Trust House Women’s Cycling Tour of New Zealand 2007
Masterton - Admiral Hill, 125km
T-Mobile continued their absolute domination of the Tour of New Zealand with a display of strength and tactics which left the other teams standing on Stage 4.
An early break containing 8 riders was allowed to quickly build up a lead of over seven minutes. Brooke Ourada (Cheerwine), Louise Kerr and Jenny Macpherson (both Australia), Michelle Hyland (New Zealand), Loës Markerink (Team Flexpoint), Alexis Rhodes (T-Mobile), Yvette Hill-Willis and Amy Mosen (both Wellington Star Mercedes) went away in the opening kilometres and were quickly opening up their time advantage.
The break was allowed to stay away for the first 70 kilometres or so. As the race completed the circuit at the east end of the stage course, the advantage had dropped to just over a minute. Then, Linda Villumsen (T-Mobile) went solo up the road in pursuit of the leaders. She was closing on them by the time they reached the feed zone on Strongbar Road and despite being 15 seconds down on them through the feed, caught them chased the attack which went on the descent through the 'Mad Mile' by Michelle Hyland.
Villumsen was so strong that within ten km, she had passed them and gained a minute and a half by the time she made the right turn at Wainuoru School. The group were about to be pulled back into the bunch, their impetus gone.
At the summit of Wharau Hill, Villumsen was 50 seconds ahead, Lorian Graham (AIS) and Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine) were the chasers, battling for the Mountains Competition points on offer. They led a lone chaser, Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) by 10 seconds and the bunch by another 45 seconds.
Arndt caught Graham and Hobson on the descent and on the transition, a rolling 3km along the Martinborough to Masterton road, the three caught Linda Villumsen. She stayed with them for another 750m, as they all turned left onto the road at the foot of Admiral Hill. As the gradient rose again, Judith Arndt stepped up the pressure and left the others behind her. An attempt to come back was made by Graham and Hobson, but to no avail. Arndt climbed to the summit strongly, arriving at the finish 1 minute 39 seconds ahead of the pair who were still battling for mountains competition points.
Graham beat Hobson to the line and was initially awarded the (final) Mountains Competition jersey of the tour. However, despite the better placing on the final climb, since the pair were equal on points and Graham had not actually surpassed Hobson's points total, the Canadian was reinstated as winner.
Judith Arndt's stage victory was enough to put her in the race leader's jersey by 1 minute 45 seconds over Hobson and Graham (at 2'47).
Arndt is a reliable time triallist and if she can stay out of trouble on the final stages of the 2007 Tour on Sunday, should emerge as overall winner. The Scorching Bay time trial (14km) in the morning precedes a criterium in Wellington City Centre on Sunday afternoon.
were very relaxed at the start of stage 4, enjoying the fact that they had
the opportunity to leave from the race hotel, rather than ride out to a
start location. The weather was also being kind to the riders. The
traditional Wellington high winds and rain were missing, replaced by clear
blue skies and 25 degree temperatures. The wind did pick up a little in
the later stages of the race and provided a small tail wind in the final
Jenny Fay is one of a handful of riders from the UK & Ireland and is taking part in the NZ Tour for the first time. Sitting just over 6 minutes down before the stage started she was asked about the stage and her tactics just prior to the start. She said, “I am ok with the big main climbs as we have done them already this week. The final climb is an unknown for me, I think I will need to attack and get well ahead if I want to make it to the finish. It’s just great to be here to do the training and to do all of this hill climbing before I go home to Ireland. This trip has been pretty good and the weather this week has been amazing. Where’s the wind in Wellington? Today is so still.”
Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) won in convincing style today on a climb made for her and took over the race lead from team mate Teutenberg. After tremendous effort from her team throughout the race, she attacked on the final climb and finished 1 minute 39 seconds ahead of her nearest rival.
after her win, she took a few minutes to catch her breath, “Mountain top finishes are always hard, this one was nice though because
there were some down hills that meant I could recover a little. I gave it
everything because no one knows what can happen in the time trial [referencing
stage 5]. My time trialling abilities are not that bad
[she was being modest, she is one of the best in the world] and everyone
suffered today. I think I have a good chance to hold the jersey.
(Australian National Team) was amazing on the stage today,
considering she has only been racing again since January 2007. She
held her own on the climbs and in the break and looked strong to finish in
awesome fashion to take second place on the line. Graham was very
emotional at the finish. “This
is just pure emotion after everything I have been through, [referring
to the injuries sustain in the crash in Germany in 2005, which took the
life of Amy Gillett] that
just made my day.”
was asked if she believed she had the form to do well at this tour before
she started. “When
the tour started I didn’t contest the mountains competition on the first
round but I did better on the second day and was really just trying to get
the mountains jersey. Trying to contest that today, got me into the break
with the Canadian
and Judith [Arndt] came
over the top. I swapped her for a couple of turns but Judith is just in a
class of her own, she deserved the win so much today. I am honored to have
come second to her.”
Hobson (Cheerwine) rode strongly all day and contested all of the
mountain competition points on offer. Crossing the line at the same time
as Graham, she finished on equal points, and she managed to secure the
mountains jersey ahead of Graham as she was the current leader.
was so hard,” she said as she recovered after the finish. “I
am so happy with my ride and team’s efforts.”
Vikki Whitelaw (Australian National Team) was one of 5 Australians who managed to finish in the top 10 on the stage, there were 8 in total in the top 20. Reflecting on this Whitelaw said, “The Aussies have an advantage here in that we are well into our season. We have been racing hard for a few months now, these hills are a little like the European ones but we overcame them today.”
(Australian National Team) finishing 17th, reflected on the
tough race. “There were a lot of team tactics today. T-Mobile sent a couple up the
road, so that they could be out there when the time came for the top GC
riders to jump across to the break. They were able to use the course to
get away to get a good gap on the rest. It was looking like it was between
Arndt and Ljungskog (Team Flexpoint) earlier in the race but it turned out
to be classic team work by the T-Mobile, AIS and Cheerwine teams today.”
(Infinity Solutions & Jayco VIS) rode strongly today to finish
24th, she reflected on her efforts. “The
first climb wasn’t too bad as we were prepared for it having gone over
it the other day. The final climb wasn’t too bad until the last kick at
the 100m, it certainly took
it out of me. I
can’t believe there are some many Aussies finishing in the top 25; it
makes me feel very proud.”
Solutions & GB) has been impressive this week, finishing 8th
on stage 3 and 15th on stage 4. This is Hare’s first trip to
the Southern Hemisphere and she commented on the experience. “This is the best finish I have ever had. To be on the final hill with
Susanne Ljungskog and Sara Carrigan was amazing, normally I am back in the
bunch. I am very happy, this trip has been worth the 24 hour flight from
Ljungskog (Team Flexpoint) looked strong in the early stages of
the race and finished in 12tth 3
minutes 26 seconds behind Arndt. “It
was a hard day but that’s racing and Judith [Arndt]
was the best today. This has
been great preparation for us going into the European season. The good
weather and very hard racing, is good to have in your legs for when we get
to Europe, that’s where the racing starts for us. It has been good
courses and organization so I think we will be back next year.”
(T-Mobile) was in amazing form today her speed to bridge the gap to the
break was breathtaking. As soon as she had caught them, she attacked and
put over a minute gap on them before being caught by team mate Arndt,
Hobson and Graham. She finished the day in 27th place, 8
minutes and 16 seconds down having performed her task for the team. “I had nothing left when they
caught me, they came straight through. My form is just starting to come
but things are looking good for the rest of the season.”
was involved in the early break of eight riders that manage to stay away
for a maximum advantage of over 7 minutes. She reflected on her team’s
won today and we have had 4 victories in the tour so far with three
different riders, the team is looking fantastic. The management team has
done a really good job putting this team together; it’s a fantastic team
to be a part of. This is my first year as a professional and I have learnt
so much already, I am really excited, to be a part of the team.”
Asked about the 2nd place performance of fellow Australian Lorian Graham she added, “She is a fantastic climber and she is not back to her best yet but she is certainly on her way, she rode really well today.”
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