Hawkes Bay rider Jeremy Yates defended his title and broke his own race record in winning the Taupo to Napier Classic today.
The former junior world champion went clear in an initial break of six riders, which thinned down to just three, before Yates proved too strong to win in 3hr 03min in the latest round of the RaboDirect National Point Series. With a neutralisation because of road works, it resulted in a new race record, eight minutes under the record he set in winning last year.
The Ramblers club rider proved his class to hold off Canterbury’s Josh Atkins by a minute with a further minute back to New Plymouth’s Michael Torckler.
The initial six-strong bunch broke away just 20kms in the 140km event before Yates, Atkins and Torckler proved the sole survivors to clear out from the peloton.
They took advantage of the non-appearance of NPS leader Gordon McCauley, in Melbourne for next week’s UCI World Championships before he heads to the Commonwealth Games to close the gap on the Counties Manukau rider.
McCauley still leads the series on 325 points but Atkins managed to move to third place on 180 points.
It proved a Hawkes Bay double with Serena Sheridan safely defending the women’s title that she won last year.
She proved in a class of her own to win easily from Hayley Davis (Ramblers) and Janine Copp (Port Nicholson Poneke).
The win pushed Sheridan into the lead in the RaboDirect National Points Series, overtaking Cath Cheatley who is in Melbourne for next week’s world championships.
Local Ramblers rider Blair Heney took out the B grade in a tight sprint finish.
The next round is the Milemaster Round the Mountain Classic in Taranaki next weekend.
Taupo to Napier Classic, 140km, men: Jeremy Yates (Ramblers) 1, Josh Atkins (Canterbury) 2, Michael Torckler (New Plymouth) 3.
Women: Serena Sheridan (Ramblers) 1, Hayley Davis (Ramblers) 2, Janine Copp (Port Nicholson Poneke) 3.
RaboDirect National Points Series after seven rounds:
Men: Gordon McCauley 325 points, Matthew Gorter 225, Josh Atkins 180.
Women: Serena Sheridan 270 points, Catherine Cheatley 200, Karen Fulton 200.