Elite racer Eric Drower took the line honors in the Pete Southhart Hamilton to Whangamata Elite race over the weekend. Held in near perfect conditions with the trademark Waikato cross wind blowing in places the peloton rolled nicely through to Paeroa with the attacks going hard once the field reached the false flatted gorge. National legend Dave Mann and Sam Weston made their first break stick but the young talent behind of Drower, Matt Gorter, Nick Lovegrove and Alex Ray were never going to let it get too far out of sight and bridged to the duo entering Wahi. Drower who shot to prominence last year with a string of high profile wins lifted the tempo on the first climb out of Waihi and kept the lead from there to the finish. Nick Lovegrove was 2nd with Matt Gorter third.
Like last year, the elite women rode with the masters. Eileen Roe was the winning female rider. She is a visitor from Scotland over here for some warm weather training and suffering a bit of sunburn in the process. It was her first time on this course and she found it, "a good one but not that easy." She rode with a bunch until 29ks from the finish when the bunch split up and she rode from there to the finish with a group of 4 - 5 guys.
Quote of the day came from Jemima Brindle who described her race saying, "I popped at Te Aroha when I choked on a gel and lost the will to live." But fortunately the gel kicked in before the hills and she finished looking strong as the photo below shows.