Aussie Earle, team dominate Cycle Classic
Most of the field in the New Zealand Cycle Classic in Manawatu barely had a look in, such was the dominance of Australian Nathan Earle and his team last week.
Earle won the tour after the final 117-kilometre stage yesterday, finishing in the peloton for an overall time of 13 hours 35 minutes 29 seconds, 1min 16sec ahead of his Huon Salmon Genesys Wealth Advisers teammate Ben Dyball.
Genesys also won the team classification, had three riders in the top six and had a presence in most attacks during the five-day tour.
"Definitely a pretty dominating ride by the whole team, they were just incredible," Earle said after his fourth day of wearing the leader's jersey.
"I know how strong the boys are but they're even amazing me how they were going day in, day out."
He said it showed the importance of teamwork and his team was faultless all week on what has been one of their best tours.
"Back in 2011 it was a pretty dominating year; last year it didn't work out a lot of the time," Earle said.
"We made a few mistakes but we've learnt from them and I think we showed this week we've corrected any wrongs we've had in the past."
They were without team sprinter Anthony Giacoppo, who is riding in the Tour Down Under, so they had to change their tactics for the Manawatu tour, targeting wins from breaks and solo wins instead of sprint finishes.
Earle said he had won only one other tour and his other top results were two second places and a third, "so to be able to come here and take the yellow jersey on stage two and hold it all the way to the finish is pretty awesome".
Earle could afford to take it easy in the peloton on flats around Rongotea and Glen Oroua yesterday, as Malcolm Rudolph, Edward White, Kieran Hambrook and Matt Cronshaw led a breakaway group.
They had a lead of 1min 45sec before the hungry beast that is the peloton caught them with 15km to go and it went to a sprint finish which Drapac Professional Cycling's Thomas Palmer won with his time of 2hr 35min 48sec.
"We just had a nice day and enjoyed it and now the yellow's in the bag so we can relax," Earle said.
This was after Earle had won the 135.5km stage four on Saturday, the big climb up Saddle Rd to cement the lead he had since taking the yellow jersey from team-mate Joseph Cooper on day two.
Paul Odlin, of Armstrong Motor Group, won the sprint classification, Chris Jory, of GPM-Data#3, won the King of the Mountains and Alex Frame kept the under-23 rider's jersey.
Stage five results
1. Thomas Palmer (Drapac Professional Cycling) 2h35m48s
2. Patrick Bevin (New Zealand) same time
3. Clinton Avery (Trek-Vittoria) ST
4. Alex Frame (Trek) ST
5. Joseph Lewis (GPM-Data#3) ST.
1. Nathan Earle (Genesys) 13h35m29s
2. Benjamin Dyball (Genesys) at 01m16s
3. William Walker (Drapac) at 01m19s
4. Michael Torckler (NZ) at 01m27s
5. Roman Van Uden (Massey) at 02m07s
6. Patrick Shaw (Genesys) at 02m13s
7. Samuel Horgan (Budget Forklifts) at 02m45s
8. Tim Rush (Tait Communications) at 03m04s
9. Alex Frame (Trek) at 03m13s
10. Chris Jory (GPM) at 03m30s
11. Ryan Wills (NZ) at 04m06s
12. Matt Cronshaw (Meridian Cycling) at 07m13s
13. Jason Christie (Armstrong Motor Group) at 09m11s
14. Nathan Elliot (Seight Custom Cycle Clothing) at 10m48s
15. Scott Thomas (Tait) at 11m41s
16. Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) at 11m50s
17. Dion Smith (Trek) at 12m23s
18. Saxon Irvine (Seight) at 12m25s
19. Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac) at 12m29s
20. Callum Gordon (Team Eleven) at 12m35s
21. Richard Lawson (Unique Realty) at 12m41s
22. Morgan Smith (Capital Cycles) at 12m46s
23. Thomas Ashley (Ricoh) at 12m51s
24. Alex Wohler (Budget) at 12m56s
25. Ben McHale (Eleven) at 12m59s