New Zealander, Alex Frame crossed the line first following a dramatic sprint finish on stage three of the New Zealand Cycle Classic.
The Kiwi claimed the team’s first UCI win of the season, convincingly out sprinting the competition.
Following a lengthy breakaway that threatened to ruin the 130km stage from Masterton to Martinborough, the peloton looked to the New Zealand National team to give chase to protect the yellow jersey of their team mate, James Oram (NZL).
The four escapees built a four minute advantage. When no chase came and the breakaway threatened Steve Lampier’s (JLT) third place in the overall competition JLT Condor took up the chase.
The four riders of JLT Condor – Lampier, Clancy, Mould and McCarthy “put themselves through hell” explained Frame. The riders shut the break down with just 10km to go. 23-year-old Frame repaid their effort with a devastating sprint finish to claim the win.
“It’s only teams of five, so because they were riding for me there were only four of them trying to catch a break of four. They just committed on chasing it down and no-one really gave us a hand. It was awesome to see the guys do it.” – Frame
Frame said there was added pressure to win the stage after such a big effort from his team.
Frame was sitting about 10 riders back coming into the final left-hand bend, but found room down the right hand side in the final straight to blast away for what was a relatively comfortable win over Sapura’s Mohammad Abd Halil and Oliver’s Real Food’s Sean Whitfield.
With rain and wind predicted for tomorrow’s stage, Frame said it could be anybody’s race.
“I think the weather might make tomorrow pretty gnarly, it’s meant to be quite windy and rainy, but it was like that on the first day, and I got up for second, so I’m not terrible in those conditions, but it’s hard to say what’s going to happen at the end of it.” – Alex Frame
Racing begins at 10.00am local time (9.00pm GMT) with approximate finish time of 1.30pm (12.30am GMT).
Stage four sees the riders race 143km through the five towns of Wairarapa.
Top five on stage three:
1. Alex Frame (JLT Condor) 2:47:18
2. Mohamad Abdul Halil (Team Sampura)
3. Sean Whitfield (Oliver’s Foods)
4. Brad Evans (New Zealand National Team)
5. Luke Mudgway
General Classification after stage three
1. James Oram (New Zealand National Team) 6h46m41s;
2. Sam Crome (IsoWhey Sports – Swiss Wellness) at 10s;
3. Steve Lampier (JLT Condor) at 12s;
4. Tim Roe (IsoWhey Sports – Swiss Wellness) at 31s;
5. Michael Torckler (TBD)