Bruising finish line smash mars end of cycle race
PureBlack Racing rider Shem Rodger pipped last year's winner by one second to claim victory in the Tour de Manawatu yesterday.
Rodger, from Karapiro, was the first man home in the 116km event, finishing in 2hr 55min 24sec, winning a sprint finish with three other riders outside Memorial Park.
Last year's winner, Craig Lawn from Wellington, was second, one second behind Rodger and Palmerston North's Steve Stannard was third, one second behind Lawn.
The 116km ride went from the Square in Palmerston North, to Ashhurst, to Beaconsfield Valley, to Halcombe, then back through Feilding to Palmerston North.
Wanganui's Hayley Giddens made it back-to-back wins as she won the female division in 3hr 7min 24sec, cutting more than six minutes off her winning time last year.
Lucia Stewart from Palmerston North was second in 3hr 20min 5sec and Levin's Emma Clarke was third, 31 seconds behind Stewart. There was one big crash at the finish line where a rider turned to look behind them, swerved slightly and the riders behind crashed into the back of them.
It caused a pile-up with a couple of riders potentially breaking bones and while there were a couple of other crashes, there were no other major injuries. Chris Denholm was the first rider home in the 80km event in 1hr 58min 38sec and Kate Stewart was the first woman in 2hr 1min 54sec. Jacob Sievwright was the first home in the 45km ride in 1hr 17min 25sec and Michaela Drummond was the first woman in 1hr 18min 8sec.
More than 740 people entered the rides, with fewer than usual.