Youngsters hold off Yates surge
Story by: JOSH REICH - Photo by: Evan Barnes and Chris Symes
Young riders continue to push the pace at the Tour de Vineyards cycle race, although it was a veteran who nearly stole the show with a late surge up a sodden Takaka Hill yesterday.
After under-23 riders Jason Christie and Paddy Bevin claimed the opening two races, it was the turn of under-19 rider Hamish Schreurs (Felt Racing) to take the honours in the 128km NBS Richmond to Takaka Hill stage.
In wet and slippery conditions and with visibility down to metres at times, he pipped Tom Hubbard (Pegasus) in a two-man sprint for the line at the summit of the hill, finishing in 3 hours 18 minutes 44 seconds.
Coming in third 30 seconds behind Schreurs and Hubbard was Jeremy Yates (Mico Pro Train), who was behind the leading bunch at the bottom of the hill, but surged past all bar the front two in an impressive display of climbing.
Schreurs, who has represented New Zealand on both the track and the road, said the rain started before the first feed zone and didn't let up.
"At the start it wasn't too bad ... but you know the rain is going to come, and you just hope it wasn't too heavy," Schreurs said.
"Before the first feed station it started to drizzle a little bit and then after that, down the descent, there were puddles on the road so you try and find the right line.
"It was a bit slippery round the corners. You definitely need to take it a bit easier."
Schreurs was part of an early break, along with Daniel Barry (Pure Black Racing) and Sam Horgan (Subway), a group which eventually swelled to around nine riders, who managed to stick together until the bottom of Takaka Hill, despite pressure from a chasing group.
Attacks began once on the climb.
Schreurs, Hubbard and Michael Naylor (Wheelworks Racing) skipped away, with the latter being dropped further up and eventually finishing fourth.
"It ended up just being me and Tom going for the finish in a bunch sprint," Schreurs said.
"I backed myself going for the finish, but you never know, just hoping the guys behind us didn't catch us.
"They were quite close behind us towards the end, but especially with the fog you couldn't look back and see where they were."
Bevin (Bissell Pro Cycling) finished fifth, 50 seconds behind the winner, which was enough to keep him in the yellow jersey for another day.
Hubbard and Yates round out the top three.
TriNZ rider Teresa Adam snatched the yellow jersey in the elite women's race after her stage victory.
She now leads the tour by 2min 42sec over former Nelsonian Serena Sheridan (Mico Pro Train), with Tauranga's Courteney Lowe a further two minutes behind Sheridan.
Adam finished the stage in 3hr 43min 1sec, with Sheridan and Lowe placing second and third.
The masters men's race was something of a locals benefit, with the first four riders to cross the line being from the Nelson region.
First up was Warrick Spence (Tasman Wheelers) in 3hr 39min 56sec, taking his second stage win and moving into the yellow jersey position.
Dean Fulton (Freshchoice) was second, 1min 40sec behind Spence, with another Wheeler, Brian Grant, third.
Robert Searle from Nelson Alarms was fourth.
The penultimate stage was being held today, the Avanti Plus Nelson Moutere Circuit, with the tour concluding tomorrow with The Stables Hill St Circuit.