Date: Thursday, 16 January 2020

Corbin Strong (New Zealand National Team) took an excellent fourth place in the opening stage of the NZ Cycle Classic yesterday. The 121km stage was won by former SBS Bank Tour of Southland winner Aaron Gate (Black Spoke Pro Cycling) in 2h49:41, ahead of Jensen Plowright (Team BridgeLane) in second, with Dylan Kennett (St George Continental Cycling Team) in third, one second back. Strong was a further two seconds back in fourth.
Nick Kergozou (Couplands Bakeries) was the next best Southland finisher in 23rd place, with Matt Zenovich (St George Continental Cycling Team) in 59th, Lachlan Robertson (Trust House Team) in 101st, and Hamish Keast (WBS Cycling Team) unfortunately not completing the stage.

Gate leads the overall standings, followed by Plowright and Kennett, with Strong in fourth overall, 13 seconds off the overall lead after time bonusses had been factored in. Strong is also second in the U23 rider classification, 9 seconds off leader Plowright.
Stage two sees riders take on a lumpy 121km route which should further spread out the field and could favour stronger climbers, but with time for a chase to bring back any riders who may have escaped the clutches of the peloton as they head back into Masterton.

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