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Cyco Criterium Series
An attack from the gun got the A grade field under way but although this came to nothing it set the tone for tonight's race. The race was peppered with attacks as riders tried to jump clear. The Auckland spring again produced a good amount of wind so it was always going to be difficult to go it alone. The first sprint was won by Rusty Smith after he jumped clear with Murray Spencer. They were caught by the bunch just after crossing the line. More attacks ensued and it was Matt Gilbert off the front in a small break who won the next sprint. With around 6 laps to go a dangerous break was allowed to go clear containing form riders Karl Murray, Aaron Strong, Gordon Bearman and former NZ stars Ric Reid and Tim Pawson. A group of riders attempted to bridge but blew apart 100 metres off the back of the group. As they entered the final two laps the break started to slow and the bunch began to catch them. On the last lap several riders managed to jump clear down the back straight and made contact with the leaders just as the sprint opened up. Last weeks breakaway winner Karl Murray jumped first and this proved to be decisive as he held out Gordon Bearman and Aaron Strong with Kieran Turner 4th and Rusty Smith 5th both of who bridged from the main bunch.
In the series points, with two wins in a row Karl Murray has closed in on Gordon's lead. It looks like a two way battle at the moment but if either of them was to miss a race or not finish...
As the field has grown in the B grade it has proved harder to get away with more riders willing to chase. The first sprint was won by Clint Patchett. No one seemed to interested in attacking the bunch full on and although there were some surges it was clear that the race was going to come down to a bunch sprint. With 3 laps to go the bunch crossed the line at a pedestrian pace with riders fanned across the road like a disorganised sunday bunch ride. With 1 and a half laps remaining Michael Northey and Peter Harding hit the front on the back straight and got the bunch into single file. The pace stayed on to the end as the bunch surged towards the line with Stuart Robinson getting a good early jump and just managing to hold off fast finishes from Russell Scott and Richard Speer.
In the points standings no one appears able (or willing for fear of promotion) to dominate B Grade yet. This is making for an exciting overall competition with the MET Helmet still anybody's to win.
A grade 1 Karl Murray 2 Gordon Bearman 3 Aaron Strong 4 Kieran Turner 5 Rusty Smith 6 Ric Reid 7 Matt Gilbert 8 Murray Spencer 9 Tim Pawson 10 Nigel Hunt Points Standings 1 Gordon Bearman 134 2 Karl Murray 118 3 Aaron Strong 79 4 Dave Rae 47 5 Rusty Smith 42 6 Kieran Turner 40 7 Murray Spencer 28 8 Eric McKenzie 25 9 Paul Summich 22 10 Richard Bowker 22 B Grade 1 Stuart Robinson 2 Russell Scott 3 Richard Speer 4 Rich Woodward 5 Michael Northey 6 Peter Harding 7 Kim Struthers 8 Tom Finlay 9 Marty Stock 10 Duncan Styles Points Standings 1 Stuart Robinson 65 2 Peter Harding 54 3 Michael Northey 48 4 Craig Pitt 47 5 Peter Brooking 44 6 Russell Scott 43 7 Elizabeth Williams 41 8 Rich Woodward 39 9 Rodney Harris 27 10 Matthew Biggs 26 Courtesy of cyclingnz.com
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