Tasman Wheelers dominated round one of the HG Hunter Memorial Shield in the Nelson Open 80km championship event in Nelson on Saturday afternoon.
The open grade handicap event covered a tough course from the Nelson clubrooms in Redwood Valley over the Moutere hill, through Upper Moutere, across to Ngatimoti, Woodstock, Dovedale, Neudorf Road and returning to the clubrooms.
The hilly course took its toll on the front to middle markers in the 70-strong field.
About 50km into the race, the 12-minute group hit the front and had swelled to 18 riders.
Unfortunately, their time was limited when the scratch group mowed them down on the climb over the Neudorf hill. Six riders went clear, which was reduced to five on the Moutere hill climb when former Marlborough rider Robin Reid (TW) had a mechanical failure.
A close sprint to the line had just centimetres separating the first three riders, with Daniel Ellison (TW) taking honours from clubmates Chris Nicholson and Kristoff Ford. Cameron Ford (TW) and Marlborough's Peter Crampton took fourth and fifth places, respectively.
Marlborough riders Callum Saunders and Gerard van Antwerpen led in the next chasing group 1min 25sec later. Other Marlborough riders to gain points were Martin Fletcher (16th), Brodie Catterick (18th) and Matt Straker (20th).
Tasman Wheelers have 150 points after the first round - 102 ahead of their nearest rival Cuddon Cycling Marlborough.
Open grade: D Ellison (TW) off scratch 1, C Nicholson (TW) off scratch 2, K Ford (TW) off scratch 3, C Ford (TW) off 5min 4, P Crampton (CCM) off scratch 5, C Saunders (CCM) off 9m 6, G van Antwerpen (CCM) off 5m 7, R Searle (TW) off scratch 8, K Fulton (TW) off 5m 9, B Grant (TW) off 5m 10, D Bremner (TW) off 5m 11, E Wylde (TW) off 9m 12, A MacDonald (TW) off 5m 13, B Herron (TW) off 5m 14, H Jaine (TW) off 5m 15m, M Fletcher (CCM) off 12m 16, K Murdoch (TW) off 12m 17, B Catterick (CCM) off scratch 18, T Miller (TW) off 12m 19, M Straker (CCM) off 12m 20.
Fastest time: D Ellison (Scr) 2hr 01m 05s 1, C Nicholson (Scr) s.t 2, K Ford (Scr) s.t. 3, P Crampton (Scr) s.t. 4, R Searle (Scr) 2hr 02m 32s 5.
Today, 5.15pm and 5.30pm - Bunch rides. Meet at Cycle World, 58 Charles Street.
Saturday, September 8, 9am - Cuddon School Tour, time Trial (Taylor Pass Road), followed by Criterium (Kart track).
Sunday, September 9, 8.30am - Cuddon School Tour, hill time trial (Ridge Resort) followed by road races (Fairhall Hall).
Sunday, September 9, 8am and 9am - Bunch rides. All levels catered for. Meet at Cycle World, 58 Charles Street.
- The Marlborough Express
Who will win the Press Cup on Saturday, 2.30pm, Lansdowne Park, Blenheim?