Five Rivers will hold a special place in Alex McGregor's heart after the 22 year old Dunedin rider made Tour-winning moves on the two stages to the sleepy northern Southland village in A Grade on the Vital Signs Tour de Lakes held over Easter.
McGregor found himself in the Tour leaders' yellow jersey after being part of a five man breakaway on Saturday's first road stage to Five Rivers which took over 2 minutes out of the rest of the field. Then, during the return leg from Te Anau to Five Rivers on Easter Sunday, he was one of four riders who again got up the road and stayed away to reclaim the coveted leader's jersey from Invercargill's Luke Macpherson and open up a lead on his nearest rival which would not be challenged.
Macpherson tried valiantly to break clear on this afternoon's (Monday) final stage from Glenorchy to Moke Lake and although he was able to finish 17 seconds in front of McGregor in a two-man break with stage winner Richard Lawson, it wasn't enough to deny an overall McGregor victory by 1 minute 29 seconds. Macpherson completed his first major multi-stage tour admirably, finishing second while Canterbury youngster Sam Friend also impressed with a consistent performance to secure third. Matt Zenovich claimed the Sprint Ace jersey and Tom Hubbard secured the King of the Mountain.
B Grade again proved to be the most hotly-contested classification with early Tour leader Glenn Gould coming from 8 seconds down heading into the final stage to finish third up the climb to Moke Lake and leap-frog Tour sponsor Michael White into the top spot, ultimately winning by a margin of 28 seconds. Geoff Keogh's seventh place finish in the final stage was enough to jump into third overall, a minute and a half behind the winner. Lee Johnstone was crowned B grade Sprint Ace and Nicholas Ross win in the final stage confirmed a comfortable King of the Mountain victory.
Former World ironman champion Scott Molina made his move during Sunday morning's individual time trial and once he hit the front he defended every move, winning the final stage solo by over two minutes to put an exclamation mark on his 3'59 second C Grade win. Andrew Lienert took second overall and the King of the Mountain jersey, while a strong finish by Symon Mitchell saw him jump onto the podium in third. Double stage winner Jordan Gilmore took out the Sprint classification.
Linda Villumsen took control of the second half of the women's race, recording the fastest individual time trial by 1 minute 40 on Sunday and then finished in the front bunch in the fourth and fifth stages before riding away to an impressive 5 minute solo win on the final stage to confirm her overall win by 7'33 alonmg with the Queen of the Mountain title. Laura Fairweather confirmed second overall with her second place on the last stage, while Gabby Vermunt's third place on the last leg saw her claim the last podium spot. Lauren Ellis completed the Benchmark Homes clean-sweep of the jerseys in claiming the Sprint Ace win.
For full results, photo gallery and race reports click here.
FINAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATIONS
|A GRADE||B GRADE|
|1||Alex McGregor||8hr23'03"||1||Glenn Gould||8hr59'36"|
|2||Luke MacPherson||@ 1'29"||2||Michael White||@ 28"|
|3||Sam Friend||@ 2'07"||3||Geoff Keogh||@ 1'30"|
|4||Scott Thomas||@ 2'33"||4||Lee Johnstone||@ 2'17"|
|5||Tim Rush||@ 2'47"||5||Geoff Taylor||@ 2'32"|
|C GRADE||WOMEN'S GRADE|
|1||Scott Molina||8hr38'13"||1||Linda Villumsen||8hr56'37"|
|2||Andrew Lienert||@ 3'59"||2||Laura Fairweather||@ 7'33"|
|3||Symon Mitchell||@ 4'08"||3||Gabrielle Vermunt||@ 8'16"|
|4||Jordan Gilmore||@ 4'21"||4||Elyse Fraser||@ 11'03"|
|5||Dave Lawson||@ 4'40"||5||Hayley Mercer||@ 11'18"|