Ask RIDE…Trust House Cycle Classic – Stage 5
The final day of the tour was a criterium circuit around Wellington. A 750m lap with four corners making a ‘P’ shape. Weather conditions were sunny but windy with gusts slamming the riders from one side of the road to the other as they passed in between the gaps of the city buildings. The last corner was a tight u-turn and then down the finishing straight into a head wind. If you lost the wheel in this part or were placed too far back it was extremely difficult to get back on. As I mentioned yesterday this race could not be included in the final general classification of the UCI 2.2 race. Criteriums cannot be used in this type of race so instead it was used as a stand alone event with everyone who finished the Upper Hutt race being given a start in the fifth day of the tour.
As it happened I was disqualified from the results of stage four because of some questionable tactics to get me back onto the bunch after a front wheel puncture. A number of team managers were annoyed because they thought I had been dropped and that our team was cheating but they had no idea – probably because they were so far back in the convoy that they could not see what was happening. Surely they would have seen me on the side of the road holding my front wheel in the air? Apparently they didn’t so instead of asking us about it they just put in a complaint instead. The morning after the incident our team manager Trent Wilson was informed that the other option was a 500 Euro fine! They figured that the criterium was not part of the official race anyway so we would have preferred to be given the boot instead of this heavy infringement. The most expensive fine that had been given all week was only 50 Euro. Trent’s experience over the many years of racing had him talk around the commissares and they decided to allow me to start the final day.
Phil Grenfell was our man if it came down to a bunch sprint. As it was a four man breakaway dominated the second half of the race with a further four riders getting away in the final laps. He held his position hoping it would come back together but alas they stayed away. His time will come. Stage three demonstrated he was one of the fastest finishers in the race and it’s a shame he did not get a chance to take a stage win. The National Road Series will be his next big chance.
The race is now over, waiting in Wellington airport for our delayed flight to board. It was a fantastic week and a race I will definitely do again. I must thank everyone from the team including the riders and management. You made the week worthwhile and it showed what a small team can do over here. Featuring in every break, fourth overall in the general classification and taking a top ten finish in every stage bar one. Not bad for January.
The riding here is fantastic so if you are ever taking a trip over this way take the mountain bike or road bike for endless days of enjoyment. Here are some pictures from the street circuit around Wellington.
It rained on this circuit last year which made this corner dangerous. There were two sections of paved road which would become slippery in the wet.
The u-turn wasn’t much better. Numerous drain holes, a painted bus lane and cracked concrete marred the course.
Alex Malone is the Technical Editor for RIDE Cycling Review.