The Subway – Avanti Pro Cycling Team had podium finishes in two major events over the weekend and consolidated its lead in the RaboPLus National Points Series.
Shane Archbold won round five of the elite RaboPlus National Points series race at Around Brunner on Saturday edging out Subway-Avanti’s Matt Gorter to smash the course record by 15 minutes to win in three hours one minute and 17 seconds.
“It was a good solid result,” Team Manager Greg Hume said.
“We consolidated our lead in the National Points Series and although first is always a preference, with the calibre of field a place of the podium and now having two riders first and second in the series is rewarding for our sponsors and great for team morale, and gives us options as the series progresses.”
In a very fast race several breakaways were reeled back in, including one that featured the leader of the National Points Series, Gordon McCauley from the Subway – Avanti Pro Cycling Team, Tom Findlay (Mico-All About Plumbing) and Hamish Presbury (H and J Smith Southland).
Without a rider in the break the Benchmark Homes and Bici Vida teams worked hard to pull it back in, and once done the majority of the field stayed together for the sprint finish.
Gorter got up in the 50 rider sprint finish for second to collect 70 National Points Series points which ties him as joint leader in the series with team mate McCauley, who received 15 points for his seventh placed finish.
After Saturday’s racing the team turned its attention to round two of the Benchmark Series held in Hokitika held yesterday.
Seventeen teams and 117 riders from throughout New Zealand lined up on the start line for the 136 kilometre race which was won by Josh Aktins from the Benchmark Homes Team.
The race was fast paced with attacks starting straight after the flag dropped after a three kilometre neutralised start.
After a series of unsuccessful attacks, Eric Drower from Subway-Avanti and Thomas Hodgson from Tasman Wheelers finally got away at the 90 kilometre mark. They were eventually caught and it was a five man break away that included Drower that contested the final kilometres of the race.
James McCoy (Benchmark Homes) put the pressure on over the final few kilometres to successfully lead out team mate Atkins who won the sprint ahead of Bici Vida's Paul Odlin and Subway Avanti's Drower.
Hume said it was a mistake by the main field to let the two leaders in the series go clear at a vital stage of the race, but was happy to have a rider on the podium for the second day in a row.
"Before the race our team plan had been to place at least two in the break. We failed to do that in the break that mattered and we were outnumbered by Benchmark Homes team members.”
“It was a challenging, enjoyable course and with enough to make it tough. We are now looking forward to the next race in the Benchmark Series on a course we’ve had good success on.”
The very experienced McCauley has won the Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura Benchmark race for the last two years, and after finishing second overall in the series for the last two years is very keen to win the race being held on Sunday 9 May to gain some valuable points in the eight race series.