Nick Kergozou (Couplands Bakeries) took second to omnium elite world champion Campbell Stewart (New Zealand National Team) in a photo finish on stage two of the New Zealand Cycle Classic in Masterton yesterday, with Corbin Strong (New Zealand National Team) claiming fourth.
Stewart took the 121km stage by the narrowest of margins in 2hrs 36min 15sec - while his fellow Vantage elite track mate Nick Kergozou fought back from a puncture to claim second. Jensen Plowright (Team BridgeLane) was third with Stewart's teammate Strong fourth.
Plowright's third place earned him an extra time bonus to him into first place on general classification ahead of another Vantage elite track rider, Aaron Gate (Black Spoke Cycling Academy), who won stage one.
Stewart is part of an exciting young New Zealand team with some riders using this Tour as a build up towards their goal of selection for the Tokyo Olympics on the track. He said the final sprint was a great reward for a hard day's racing.
"It was all on for the sprint, I was kind of jostling for position and the team were all just lined up perfectly in front of me to be able to launch me onto Jensen's wheel and we also had Nick Kergozou there on the side and we kind of went for a three-way sprint. Kergy went left and I went right and Jensen was in the middle. I guess sitting on the wheel and coming out late was the key to it today," he said.
"(The margin) was very small. I train with Nick everyday out on the road, in the velodrome so know him pretty well so to be able to get that lunge and the extra millimetre, counts."
The New Zealand Cycle Classic is the only UCI 2.2 sanctioned stage race in New Zealand, with a five-stage race in the Wairarapa. The third stage is 126.3km stage that starts in Masterton and heads south through rolling countryside to Martinborough.
CAPTION: Campbell Stewart (left) edged Nick Kergozou (right) to the line to win stage 2 of the New Zealand Cycle Classic in Masterton. (Photo: Dave Lintott)