Bici Vida rider Mike Northey took the A Grade race honours again last night this time from Nick Lovegrove of Subway-Avanti. Lovegrove led out on lap one taking Northey and three other riders with him, leaving the 45+ strong field to trail in their wake for the entire race. On the finish Northey and Lovegrove were the only two left standing.
The breakaway group led by an impressive 30seconds throughout the race leaving no doubt they were the evening's hottest contenders for the podium. With two laps to go some strategic maneuvering came from Bici Vida team members Roman van Uden and Alex Ray to bridge the gap from the trailing bunch, delivering Ray into third place.
Winner Northey reflected that "it was tough riding with a strong head wind and while our overall speed was down as a result of breaking away early, I was determined to dig on and win and put the pace on to take the sprints for points towards the overall series results."
Northey won three of the five sprint laps with Lovegrove taking the other two. It will take a determined effort to knock Northey out of contention to win the series cup as he stands a clear 24 points ahead of fellow Bici Vida team member Patrick Bevin.
The rest of the A graders were left floundering as they tried to chase the breakaway bunch. There were multiple attempts to bridge the gap. Ray made an attempt with Matt Yates and one other rider early in the race but they soon dropped off leaving Ray to consciously pull back and wait for his chance late in the game.
The A Grade averaged 44.5 kph per hour with the fastest speed in the breakaway group of 55 kph.
Racing within B Grade was fiercely contested with riders reflecting afterward that it was the toughest race of the series to date, complete with some tousling amongst riders. Winner Daniel Gate managed to get a break eventually taking honours from Thomas Reynolds followed closely by Tom Irwin. The sprint laps were won by Darren Cole, Bobby Tuxford and Andrew Feringa. With a full field of 60+ riders, and an average speed of 43.8 kph, riders had to have their wits about them.
While B Grade was indeed hotly contested two of the current top of the points riders stood on the side lines, current points leader Jason Waterhouse was on dog minding duties while Mason Spiers, third on the table, flew back into Auckland in time to watch fellow competitors riding for his placing. Both were disappointed not to be a part of the action, but Jason will be pleased he's still leading on points going into Race 5.
Organiser Greg Pain from bioSPORT was pleased to see one of the sponsors, Jeremy Turner, of Cibo Restaurant putting in another solid effort in B Grade and disappointed the rumour that Mike Allpress, Allpress Espresso, may race indeed turned out to be just that - a rumour indeed as he stood on the side lines cheering with fellow sponsor Grace Lang of Grace Lang Optometry.
The Elite Women's race was won by Rosy McCall followed by Kate Mullarkey and Paula McCoy close behind.
C Grade was won by Hugo Bloors with Sam Brothers and Alec Cairney right on his wheel. There was excitement from spectators as the first sprint lap was taken out by 14 year old schoolgirl Deven Hiley.
Interest in the series is building with more than 140 riders racing across the four grades. Racing continues at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour next Thursday.
RESULTS – BioSPORT City Criterium Series, Race 4 (Thursday 25 Feb)
1. Mike Northey (Orbea Bici Vida), 2. Nick Lovegrove (Subway Avanti) 3. Alex Ray (Bici Vida)
1. Daniel Gate, 2. Thomas Reynolds, 3. Tom Irwin
1. Rosie McCall, 2. Kate Mullarkey, 3. Paula McCoy
1. Hugo Bloor, 2. Sam Brothers, 3. Alec Cairney
bioSPORT City Criterium Cup Series standings after Race 4:
1. Mike Northey, 2, Patrick Bevin, 3. Alex Ray
1. Jason Waterhouse, 2. Daniel Gate, 3. Jeremy Turner & John Rippon
1. Gayle Brownlee, 2. Kate Mullarkey, 3. Kate Chilcott
1. Sam Brothers, 2. Dan Pavis, 3. Jamie Marr & Hugo Bloor
Race photography by Mead Norton www.naturalstudios.co.nz
bioSPORT would like to thank our sponsors and supporters:
Air New Zealand, Allpress Espresso, Cibo Restaurant, cyclingnzshop.com, Grace Lang Optometry, Hammer Nutrition, Sanctuary Developments and the Six:30 bunch.
Series dates: Thursdays: 4th Feb, 11th Feb, 18th Feb, 25th Feb, 4th Mar
Grand final and prize giving: Thursday 11th Mar
Event Organiser: Greg Pain, bioSPORT
bioSPORT is a biomechanical training and physiotherapy studio in Auckland's CBD. bioSPORT specialises in injury prevention, performance enhancement and rehabilitation for cycling, running, multi sport, triathlon, swimming, golf and tennis.