Begg dominant in Timaru tour after absence
Upper Hutt's Ollie Jones and South Canterbury's Nicole Begg took out the men's and women's Tour of Timaru speed skating titles yesterday after four days of contrasting racing.
Begg was dominant in the women's A grade.
She was only beaten once in the 13-stage tour - by Emily van der Heyden in the 5000m points race on Saturday - and cruised to the title and some self-confidence in her first serious competition in 18 months.
The event concluded with the New Zealand marathon championships at Timaru's International Motor Raceway yesterday.
Begg and van der Heyden broke away from the main pack with 1500m to go, with Begg getting the better of her protege.
Jones had to fight all the way with last year's champion Antony Nalder and sprinter Josh Whyte to secure the tour title.
The trio were tied at the top heading into the weekend, but a gutsy win in a tight marathon race helped his cause.
Nalder had a seven-point lead over Jones with a day to go thanks to his victory in the 840m event in which Jones finished 18th.
However, with skaters able to drop their two worst results from the competition, Jones was able to keep in touch and then hold on for the win on the final day.
Jessica van Bentum finished third behind van der Heyden and Begg in the women's competition.
In the mixed B grade, Jan Kuepper was just as dominant as Begg.
Kuepper lost just one stage, the 440m points race to Sophie Lowen, to take a comfortable win.
Jamie Atwill led from start to finish in the C Grade event, while Tasha McAuley won the D Grade.
The South Canterbury Rollerskating Club will host the New Zealand bank track championships on February 16 and 17.
Tour of Timaru final standings (fewest points win): A Grade men: Ollie Jones 31, Antony Nalder 40, Josh Whyte 47. A Grade women: Nicole Begg 11, Emily van der Heyden 31, Jessica van Bentum 65. B Grade mixed: Jan Kuepper 11, Boudine Brown 50, Leah McDonald 51
The Timaru Herald