The final event in the Summer of Cycling series took place on the Auckland waterfront at St Heliers today. The final fun ride event was a series of criterium events that gave riders of all abilities the chance to take part in some fast racing on a fantastic circuit.
The first race off was the citizens race. This race looked like a leisurely bunch ride until the race announcer rung the bell for the first prime (prize), which brought about a rapid acceleration.
The Vets race was won by Benny Van de Griend, who simply rode away from his fellow competitors with two laps to go. It was also good to see NZ National Cycling Selector, Brian Broad, getting out amongst it.
In the women's event Toni Bradshaw enlivened the event early, attacking on the first lap. She was soon joined by Olympic hopeful, Melissa Holt. Holt attacked Bradshaw to take the first prime and kept going. Bradshaw was determined to make Holt, a former NZ time trial champion, work to stay out front and never let the gap grow past 15 seconds. Behind them a group of three, including Lisa Haynes, Amy Mason and Liz Williams, was chasing hard. Williams soon found the pace too much, which left Mason and Haynes chasing for third. Holt held her lead to the line with Lisa Haines winning the battle for third.
The School boys and girls raced in between the Women's and Men's events but their race was unfortunately marred by a nasty crash requiring the involvement of the St Johns team.
The Men's event contained the top three riders overall in the Summer of Cycling Triple Crown Series - Paul Sumich, Craig Pitt and Aaron Strong. It was Pitt and Strong who made the early running, attacking and riding off the front together. Behind the bunch was strung out while the gap was widening, with another Olympic aspirant, Scott Guyton, leading the chase. However, the break came unstuck when Craig Pitt became the third victim of the corner at the end of the homestraight. A clipped pedal threw him into the barriers and out of the race. Pitt fell heavily on his hip and was taken away in the ambulance but appears not to have broken anything at this stage - not even the indestructible raceline he was riding.
When the race resumed it was Sam Bewley lighting it up. The constant pace, attacks and sprint primes soon took its toll on the field. A split inevitably occured containing Aaron Stron, who had been spending most of the race on the front trying to ride the rest of the field off his wheel. He was joined by Scott Guyton, Ric Reid, Mike Northey, Paul Bishop, Adam Coker and Matt Haydock. Series leader, Sumich, missed the split and was left to chase.
Coming into the final sprint it was a fantastic contest between Adam Coker and Scott Guyton, with Coker taking the honours showing everyone why he is one of the fastest road sprinters around at the moment. Strong took thrid place ahead of Ric Reid.
1.Benny van der Griend
2.Toni Bradshaw (Hot cycles)
3.Lisa Haynes (Hot cycles)
1.Myron Simpson (Hot cycles)
A/B elite race:
1.Adam Coker (Hot cycles)
2.Scott Guyton (Kiwi Velo)
3.Aaron Strong (Hot cycles)
4.Rick Reid (Prv)
5.Paul Bishop (Hot cycles)
Triple Crown (Final results)
Info about next years series can be found at www.summerofcycling.co.nz