Gusty winds helped and hindered times as a field of more than 90 entrants in the Yunca Junior Tour of Southland tackled the first stage around the time trial circuit at Teretonga Speedway today.
Four Southland riders bagged themselves one of the leader, sprint ace or King of the Mountain jerseys with U17 Hamish Keast making his return from a broken collar bone strongly known by taking the yellow leaders jersey by a convincing 7 seconds from Felix Donnelly (Papanui Cycling, Christchurch) who won the sprint jersey, and Liam Taylor (Pegasus, Christchurch) in a strong field of 22 riders.
In the U19 Men it was Ethan Batt (Cuddon Cycling Marlborough) who held off his close chasers Joshua Smith (Pegasus) and Southland’s Hayden Strong with just two seconds separating the three.
With just a field of three in the U19 women – due to a large number of regular tour riders entering the Oceania Track Champs next week – Michaela Kerr, from Nelson, convincingly took yellow from Otago’s Ella Harris with a lead of 12 seconds, with Rose Dillon, from North Harbour, finishing third with the King of the Mountain jersey.
Southland’s Ellesse Andrews, from Wanaka, had to settle for second after just missing the win by .29 seconds from leader Kate Smith, of Canterbury, with Levin’s Sophie-Leigh Bloxham in third spot.
Pegasus rider Hannah Bartram took the yellow honours in the U15 girls, followed closed by Southland’s Emily Paterson and Cuddon Marlborough’s Sophie Batt and Tasman’s Finn Fisher-Black had the honours from sprint jersey holder Callum Walsh (Auckland) and Papanui rider Griffyn Spencer in third.
In the strong junior fields Katie Batt joined her older sister and brother taking herself a jersey with the leader yellow in the U13 girls by a whopping 32 second lead. Sarah Ford, Otago, and Jaz McLeod, Southland filled the placings. Meanwhile, Nelson’s Kaio Lart, took the yellow jersey honours in the U13 boys, with Mitchel Fitzsimons, Timaru, and Jonathan Fish (St Andrews, Christchurch) in third.
Synonymous with extreme Southland weather each year, the Junior Tour is expected to endure wet and windy conditions over the three-day event, but it is not expected that any stage will have to be cancelled due to heavy snow falls as it was last year.
The Tour continues Saturday with the Beast of the East at Te Tipua and the New Vale Cicrcuit, followed by the Inner City Criterium and the Woodstock circuit on Sunday.