Interprovincial rivalry was to the fore on Saturday with the running of race three of the Southern Series at the Greenfield Tavern in Clydevale.
The series takes advantage of synchronicities between clubs, aims to share resources and add interest by riding new circuits with different co-markers.
Races one and two were from Gore and were hosted by Cycling Southland. Cycling Otago organised Saturday's popular 60km race which is supported by Balclutha locals.
The handicapper can never win and conversation before the race surrounded the difficulty of the elite scratch racers being a group of three, while six other bunches comprised around seven riders.
Phil Turnwald, last year's winner, opted to join scratch but quickly regretted this decision.
The scratch riders, being let off 32 minutes in arrears, were taking no prisoners in their crusade to get to the front and, when Turnwald's seat came loose, it was obvious his grip on the coveted trophy had slipped.
Meanwhile, up front, Barry Ellis and Gavin Hartley were working hard although their bunch had surrendered. The next bunch was a cohesive group of mainly Southlanders who were simply too good on the day.
As this group hit the turnaround halfway mark, they noticed the bunches behind had splintered and this bolstered the front group's psychological advantage.
As the tape approached, Hartley and Ellis had been captured and the sprint for the line resulted in Tim Maynard winning from Shirlene Rollo, Max Anderson and first Otago rider home vice-president Ellis, who was ecstatic his hard training is showing results.
Further back, the scratch bunch was going for fastest times for not only prestige but valuable series points. Southlander Josh Haggerty just pipped Otago's Brad Evans who, along with Mark Spessot, clawed back 24min from limit.
In the senior women's category, Elyse Fraser was in a large bunch with Southlander Gabi Vermunt. Vermunt's strategy of kicking on a downhill 2km out enabled her to choose pole position for the last sprint but she was overtaken by several riders and Fraser was able to jump from her bunch to the leading bunch to take fastest women's time.
Bailey Saville was the first junior and the first Otago rider was Martinus Hendricks. The last race in the series will be held on 25 May over the Waihola-Taieri Mouth circuit.
By Jan Brosnahan for the Otago Daily Times