The Scottish rider dominated the 5 days race from the second stage with the Black Spoke constant leadership
The Scottish road and track cyclist, who has been living in New Zealand since the first lockdown, went into today’s final stage with a 38 second advantage on general classification. After crossing the finish line in sixth position behind his teammate Regan Gough, who won the last stage, Stewart has been crowned as the overall New Zealand Cycle Classic winner.
Upon being presented the yellow jersey in front of a large and vocal crowd in Midland Park in the centre of Lambton Quay, Stewart thanked his teammates and all the thousands of spectators who came out to watch the circuit race.: “You can’t underestimate how important an event like this is for New Zealand to have such a high calibre of riders mix with, hopefully, New Zealand’s next generation of talent, and then to top that and to put it in the capital city of the country, is phenomenal. So to come here and to be the best rider in that field and to wear the yellow jersey, is really quite special”, said Stewart.
The circuit race, saw plenty of action from the second lap, when home town rider George Jackson (Mito Q), Shane Archbold (NZL) and Glenn Hayden (Coupland’s) took the lead and held it for several laps. At one point having a 30 second advantage over the peloton. Jackson won all three sprints catapulting him up the points ladder to be in serious contention for the Sprint jersey.
The race was lit up when George Bennett, Gough and Stewart put their heads down and lifted their pace, giving the crowds plenty to cheer about. But it was Gough who in the final stages of the stage went out in front and had enough power in his legs to take the stage win in 1:08:15″ just ahead of Keegan Hornblow (Coupland’s) and Laurence Pithie (NZL).
While Jackson narrowly missed out on the sprint ace jersey to St George Continental’s Nick Kergozou, he said he loved racing in front of his hometown crowd and was surprised to get in the early breakaway: “It was pretty cool to see so many people I know on the streets, it was pretty special. I didn’t expect that, but I saw Archbold and Hayden go, and I knew those guys are very strong so I just held on and I got a pretty good gap and took lots of green jersey points I was just hunting those … it was a pretty good day”, said Jackson.
Even though Bennett didn’t finish on the podium, his New Zealand National team won at the Team’s Classification while teammate Laurence Pithie took out the U23/Young Rider jersey: “At the start of the week, I was hanging on for dear life and just got stronger every day and by yesterday I was in the race. Obviously, I’ve got a huge amount of work to go as I will be racing with the best riders in the world, but I’m really happy with what I got out of the week, and where I am at”, said Bennett.
5th STAGE RESULTS
- 2 Regan GOUGH (BSP) NZL 1:08:15″
- 113 Keegan HORNBLOW (COU) NZL +0
- 26 Laurence PITHIE (NZL) NZL +0
- 12 Nicholas KERGOZOU (STG) NZL +0
- 32 George JACKSON (NCP) NZL +0
- 4 Mark STEWART (BSP) GBR +0
- 134 Zakk PATTERSON (BSS) NZL +0
- 82 Dan GARDNER (MMM) GBR +0
- 85 James KRZANICH (MMM) NZL +0
- 5 Ryan CHRISTENSEN (BSP) NZL +0
FINAL NEW ZEALAND CYCLE CLASSIC 2022 GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
- 4 Mark STEWART (BSP) GBR 11:30:12″
- 11 Ollie JONES (STG) NZL +38
- 26 Laurence PITHIE (NZL) NZL +44
- 22 George BENNETT (NZL) NZL +56
- 113 Keegan HORNBLOW (COU) NZL +1:09
- 16 Campbell PITHIE (STG) NZL +1:13
- 32 George JACKSON (NCP) NZL +1:54
- 34 Kees DUYVESTEYN (NCP) NZL +2:05
- 71 Bailey O’DONNELL (OXE) NZL +2:13
- 52 Andrew BIDWELL (FMC) NZL +2:17
- 93 Samuel RITCHIE (CNZ) NZL +3:03
- 83 Liam MORRISON (MMM) NZL +6:28
- 45 Tyler BURBAGE (THT) NZL +10:57
- 82 Dan GARDNER (MMM) GBR +11:57
- 101 Corby PRICE (CAB) NZL +12:34
- 36 Josh BURNETT (NCP) NZL +15:08
- 111 Glenn HADEN (COU) NZL +15:13
- 72 Guy YARRELL (OXE) NZL +15:42
- 53 Adam BIDWELL (FMC) NZL +15:45
- 24 Mike PHILLIPS (NZL) NZL +15:59
- 91 Caleb BOTTCHER (CNZ) NZL +16:06
- 15 James HARVEY (STG) NZL +16:20
- 85 James KRZANICH (MMM) NZL +17:10
- 103 Oliver GRAVE (CAB) NZL +17:44
- 21 Alexander WHITE (NZL) NZL +19:00