Close racing and sprint finishes marked the opening day of the 30th anniversary Yunca Junior Tour of Southland for 2013 at Teretonga today.
The day featured the opening Vital Signs-sponsored Individual Time Trial followed by an afternoon kermesse sponsored by Zookeepers Cafe at Teretonga Raceway over eight different age categories.
Ally Wollaston (Counties Manukau) made an early statement in the Under 13 girls after rolling off the start ramp first to start the event, recording the fastest time trial for the age group (boys and girls) in 4:25. Caitlin Titheridge of Tinwald finished second, 37 seconds in arrears with Ella Blakely (PNP) third.
The Under 13 boys came down to fractions of seconds with Connor Leov from Timaru (4:38), Drew Christensen (Hamilton City) and Cycling Southland's Josh Miller all within one second of each other.
Central Otago-Wakatipu's Nicole Shields grabbed the first yellow jersey of the Under 15 girls recording 4:02 for the 2.6 kilometre course, to beat home Racing Kangaroo Jessie Saunders by six seconds with Libby Arbuckle (Bike Manawatu) a further five seconds back in third.
Josh Scott of Papanui (3:39) grabbed the early advantage in the Under 15 Boys with a three second win over Matthew Trenchard (Pegasus). Sam Titter-Dower (Counties Manukau) was third at nine seconds.
Mikayla Harvey (Counties Manukau) opened her Yunca Tour with a 3:52 time trial to lead home Bryony Botha (North Harbour) by 2 seconds with Cycling Southland's Makayla Smith a further three seconds back in third.
NZ Secondary School road champion Renee Wooton (North Harbour) kept up her fine recent form with the stage win in the Under 19 Women, recording 3:54 to finish a single second ahead of both Laura Heywood (Cycling Southland) and Holly Edmondston (Pegasus).
It was just as close in the Under 17 Boys with Australian Liam Magennis (Port Macquarie) stopping the clock at 3:24 to beat home Timaru's Jack Ford by a solitary second with Sam Dobbs (Taupo) taking third at three seconds.
Junior Worlds representatives Josh Haggerty (Cycling Southland) and Alex Hooper (Tinwald) filled the first two Under 19 Men's places with Haggerty recording the day's fastest time of 3:20, one second ahead of his Glasgow team mate with Jake Marryatt (Pegasus) taking third a further two seconds back.
The afternoon kermesse racing provided plenty of action with Ally Wollaston doubling up to win the Under 13 race outright and take a 1:24 lead on GC over Caitlin Titheridge with Ella Blakely at 3:36 in third.
Hunter Gough claimed second place in the sprint finish ahead of Josh Miller and Connor Leov which put Miller in to yellow with a one second lead over Leov with Christensen third overall at three seconds.
Jessie Saunders claimed the Under 15 girls kermesse by the narrowest of margins, just 0.008 seconds ahead of Emily Shearman (Bike Manawatu) in a brilliant photo finish which, not surprisingly, relied on the finish camera to confirm. Laura Jones (Racing Kangaroo) took third in the stage on the same time. Nicole Shields maintained yellow by just a second from Saunders, with Shearman moving in to third at 11 seconds. Saunders leads the AMI Sprint Ace competition by 4 points from Shearman.
Another bunch finish in the Under 15 boys was won by Josh Scott from Zachary Marshall (Racing Kangaroos) and Hamish Keast (Cycling Southland). Scott holds a nine second buffer on general classification over Matthew Trenchard with Keast third at 14 seconds. Scott also leads the AMI Sprint Ace on 8 points, 6 clear of Marshall and William Young (Auckland Central).
Olivia Podmore showed a clean set of heels down the final straight in the Under 17 Girls to claim the Zookeepers stage win from Emma Cumming (Cycling Southland) and Michael Drummond (Bike Manawatu). Yunca Tour leader Mikayla Harvey's fourth place in the stage saw her eek out another second to lead Bryony Botha by three seconds overall with Mikayla Smith maintaining third at six seconds. Podmore claimed the AMI Sprint Ace jersey with 10 points, five clear of Drummond.
The top five riders in the Under 19 Women are seperated by only four seconds after Nina Wollaston (Counties Manukau) claimed the Stage 2 win in another sprint to the line from Cass Harvey (Counties Manukau) and Renee Wooten. Wooten holds the overall Yunca Tour lead by three seconds from Holly Edmondston and Laura Heywood. Wollaston claimed the green AMI Sprint Ace jersey with 10 points, five clear of Lucy Timmings (Pegasus).
Australian Sam Jenner (Armidale) and Southland's Brayden Stephens got off the front of the Under 17 Boys and gapped the bunch by four seconds at the finish with Tom Sexton (Cycling Southland) leading the bunch home in third. That was enough for Stephens to grab yellow, ahead of Liam Magennis at two seconds and Sexton third at three seconds. Alex West (Bike Manawatu) holds the sprint jersey on 7 points, one clear of Adam Mitchell (Dubbo).
There was a flurry of attacks in the final race of the day, the Under 19 Men. George Roberts (Bike Manawatu), Cameron Ford (Tasman Wheelers) Ryan Christensen (Hamilton City) and James Denholm (Bike Manawatu) all saw time off the front, but in the end the ten lap race came down to the final circuit and Josh Haggerty roared home to take the Zookeepers stage win with Reon Sheath (Auckland Central) and Christensen on his wheel. Haggerty increased his Yunca Tour lead over Alex Hooper to seven seconds with Jake Maryatt third at nine seconds. Roberts holds the AMI Sprint jersey on 10 points, two ahead of Haggerty.
Racing on Saturday switches to Te Tipua with two challenging road stages sponsored by Share the Road. You can follow us live at with our roadside updates with the first race starting at 9am.
For full results from the 2013 Yunca Junior Tour, click here.