Despite stage 3 of the New Zealand Classic looking like it would end in a bunch sprint, the race action played out differently, making it a key day in the battle for the overall.
The hot and windy conditions made the racing tough for the riders on today’s 130km stage. As the race crested the first climb, a group wrangled free. The breakaway contained JLT Condor’s overall jersey contenders, 18-year-old climber Stevie Williams, experienced rider Steve Lampier and stage 1 winner Chris Lawless. The breakaway group swelled to twenty riders with riders from each of the teams represented. The group built up a 2 minute lead over the peloton, who continued to keep the leaders in their sights.
The race tackled seven short ascents during which several riders tried to attack the lead group. The blistering pace meant the initial group of 20 was reduced to 12, and Chris Lawless slipped back to the bunch. Into the closing kilometres, a sprint finish between the leaders looked likely.
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Former team rider Kristian House made it to the line first with JLT Condor’s Steve Lampier and Stevie Williams both finishing in the top 10 and will take the same time at the stage winner.
Young Australian Ryan Thomas, racing for Data #3 Cisco, finished second and takes over the yellow jerseys.
John Herety was happy with the days result, “Although we don’t have the yellow jersey, we don’t have the pressure to defend it. Alex Frame is a sprinter and we did a lot of work defending the jersey on the opening two days, which was tough with some many teams attacking us. We knew he wasn’t going to contend the climbing stages.”
The Race Ahead
Speaking about Saturday Queen stage, “Tomorrow is a really big day lots of climbing towards the latter end of the stage, and a 10km drag to a summit finish. Both Steve and Stevie are only 3 seconds off the leader; they rode well today making sure they were in the decisive move. They are in a good position.”
Stage 4 of the New Zealand Cycle Classic continues tomorrow and features a 152.2km route which incorporates the highest point on the race – Admiral Hill. The race will begin at 10am (9pm UK/GMT) and is expected to finish atop Admiral Hill at 2.15pm (01.15 Sunday, UK/GMT)
Stage 3 Result
1 Kristian HOUSE GBR ONE 3:02:43
2 Ryan THOMAS AUS DSR +0
3 Sam CROME AUS AIW +0
4 Steven LAMPIER GBR JLT Condor Mavic +0
5 Sam HILL AUS +0
6 James ORAM NZL ONE +0
7 Thomas ROBINSON AUS SOM +0
8 Stephen WILLIAMS GBR JLT Condor Mavic +0
9 Saxon IRVINE AUS DSR +0
10 Michael TORCKLER NZL +0
1 Ryan THOMAS Australia DSR 9:01:03
2 Thomas ROBINSON Australia SOM +0
3 Sam Crome Australia AIW +0
4 Steven LAMPIER Great Britain JLT Condor Mavic +3
5 James ORAM New Zealand ONE +3
6 Kristian HOUSE Great Britain ONE +3
7 Saxon IRVINE Australia DSR +3
8 Ben Alexander O’CONNOR Australia AIW +3
9 Michael TORCKLER New Zealand +3
10 Mark O’BRIEN Australia AIW +3
11 Stephen WILLIAMS Great Britain JLT Condor Mavic +3
12 Samuel VOLKERS Australia DSR +21
13 Dion SMITH New Zealand ONE +1:41
14 Brad EVANS New Zealand NZL +1:41
15 Christopher LAWLESS Great Britain JLT Condor Mavic +1:41