Hometown hero McCormick king of the Maunga

AARON GOILE
Last updated 05:00 12/11/2012
Hayden McCormick
Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ
SHOWING THE WAY: Hayden McCormick leads team-mate Michael Vink at the start of the Maunga Cycle Challenge in Te Awamutu yesterday.

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Hayden McCormick couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

After winning the national criterium championships in Takapuna on Friday night, the 18-year-old from Te Awamutu yesterday took out the Maunga Cycle Challenge on some roads that are very familiar to him.

McCormick completed the 100-kilometre race, which almost goes past his house, in two hours, 22 minutes and 58 seconds, finishing in the same time as his team-mate, Michael Vink, with the duo racing for Kiwivelo.

This was McCormick's third time at the event, which was in its seventh year, and he was coming off the gruelling Tour of Southland, where he helped out Vink and Hayden Roulston.

"I think the reward for finishing that is you have a bit of form the week after," McCormick said.

Vink, of Christchurch, is the under-23 national road race and time trial champion and was staying with McCormick for the weekend, racing with him at both Friday's criterium and yesterday.

Vink finished second and helped McCormick to the win yesterday, with third placegetter Matt Gorter 35 seconds back.

"Knowing he had a team-mate up the road, Michael had an easy ride at the end and didn't have to chase or anything, and if I did get caught then he was fresh and could have won himself," McCormick said.

The first 15km of the race had the riders all watching each other, before McCormick decided to go.

The last 30km of the race were into a headwind and had long straights so the chasing riders could see McCormick.

"I stayed away by myself until 2km to go and Michael rode across and finished it off with me which was good," McCormick said.

Training on those roads a lot gave McCormick an advantage, he felt, and he said the cloudy skies provided ideal conditions.

"It was perfect racing conditions actually. It wasn't too hot, but it was definitely better than Southland."

McCormick's tough work continues into the Oceania track championships in Adelaide in two weeks.

His preparation for that is some "bloody hard" short and sharp stuff.

The first female rider across the line yesterday was 23-year-old Aucklander Emma Crum in 2:31:02.

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- Waikato

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