JLT Condor’s Alex Frame claimed 2nd on day two of the New Zealand Cycle Classic, whilst the team retains the lead albeit, the yellow jersey switching shoulders to Alex Frame from Chris Lawless.
Stage 2 was a tough affair for the five-man squad as they faced several determined riders trying to escape the peloton. During the 134km stage, attacks came thick and fast and where possible JLT Condor riders marshalled the bunch ensuring they chased back dangerous moves. Team riders Steve Williams or Steve Lampier found there way into short lived breaks as the team worked hard to control the race. At one point Chris Lawless made his way into a strong break but seeing the danger the rest of the field didn’t let him get very far.
A flat finish into Martinborough meant a bunch sprint would be inevitable. Brad Evans, riding for the New Zealand national team, won the stage while Alex Frame was second and Chris Lawless forth. Frame now leads the tour, on the basis that his two second placings trump the first and fourth registered by Lawless.
“We’re by far the most dominant team,” Frame said. “We’ve had five of us covering everything from kilometre zero, up until when we finally let a little break of two guys go. Then every single lap of the circuit we led and showed off how strong we are.”
The Race Ahead
Team manager John Herety said they had come to this tour wanting to do well but with new signings in the squad it was about learning to work together. With two stage victories and two days in the yellow jersey it means the trip was already a success. “It was a tough day out there for the riders. We are in a good position and didn’t want to give up the jersey easily. Everyone is riding well and working well as a team. The General Classification is very tight, the top 30 riders are separated by no more than 3 seconds.”
Friday’s third stage is predicted to finish in a bunch sprint at the end of the 130km; Saturday’s stage is likely to reshuffle the general classification dramatically as the race finishes with a 10km ascent of 10km Admiral Hill.
Chris Lawless now wears the under 23 leaders jersey
General Classification after 2 stages:
1 Alex Frame – JLT Condor p/b Mavic 5:58:20
2 Chris Lawless (U23) – JLT Condor p/b Mavic, same time
3 Brad Evans – NZL, same time
4 Dion Smith – OPC, same time
5 Ryan Thomas (U23) – DSR, same time
10 Steve Lamper – JLT Condor p/b Mavic @ 3 seconds
33 Stevie Williams – JLT Condor p/b Mavic @ 3 seconds