Begg dominates tour

JACOB PAGE
Last updated 05:00 25/01/2013

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It was as if she had never stopped skating. Former world champion Nicole Begg made a convincing return to competitive speed skating by dominating the women's A grade on the opening day of the Tour of Timaru, yesterday.

Begg won all five events on the programme despite it being her first outing in 18 months.

Defending men's champion Antony Nalder found the competition a little tougher.

Begg won all five events yesterday with relative ease.

There is a real top three emerging in the women's competition with Begg, fellow South Cantabrian Emily van der Heyden and Wanganui's Jessica van Bentum filling the podium places in most of the events.

The three were the only ones to break 30 seconds for the 300m time trial.

Begg then went on to win the 10,000m points race, 1000m pursuit and 2000m final.

She then showed she could handle the 8000m steeplechase race at Mainland Brewery.

Nalder will have some work to do to defend his title with Upper Hutt's Ollie Jones grabbing an early lead in the men's competition.

Jones won the 10,000m points race by a solitary point from the fast-finishing Australian Harry Stogdale who will be a real threat over long distances.

He then won the 1000m pursuit from Brayden Judd, while Josh Whyte has also been on the podium a lot early after he won the 300m time trial in 25.940 seconds from Nalder who managed a 25.952.

Nalder did close the gap on Jones with a crucial win in the steeplechase event, last night.

The duo are likely to continue their heated battles in the sprints but could struggle in the longer stages.

In the combined B grade, South Canterbury's Jan Kuepper has won everything so far in dominant fashion.

Jamie Atwill has a two-point lead over Charli Nevin and Roshean O'Connor in the C Grade, while Tasha McAuley leads the D grade.

Today will be a day for the sprinters, with the flying 200m, 500m and 1000m all on the schedule at the Caroline Bay track.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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