Archbold notches Christchurch win at last

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 03/12/2012
Shane Archbold
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
NEED FOR SPEED: South Canterbury’s Shane Archbold will be one of the London Olympians competing at the national track cycling championships in Invercargill.

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Timaru's Shane Archbold survived two spills and the loss of plenty of skin to win the Festival of Cycling's criterium in Christchurch yesterday and break a seven-year hoodoo.

The 23-year-old Olympian finished third in the event in 2005 as a 16-year-old novice, but despite improving through the years and becoming one of the country's top cyclists, the enigmatic South Cantabrian hasn't featured since.

Yesterday, the battered and bruised Archbold outsprinted defending champion Tom Scully, Paul Odlin, Mike Northey, Hamish Schreurs and Nick Lovegrove to the title on the 900m, technical University of Canterbury circuit.

After two crashes earlier in the race, both involving Dillon Bennett, Archbold opted to get to the front and keep out of trouble.

Criterium rules allow riders a two-lap break if they crash or have mechanical failures before rejoining the field where they were before the incident.

Archbold had two mini-breaks in the 45-minute race. Bennett crashed once and Archbold rode into him then off the circuit. The second time it was Archbold who went down, losing lycra and skin before Bennett rode into him. "I said to [Tom] Scully, ‘the easiest thing is to be in the break and stay out of trouble'," Archbold said. "When you're in the break, it's so much easier because you've got guys working together, not working against each other. In the pack you've got guys all around you doing there own thing and it can get a bit messy, as you saw."

Archbold and a large number of the men's field had "a very, very late night" at Marc Ryan's stag do on Saturday night, but the champion showed no signs of it.

He powered to the line looking fresher then the rest having earlier played a major role in bridging the gap with the initial break away by Odlin, Northey and Saturday's 90m Waipara Challenge winner, Englishman Matt Cronshaw.

Archbold said he's raced the Tour of Southland but had done little training since.

Odlin rode a strong race, but didn't have the sprint to match Archbold at the end.

The women's criterium was won by Alexandra's Sophie Williamson whose victory made up for a sprint loss in the women's Waipara Challenge on Saturday.

Williamson kept the pace on throughout the women's 35-minute criterium and won by five lengths from defending champion Jeannie Kuhajek. Kaiapoi's Reta Trotman won the road race on Saturday in a tight sprint finish over Williamson and Emma Crum (Whangaparoa). Christchurch's Haley Mercer was fourth ahead of Gabrielle Vermunt (Invercargill).

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- The Press

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