Otago's United States based rider Patrick Jones won the Ascot Park Criterium cycle race on Sunday for the second year in a row.
The 22-year-old professional criteriums specialist was too strong for the local contingent in the Division 1 Open A Grade race in Invercargill.
He spends varying amounts of time racing in the United States summer each year and enjoys supporting carnivals while improving his base training in the off season in New Zealand.
"Last year I spent six months over there and I am going over there for four months this year," he said.
The Team Budget Forklifts rider is looking forward to continuing to race in top criterium races in the United States.
"There are proper professional teams, it is a really high level of racing," he said.
A strong season this year will continue to provide opportunities to rise the professional ladder.
"It is going to be an important year for me coming up, I had a lot of race wins in the States in the past year," he said.
"It has opened some doors for me."
"I want to win as many races as I can, so I can step up to an even better level next year and do more races that pay good money."
He hopes to make the New Zealand team one day.
"Hopefully one day, New Zealand might select me to go to an international event like the World Cup or something," he said.
"In the meantime I am trying to do it in the United States and get by."
He found Sunday's race challenging, but enjoyable against several younger riders in the field.
"It was tough, some of the under-19s are giving it a good go making it difficult for me," he said.
"There are some good juniors coming through."
"There were plenty of attacks and lots of aggression out there, it was a good race."
The Dunedin born and raised rider had to use his sprint to get him across the finish line first.
"Usually I have to rely on my sprint to be able to win the race so as long as I could be with the main group at the end," he said.
Jones finished ahead of promising Southland brothers Hayden and Corbin Strong in the Division 1 A Grade race.
In other results, Andrew Lienert was too strong in the B Grade, finishing ahead of Steve Brough and Brent Spencer.
Tristan Leov won C Grade, while Cody Harvey claimed the under-13, Laurence Pithie continued his track form for a strong victory in the under-15 event, and Jono Stewart won the under-17 criterium.
Photo and article courtesy Stuff