Another strong showing from the Southland based H&J’s Outdoor World team was one of the features of the final round of the elite Benchmark series on Saturday.
Raced over 155 kilometres in north Canterbury, Saturday’s event marked the final hit-out for a number of riders lining up at the start line on Sunday for the 2012 PowerNet Tour of Southland.
Subway Pro Cycling completed a timely double with Southland Tour debutant Dylan Kennett showing a clean set of heels to claim the win from team-mate Paul Odlin by four seconds with Outdoor World’s Cameron Karwowski taking third a further 16 seconds back.
“I was very happy to win leading in Southland,” Kennett said. “I felt strong and was feeling good after saving energy in the bunch for the first half of the race. We had a race plan to get either myself or Oddy into the winning break."
After several early breakaway attempts were caught Kennett managed to successfully join one that stuck that included Odlin, Dan Barry from the Benchmark Homes team, Karwowski and three of his teammates. After the group established a lead of one minute 20 seconds over the chasing peloton Odlin attacked taking only Karwowski with him.
“Once Oddy broke away with Cam and had about 15 seconds on us I worked at shaking the rest. I managed to get away and bridge the gap on Summerhill that made it two Subway riders verses Cam. Oddy pulled some massive turns and Cam pulled strongly too. Oddy told me to save energy and only take every second lap.”
As the three riders approached Cust, Odlin attacked one final time establishing a small lead. Kennett then waited patiently and judged his winning move perfectly getting the jump on Karwowski as they hit Cust and then rode across the gap to join Odlin with only two kilometres left of racing"
“It was a great result for me and the team,” Kennett said. “Oddy was very good and set things up so I was in the best possible position to win.”
Subway Pro Cycling’s General Manager Hayden Godfrey said the focus was now on the Tour of Southland where Kennett while make his debut. Godfrey stressed it was important for Kennett to soak up as much of the experience of riding his first senior Southland Tour as he could but had no doubt the young cyclist had potential to turn a few heads should an opportunity present itself during racing.
Kennett and Odlin will be joined in Subway colours by Olympian Westley Gough, Nick Lovegrove, Ian Smallman and Simon Binny, while Karwowski will again don the PowerNet strip after playing a major role in Josh Atkins’ overall victory in last year’s tour.
Others to feature prominently on Saturday were Cycling Southland’s Bradley Tuhi who finished fifth and Tasman Wheelers Chris Nicholson sixth. Both will ride for Henderson Construction next week.
H&J’s Outdoor World’s James Williamson, the current National Road Champion, was also at the front of the first bunch and will lead the Pure Black Racing Southland assault while the top ten was rounded out by Brad Evans, Daniel Barry and Tim Rush.
Evans and Rush will both line up in the Olphert Contracting – McKenzie Craik team while Daniel Barry has been a late replacement in the UK-based Node 4 – Subaru team following the last minute withdrawal of his Benchmark Homes team.
A total of 21 teams will contest this year’s PowerNet Tour of Southland, starting with the Team’s Time Trial Prologue from the Feldwick Gates at Queens Park in Invercargill on Sunday from 4:30pm.
Follow the 2012 PowerNet Tour at www.tourofsouthland.com
Photo courtesy of Bruce Wilson