Benchmark set by Barry for 2009
The tactic was simple. Stay with closest challenger, the New Zealand Elite road cycling champion Gordon McCauley over 142km through heavy rain and a strong south-westerly wind, then join the ranks of Brian Fowler, Robin Reid, Paul Odlin, and Chris Nicholson as winner of the country's premier teams-based road cycling competition. That is precisely what Daniel Barry (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) did in adding his name to the 'Bruce & Amy Dawe Cup' as winner of the six-round 2009 Benchmark Homes Tour that concluded on Saturday with its final round, 'The Star' 5th Oxford Grand Prix won by Odlin (Canterbury Invitational).
Close to 110 starters in 14 teams braved the elements as the field and its entourage got into its work direct from the start. Several riders returned to the start within minutes of the neutralized flag dropping as the peloton set a fast pace in order to raise the temperature amongst the many layers of clothing each rider wore. Those found wanting soon had a reprieve as Chief Commissaire Zac Prendergast neutralized the main field over the first obstacle of the day, Summerhill as the peloton maneuvered its way through a herd of 600 cows on the move.
Shortly after the re-start, the action again heated up as a select group of 39 rode clear of the diminishing main field as it rode with a strong side-tailwind on the approach to Rangiora at kilometre 40. There James Gibson (Ultimo Cycling Team) and Michael Vink (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team) rode clear as a number of riders rejoined the leading pack as feeding opened. Passing Loburn, Gibson's team-mates Joseph and Anthony Chapman, together with James Williamson (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team) bridged to the two leaders as the main field slipped to 1min 30secs behind.
For the leaders, this gap remained frustratingly constant for a number of kilometres before Odlin, Scott Lyttle (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team), Brett Dawber (Canterbury Invitational), and Benchmark Homes watch-dog Leon Hextall escaped out of Glentui Gorge in pursuit of the leaders. As Odlin and Lyttle drove the chase, they too were pursued by Junior World Championship representatives Joshua Atkins and Ruaraidh McLeod (Cycle Surgery – Lowe & Associates).
After two hours of racing that brought the field back through Oxford, the leaders held a 1min 10sec advantage over the chasing quartet as the junior-duo trailed by a further 20 seconds. The remnants of the main field were at 3mins 15secs.
Passing Cust, the chasers brought the gap to less than a minute as a major shake-up at the front was about to occur. On the climb of Summerhill, both Gibson then Anthony Chapman slipped backwards from the front only to catch a ride as Odlin and Lyttle applied pressure on their original passengers to reach the front shortly after the descent onto German Road.
Behind, following an orchestrated chase by the Benchmark Homes Cycling Team marshaled by team captain Brendan Hart, McCauley (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team) set sail in his bid to break free from Barry. However the series leader was equal to the task and joined the small group that formed as he contributed to the chase of the leaders.
On the return to Oxford, the race up front was going to be decided around the 5.5km finishing circuit to be completed three times. Odlin was the most aggressive in his quest to break free as Gibson and Anthony Chapman were again distanced in the cruel conditions. The 2007 series winner succeeded in a counter-attack with two laps remaining that quickly took him clear of his companions not to be seen again. Odlin put his excellent time trialing skills to good affect to win his fourth-ever round of the series format as Vink later sprinted clear of the remaining chasers to secure second place almost a minute down. Joseph Chapman completed the podium places, however did not make up sufficient points to overtake Lyttle for the final series podium as Lyttle finished fifth behind Williamson.
Attention turned further down the road to see whether or not McCauley could dislodge Barry and make up the eight-point deficit he faced at the start of the final round. It was not to be as Barry sprinted best of the rest ahead of McCauley to win what surely must be his greatest achievement in cycling to date. Despite failing to win a round, Barry's consistent finishes of fourth, third, fourth, second, sixth, and again sixth was enough to take the title.
Bronwyn Frazer (Cycle Surgery – Lowe & Associate) put in a top effort over the 142km distance to finish first woman clear of 2009 New Zealand road champion bronze-medalist Tracy Clark (Team Thule Cycling), and Women's classification leader Jeannie Kuhajek (Star & Garter – Tasman). With the early abandonment of last year's classification winner and nearest challenger Karen Fulton (Star & Garter – Tasman), Kuhajek took out the Women's classification to keep the title within the Tasman-based team.
After finishing outside of the points on the day, Mark Spessot (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team) did enough to hold off the challenge of Wellington-based Craig Lawn (Ultimo Cycling Team) to win the Master's classification, as the day's ninth-place finish of Brent Allnut (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team) did enough to overhaul the absent Brian Fowler to capture the third spot. The non-start of Fowler's Kelford – Reiker Cycling Team meant the inaugural series winner missed his first round of thirty-six in the five years of the series format.
Subway – Avanti Cycling Team was a clear winner of the Team classification ahead of the other power-house teams of Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team, Benchmark Homes Cycling Team, and Ultimo Cycling Team. Team Thule Cycling won a close contest with the Warmup Cycling Team to take out the title as best Division Two team.
- Paul Odlin (Canterbury Invitational) 142km in 3hrs 40mins 30secs
- Michael Vink (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team)
- Joseph Chapman (Ultimo Cycling Team)
- James Williamson (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team)
- Scott Lyttle (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team)
- Daniel Barry (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team)
- Gordon McCauley (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team)
- James Gibson (Ultimo Cycling Team)
- Brent Allnut (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team)
- Leon Hextall (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team)
1. Bronwyn Frazer (Cycle Surgery – Lowe & Associates)
2. Tracy Clark (Team Thule Cycling)
3. Jeannie Kuhajek (Star & Garter – Tasman)
1. Subway – Avanti Cycling Team
Final Points Standing (Provisional)
Overall Classification; (Bruce & Amy Dawe Cup)
- Daniel Barry (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team/U23) 106 Points
- Gordon McCauley (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team) 96pts
- Scott Lyttle (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team) 86pts
- Joseph Chapman (Ultimo Cycling Team) 82pts
- Mark Spessot (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team/Master) 49pts
- Michael Vink (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team/U23) 45pts
- Joseph Cooper (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team) 44pts
- Paul Odlin (Canterbury Invitational) 37pts
- James Williamson (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team/U23) 36pts
- Leon Hextall (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team/U23) 36pts
Under 23 Classification; (Paul Jesson Challenge Trophy)
1. Daniel Barry (Benchmark Homes Cycling Team) 106 Points
2. Michael Vink (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team) 45pts
3. James Williamson (Subway – Avanti Cycling Team) 36pts
Masters Classification; (Tony Laplanche Cup)
1. Mark Spessot (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team) 49 Points
2. Craig Lawn (Ultimo Cycling Team) 30pts
3. Brent Allnut (Cycle Surgery – Scott Race Team) 8pts
Women's Classification; (Joanne Kiesanowski Bowl)
1. Jeannie Kuhajek (Star & Garter – Tasman) 36 Points
2. Karen Fulton (Star & Garter – Tasman) 25pts
3. Tracy Clark (Team Thule Cycling) 19pts
Team Classification; (Evans Cup – Champion Team)
1. Subway – Avanti Cycling Team
For the record (5 years);
6 wins – Brian Fowler
5 wins – Gordon McCauley
4 wins – Hayden Roulston, Marc Ryan, Paul Odlin
3 wins – Shane Archbold
2 wins – Daniel Waluszewski, Scott Lyttle
1 win – Joseph Chapman, Edward Barrett, Robin Reid, Joseph Cooper, Reon Park, Scott McDonnell
Papanui Cycling Club