With the Tour de Vineyards approaching next month, local competitors got a taste for the four-day road cycling event when they competed in the Tasman Wheelers Woollaston Estates Circuit on Saturday.
Hot and blustery conditions made for a hard and tiring race, with very little chance for a rest as the riders contended with the rolling hills and exposed head and cross winds. Most entrants battled their way around the course, with only a few dropping out.
Each grade had to do a different number of laps around the circuit, which started in Nuttal Rd.
In the A grade, consisting of 10 laps, an early break by Grayson Napier and Kieran Hambrook was eventually tracked down. Dean Fulton powered home to hold off a strong challenge from Thomas Ashley.
A breakaway group was also caught in the B grade, with Bruce Herron emerging as the winner ahead of Richie Van Vugt.
The fastest woman on the day was Karen Fulton, who came third in the B grade race.
John Reid took out the sprint finish to win the C grade, while Brian Samuels took out the D grade.
Every grade winner received a bottle of wine from Woollaston Estates, which is also naming sponsor of the Tour de Vineyards.
This year the tour will comprise a prologue and four stages, with some changes to the traditional format.
There will be three separate races - elite men's, including under-23 and under-19 categories; women's, including under-19 and masters (M1 plus); and the masters men's (M1-M3) and M4+.