Joel Yates conquers Admiral Hill

By NZ Cycle Classic

Joel Yates pushed aside wet conditions, 22km of uphill and a battle with Carlos Lopez to win the elite men’s grade in Saturday’s Trust House North Island team series in the Wairarapa.

In what was the most challenging race in the series to date due to rain and a series of hill climbs, including the final 12km slog up Admiral Hill in Gladstone, the action started only 20km into the 120km race. In the elite grade, a group of seven riders broke away including race favorite Yates and Brad Tilby from Skoda Racing, Mark Langlands from Breadcraft team, Young Mexican Carlos Lopez from Spoken Cycles and Sam Gardner from Bikebox Rentals among others.

At the bottom of the Te Wharau hill the lead was almost seven minutes to the large bunch who were content to let the leading group fight for the win.

While Tilby lead the tight group at the top of Te Wharau hill, this changed dramatically on the slopes of Admiral Hill with Yates and Lopez attacking with six kilometers to the top. The duo gained a small lead and then fought toe to toe over the last few hundred meters with Yates taking the race from Lopez while Gardner finished third place over a minute behind.

The win meant Yates is the Trust House Under 23 race leader while Wheelworks’ David Weaver retains his elite lead in the series with one race to go.

The Mitre 10 MEGA Masterton Masters One grade was almost a repeat of last year’s race with the same trio of riders battling it out for the top three spots. After fighting all the way up Admiral Hill for a win, a final sprint finish saw Callum Kennedy win the race just two inches ahead of Steve Bale while last year’s winner Scott McDonnell from Christchurch finished third. John Randall retained his overall lead in this grade.

Meanwhile the Mitre 10 Mega Masterton Masters Two race was also exciting with the majority of the field close together at the bottom of Admiral Hill.  However with five kilometres to go and the pressure on, a trio made a break. Wellington’s Rob Kilvington had been looking for a victory in the series for a long time and yesterday he got his wish after beating Masterton’s Jeff Saywell and Whanganui’s Pat Johnstone by almost 29 seconds following a solid attack on the final stretch.

Current series leader Kerrin Allwood manage to finish in 14th place to retain his lead by one point from Gary Anderson with a race to go.

Like last year, ride of the day was by Master’s rider Pat Johnstone from Wanganui riding for the Velo Ronny’s Trek team finishing third behind Kilvington and Saywell.

Race director Jorge Sandoval said yesterday proved to be a demanding day’s racing for riders and he was looking forward to the final race in the series which will take place on Sunday 4th December. Race five will see with riders complete a 120km race from Masterton to Pahiatua and back.

Brief results today race four – Trust House North island Teams Series.

Masters Two:
1st           Rob Kilvington – PNP
2nd          Jeff Saywell – Tararua Builders / Apache Jacks
3rd           Pat Johnstone – Velo Ronny’s Trek
Leader: Kerrin Allwood - PNP
Masters One
1st           Callum Kennedy – Roadworks
2nd          Steve Bale – Fitlab
3rd           Scott McDonnell –Fitlab
Leader: John Randall - Roadworks

1st           Joel Yates – Skoda Racing
2nd          Carlos Lopez – Spoken Cycles
3rd           Sam Gardner – Bike Box Rentals
Leader: Dave Weaver – Wheelworks
Leader U23: Joel Yates – Skoda Racing
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