycling is, criterium sprinters Emma Petersen & Peter Latham took glory at the end of the night.
With an Elite Women's field stacked with contenders, it was ex-Olympic rower Sonia Waddell who opened the account first, claiming the night's first sprint. NZ Team Pursuiter Kaytee Boyd followed with 2 consecutive sprints before Waikato's Emma Petersen launched off the front. Petersen claimed the following sprint & was then joined by Oceania Champion Bridie O'Donnell (Australia). This proved to be the decisive move of the race with the 2 riders working in harmony to stave off chasing rider including Boyd & triple Grand Prix champion Marina Duvnjak.
It was out of the final corner where the diminutive Petersen out kicked the powerful O'Donnell in the desperate gallop for the line.
Duvnjak rounded out the podium with Boyd fourth.
By the start of the Elite Men's race, the bars & pavements of Hurstmere Rd were overflowing with expectant crowds anticipating the night's final showdown.
It was all Bici Vida for the first 10 minutes with Patrick Bevin
(Taupo) & Alex Ray (Auckland) sharing the sprint primes. NZ Timetrial champion, Subway-Avanti's Gordon McCauley claimed Sprint 3 before the most significant break of the night formed taking with it U23 NZ rep Clinton Avery (Rotorua), Eric Drower (Subway-Avanti), Kiwivelo's Shem Rodger (Waikato) & Patrick Bevin. With Drower & Bevin sharing the sprint prizes along the way, the field's strong teams were happy to let the break sit no more than 250m off the front. However, with the mid-race antics finished with 5 minutes to race, it was time for the serious shake-up for the finishline.
It was here that a masterclass in power & timing was delivered. With 2 laps to go the field was strung the length of Hurstmere Rd with Kiwivelo riding for NZ Champion Peter Latham, Bici Vida riding for Mike Northey & Patrick Bevin & Subway-Avanti for Gordon McCauley.
Storming into the finishline stretch, European professional Tim Gudsell who had remained anonymous until the penultimate lap, led his teammate Peter Latham through the final corner. From here it was Latham who finished the business, crossing the line ahead of Northey & McCauley in a superb demonstration of teamwork & judgement.
Thanks go to North Shore City Council, Takapuna Beach, SRAM, Giro Helmets & RICOH