Jones wins inaugural Aoraki Mount Cook Classic Cycle Race

By John McKenzie

Christchurch cyclist and New Zealand Speed Skating champion Ollie Jones lived up his favouritism, winning the 100 kilometre inaugural Aoraki Mount Cook Classic Cycle Race held on the shores of Lake Pukaki on Sunday. 

Twenty year old Jones dominated the event, winning in two hours and forty one minutes, riding away from Dunedin cyclist Matt Summer in the final five kilometres.

Jones, who was riding the event as part of his build up for his first SBS Tour of Southland at the end of the month, animated the race, put the pressure on at every opportunity eventually riding clear from a leading group of 20 cyclists with 10 kilometres left to race, taking Summer with him.

“It wasn’t as hilly as I was expecting, but there was still of lot of attacks and I was trying to be aggressive and in the end there was only one guy that wanted to come with me,” Jones said.

Once away the two riders worked well to build a lead of over two minutes with Jones clearly the stronger of the two, with Jones moving clear as the race gradually climbed towards the Hermitage Hotel at Aoraki Mount Cook Village. 

“It was a good race with lots of potential to see more riders in the future,” Jones said. It’s got such great scenery and it was a great day for it today. You can see Mount Cook the whole way back – it’s really beautiful.”  
Christchurch cyclist and New Zealand Speed Skating champion Ollie Jones lived up his favouritism, winning the 100 kilometre inaugural Aoraki Mount Cook Classic Cycle Race held on the shores of Lake Pukaki. 

Nick Begg proved to be the strongest from the chasing group, winning the uphill bunch sprint to claim third, finishing one minute and nineteen seconds behind Jones, having narrowed the margin to Summer to 33 seconds.

Queenstown multisport athlete Kat Bulk won the women’s 100 kilometre race, coming home over a minute ahead of Vicki Martin who was second, and Masters World Championship time trial bronze medallist Sue Lazar, winning in two hours and fifty eight minutes.

“It was just so amazing,” Bulk said. “I’ve wanted to ride that road for ages so it was just magic. The conditions were really good and I was working with a really good bunch so it was just an awesome ride.” 

Queenstown cyclist Paul Preston won the 50 kilometre event ahead of Harvey Weir in one hour and 29 minutes after the two riders had broken away and established a sizeable lead that at one stage was over 10 minutes.

Toby Buckner was third, proving the strongest of the chasing group on the final uphill finish, holding off Han Wouters and the first women home in the 50 kilometre event, Matilda Carrell.
Adrian Bailey, Managing Director of organisers Active QT, said he was very pleased how the event when, saying feedback confirmed his thoughts that it is “quite possibly one of the world’s most scenic cycle races.”   

“It’s really is an incredible place to have a bike race,” he said. “The feedback we’ve had is fantastic so we look forward to word spreading and seeing more riders back next year to experience the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and riding in such a spectacular area.”

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