Sixteen-year-old track cycling world champion Ellesse Andrews took out the senior girls’ honours on the second day of the Cycling New Zealand national secondary school road championships in the Manawatu.
The 49th national schools championship has drawn 700 cyclists from 91 schools for the three-day competition.
After stunning weather for the time trials on Saturday, the riders had to face challenging conditions with rain and cold winds for the road races over an 18-km circuit at Hiwinui near Feilding.
Andrews, who won gold and bronze medals at the junior track world championships, claimed the senior girls’ road title over two laps, using her track speed to out-kick a bunch of 15 riders to win by the narrowest of margins.
She had to edge out fellow world championship medallist Nicole Shields from Dunstan High School, who won a silver medal as part of the team pursuit, and ensure today’s print for the title was a high class affair.
“I’ve not done much road races this year so that was pretty good. The key in those conditions was to work out how best to protect yourself from the wind, and in the end a sprint finish played more into my strengths,” said Andrews.
The senior boys’ honours went talented Auckland Grammar cyclist Harris Fogelberg, who held off double world track champion and local favourite Campbell Stewart (Palmerston North High) in a sprint finish.
A 17-strong peloton formed on the front in the three lap race before a select group forged clear in the dash for the line, with the Aucklander prevailing over Stewart and Aaron Milne, also from Auckland Grammar, with the trio awarded the same time.
“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to race against Campbell (Stewart). He is incredible so to get around him was great. The sprint finish was my sort of race and I had a great lead out from my teammate Ben Hamilton which set it up,” said Fogelberg.
While 10 of last year’s 12 road race champions were competing again this year, the depth and quality of emerging talent meant that repeat successes were challenging.
Cambridge High School’s Maddi Douglas was the only rider to defend a road race title, winning the under-15 race in a tight sprint finish.
Virtually all of the classes fought out the honours in tight sprint finishes despite the dismal conditions.
The exceptions came in the under 15-boys and under-13 girls. Laurence Pithie (Christchurch Boys) has provisionally won the under-15 boys two-lap race off the front, winning by 35 seconds from the bunch, while Sophie Spencer (St Kentigern College) stunned her opposition with a solo ride to win by 1m28s in the 18km race.
Two of last year’s winners did get on the podium with Rosie O’Brien (Palmerston North Girls) third in the under-14 race and Nick Bowen (Takapuna Grammar) third in the under-15 boys.
Nelson’s Ally Wollaston, who was second last year in the under-15 race, took out the under-16s in a sprint finish over McKenzie Milne (Waikato Diocesan), with the pair New Zealand teammates in the Tour of Canberra against Australia’s best earlier this year.
Likewise Connie O’Brien (Palmerston North Girls) took out the under-17 honours in a sprint finish, after finishing third in the under-16 road race last year.
Tomorrow’s final day heads to the near-by Manfeild Autocourse for the points race.
Under 13: Chenuka Rajapakse (Palmerston North Intermediate) 40:37, 1; Jackson Russell (Cambridge Middle School) same time, 2; Matthew Davis (Cambridge Middle School) st, 3.
Under 14: Jack Carswell (Cambridge Middle School) 35:31, 1; Michael Audeau (Christ’s College) at 1sec, 2; Jacob Rackham (Auckland Grammar) same time, 3.
Under 15: Laurence Pithie (Christchurch Boys) 30:46, 1; Same Dyne (Takapuna Grammar) at 35s, 2; Nick Bowen (Takapuna Grammar) st, 3. (Result provisional)
Under 16: Lachlan Dickson (Auckland Grammar) 1:00:03, 1; Finn Fisher-Black (Nelson College) at 2sec, 2; Josh Lane (Cambridge High School) at 3sec, 3.
Under 17: Dylan Simpson (Palmerston North Boys) 57:59, 1; Sam Cook (Hamilton Boys) at 1sec, 2; Noah Costar (Hamilton Boys) at 3s, 3.
Under 20: Harris Fogelberg (Auckland Grammar) 1:26:33, 1; Campbell Stewart (Palmerston North Boys) same time, 2; Aaron Milne (Auckland Grammar) st, 3.
Under 13: Sophie Spencer (St Kentigern College) 37:24, 1; Katie McLeod (Southwest School) at 1:28, 2; Ally Gothard (St Mary’s, Auckland) same time, 3.
Under 14: Sacha McLeod (Waikato Diocesan) 35:39, 1; Lucy Buckeridge (Takapuna Grammar) at 4sec, 2; Rosie O’Brien (Palmerston North Girls) at 11s, 3.
Under 15: Maddi Douglas (Cambridge High) 35:52, 1; Lucy Thomson (Epson Girls) same time, 2; Henrietta Christie) Lincoln High) st, 3.
Under 16: Ally Wollaston (St Peters, Cambridge)1:12:24, 1; McKenzie Milne (Waikato Diocesan) same time, 2; Stella Nightingale (Epsom Girls Grammar) st, 3.
Under 17: Connie O’Brien (Palmerston North Girls) 1:10.19, 1; Hannah Knighton (Waikato Dio) at 1sec, 2; Abigail Morton (Baradene) same time, 3.
Under 20: Ellesse Andrews (St Peters Cambridge) 1:06.24, 1; Nicole Shields (Dunstan High) same time, 2; Emma Smith (Villa Maria College) st, 3.
CAPTION: Ellesse Andrews (St Peters, Cambridge) sprints her way to the senior girls’ title.
Image courtesy Jack McKenzie Photography