Stage One, Hutt City Criterium, 1 Hour
I flew up to Wellington on Tuesday and Fraser picked me up from the Airport. We stayed with his brother for the night. Next morning we drove out to Lower Hut to check in with the race and get sorted for the first stage that afternoon.
Stage one was a large circuit around a Park. The start was fast and there were attacks from the first lap with everyone having fresh legs and wanting to stretch them out. I surfed a few breaks but mostly cruzed and watched people flog themselves but never really getting far from the main bunch.
There was Sprint Ace points up for grabs every ten minutes and I was missing out on them but it was definitely looking like it was going to be a bunch kick. Not long before the finish Fraser had a mechanical and broke his rear gear cable so he was stuck in his largest gear (53x11) and had to ride the rest of the stage on it. I think other riders thought he was taking the piss out of them when he tried to attack a couple of times in slow motion!!
With a few laps to go a strong attack from a MG Team rider looked dangerous. He had a good few seconds going into the bell lap which was a worry but I was in good position and saw that the Aussie team of Jayco were looking really organized so used there lead-out for myself. Around the last corner there was a small rise, then it was about 250m to the finish. Just over the rise I kicked and past the two in front of me and lined up the finish line. Sweet, I got the first stage with one of the Aussies finishing second.
I had a moment of worry when my Team mate Gordon tried to tell me on the roll down lap there was a guy still up the road!! I would have looked a bit silly posting it for second!!! Luck for me he was talking through a hole in his head and everything was fine.
Heading into day two with the leaders Jersey it was time to go on attack.......
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