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Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge - NE

Taupo, New Zealand, November 29, 2008


Latham grabs exciting sprint win

Olympian Peter Latham celebrated his return to the top with a brilliant victory in the Wattyl Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge today. Latham, who turns 25 years next month, took out the bunch sprint in brilliant fashion to claim the 160km race, breaking his own race record on the way. It gave the Te Awamutu rider his first win in the BikeNZ National Point Series, edging out Gordon McCauley and series leader Jeremy Yates in a frantic sprint.

Earlier fellow Beijing Olympian Catherine Cheatley won the women's 40 minute Hot Dog criterium event around the streets of Taupo from Marina Dujnvak and Rachel Mercer with fourth placed Serena Sheridan (Nelson) holding her lead in the national series. The two elite races were part of the annual cycle challenge that attracted more than 10,500 participants.

Latham's win marked an outstanding return for the 2005 Taupo winner, who recovered from a broken back 18 months ago that threatened his career. "This is a big win for me. I am really thrilled," Latham said. "I probably tried to come back a bit early after breaking my back and I am only now starting to feel like I am back to full fitness again.

"Even at the Olympics I still was not at my best but this is a good win in a really strong field," he added.

A bunch of 25 riders with all the major players broke away early in the race and remained clear over the main climb at Kuratau and into Turangi. It split shortly after with a group of nine easing clear including defending champion MacCauley, Yates, Latham, Hawkes Bay's Jeremy Vennell, Auckland's Aaron Strong, Manawatu's Tim Findlay and Olympic rower Hamish Bond from Cambridge.

Vennell, a noted climber, edged ahead up the final climb at Hautepe but was hauled back in before Strong made a move. Bond, who is enjoying his time as a cyclist since Beijing, led coming into the home straight in Tongariro St before MacCauley and Yates made their moves before both were caught by Latham on the line.

Latham won in 3hr 43min 27sec, taking nearly two minutes off his race record with an average speed of 43kph. He was half a wheel ahead of 2007 winner MacCauley with Yates third, who has retained his lead in the Lion Foundation National Points Series.

Olympic pursuit medallist Sam Bewley was fourth ahead of Strong and Findlay, who retains his lead in the national series for riders under-23. The leading six riders were given the same time.

Latham faces a busy year, after being picked up by US professional Team Bissell, run by kiwi Glen Mitchell, as well as a full track programme as part of the BikeNZ pursuit team. "It's an exciting year ahead for me. I am really looking forward to riding for Team Bissell who have given me the time to ride track for New Zealand."

Bond, a member of the rowing four at Beijing, turned plenty of heads with his performance. "It was a lot of fun. I am quite a bit bigger than the fulltime cyclists so I can ride with them on the flat but had to hang on up the hills," Bond said. "I've been back rowing for three weeks now so only riding a coupl of times a week. It's a nice change and I really enjoy it."

Earlier Cheatley edged out Auckland's Marina Duvnjak on the fine to win the women's criterium with young Wellington rider Rachel Mercer third. Nelson's Serena Sheridan was fourth but retains her lead in the championship. "It was good to get back into racing again and fantastic to race out in front of all these people on such a superb day," Cheatley said.

Cheatley won two of the four sprints with the others going to Duvnjak and Mercer.

The former Wanganui rider, now based in Southland, is back into training before she joins up with a new professional team in USA next year, Colavita Sutterhome.

Like Latham she will split her time on the road with the well performed Colavita Sutterhome team with her track programme which she hopes will include the world championships.


Elite men - 160km
1 Peter Latham (Te Awamutu )                              3.43.27
2 Gordon Mccauley (Auckland)
3 Jeremy Yates (Havelock North)
4 Sam Bewley (Rotorua)
5 Aaron Strong (Auckland)
6 Tom Findlay (Palmerston North)                             0.02
7 Hamish Bond (Cambridge)                                    0.03
8 Eliot Crowther (Auckland)
9 Jeremy Vennell (Hastings)                                  0.17
10 Eric Drower (Cambridge)                                   0.47
11 Mike Northey (North Shore City)                           0.48
12 Karl Murray (Auckland)
13 Jesse Sergent (Feilding)
14 Joseph Cooper (Wellington)
15 Roman Van Uden (Auckland)
16 Sam Horgan (Palmerston North)
17 Mathew Gorter (Hamilton)                                  0.51
18 Shem Rodger (Cambridge)                                   0.56
19 Wade Mangham (Rotorua)
20 Alex Meenhorst (Auckland)                                 1.00
21 Mark Langlands (Cambridge)                                3.02
22 Michael Torckler (New Plymouth)
23 Nick Lovegrove (Auckland)
24 Patrick Bevin (Taupo)
25 Simon Finucane (Rotorua)                                  5.38
26 Dan Warren (Taradale)
27 Will Alexander (Auckland)
28 Andy Hagan (Wellington)                                   5.39
29 Michael Poole (Auckland)
30 Stephen Sheldrake (Gisborne)
31 Brent Backhouse (Wellington)
32 Curtis Dearden (Cambridge)
33 Christopher Ratcliffe (Napier)                            5.40
34 Louis Crosby (Auckland)                                   5.41
35 Matt Yates (Hastings)                                     5.47
36 Stephen Elden (Christchurch)                              5.48
37 Wiremu Kaihau (Palmerston North)
38 Alex Cull (Auckland)
39 Aaron Gate (Auckland)
40 Andrew Weatherley (Morrinsville)
41 Zachary Taylor (Cambridge)                                5.49
42 Terry Moes (Porirua)
43 Simon Honour (Rotorua)
44 Alasdair Dempsey (Auckland)
45 Sam Lindsay (Auckland)
46 Thomas Williams (Auckland)                                5.50
47 Latham Croft (Auckland)
48 Scott Green (Rotorua)
49 Winston Briggs (Napier)
50 Justin Kerr (Tokoroa)
51 Carl Meyer (Cambridge)                                    5.51
52 Brent Bismark (Marton)
53 Daniel Seagar (Auckland)
54 Jeffrey Mcdowell (Rotorua)
55 Tim Tomlinson (Auckland)
56 Jonathan Hailstone (Auckland)
57 Nico De Jong (Auckland)
58 Darryl Strachan (Napier)                                  5.52
58 Sam Horn (Auckland)
60 Patrick Avery (Rotorua)
61 Hayden Godfrey (Christchurch)
62 Sean Joyce (Havelock North)
63 Antony Gardiner (Hamilton East)                           5.53
64 Joshua Barley (Wellington)
65 Hamish Osborne (Auckland)
66 Hamish Elley-Brown (Auckland)
67 James Mccarthy (Palmerston North)
68 Adam Coker (Manukau)
69 Jamie Whyte (Auckland)
70 Daniel Lithgow (Palmerston North)                         5.54
71 Grant Nicoll (Taupo)                                      5.55
72 Josh Brown (Palmerston North)                             5.59
73 Westley Gough (Hawkes Bay)                                6.07
74 Joshua England (Auckland)                                 6.48
75 Matt Wheatcroft (Manukau)                                 6.56
76 Clive Bennett (Wellington)                                9.28
77 Matthew Gilbert (Auckland)                                9.56
78 Mike Henton (Auckland)                                    9.57
79 Wayne Mcconachy (Taupo)
80 Cameron Senior (Feilding)
81 Don Oakly (Auckland)                                     12.27
82 Chris Sanson (Palmerston North)                          18.42
83 Ryan Wills (Whakatane)
84 Glen Frost (Auckland)                                    37.47
85 Blair Leslie (Wellington)                                39.48
86 Dylan Stewart (Napier)                                   42.58
87 Gary Groves (Auckland)                                   43.02
87 Malcolm Allen (Wellington)
89 Chris Faithfull (Auckland)                               43.03
90 Mathew Fletcher (Perth Wa)                               43.04
91 Neil Blayney (Auckland)                                  43.06
92 David Weston (Auckland)                                  43.11
93 Austin Mortimer (Hastings)                               49.05
94 Bartholomew Ludbrook (Wellington)                        57.32
95 Glen Lewis (Hamilton)                                  1.00.08
96 Sam (Rooster) King-Turner (Kapiti Coast)               1.01.29
97 John Winteringham (Kalamunda)                          1.04.59
98 Matthew Kurtovich (Auckland)                           2.06.27
99 Saul Webb (Rotorua)                                    2.20.33
100 Trevor Arthur (Rsa)                                   2.36.46
Elite women criterium
1 Catherine Cheatley (Invercargill)                            14 pts
2 Marina Duvnjak (Auckland)                                    10
3 Rachel Mercer (Wellington)                                    7
4 Serena Sheridan (Hastings)                                    6
5 Rosy McCall (Auckland)                                        5
6 Jeannie Kuhajek (Wakefield)                                   2
7 Kate Mullarkey (Auckland)
8 Amy Herlinveaux
9 Toni Bradshaw
10 Kerri-Anne Torckler (New Plymouth)
11 Emma Crum (Auckland)
12 Tracy Best (Lower Hutt, Wellington)
13 Jessica Jolly (Palmerston North)
14 Hayley Giddens (Christchurch)
15 Nicola Cox
16 Michelle Bellamy