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Burnett burns up Admiral Hill

Invercargill’s Josh Burnett showed why he is regarded as one of the country’s most promising road cyclists with victory in yesterday’s third stage of the Trust House New Zealand Cycle Classic.

The 2022 Tour of Southland winner’s climbing prowess was to the fore as he held
off Dutchman Adne van Engelen, riding for the Thailand-based Roojai Online Insurance team, by two seconds, with Black Spoke teammate James Oram a
few seconds behind in third place.

Oram’s effort was enough for him to retain the yellow jersey going into the final two stages in Wellington today and tomorrow.

The tortuous 155km stage, which featured more than 2000m of climbs, is dubbed the “Queen stage”, with the yellow jersey wearer after the stage often going on to win the Classic.

Yesterday’s race was set alight with an early four man breakaway featuring Thursday’s stage two winner Kiaan Watts [NZ National], Richard Lawson [Oxford], Matthew Wilson [Rush Velo], and Bentley Niquet-olden [CCACHE].

The quartet built a four minute buffer over the peloton after 44km and maintained
that for about 70km before Watts and Wilson slid back into the field.

That left the Aussie Niquet-olden and the Kiwi Lawson alone at the front but the peloton closed rapidly approaching the final few kilometres.

That’s when Bolton Equities Black Spoke took control,
with Burnett surging ahead in the final 20m to take line honours at the end of the demanding 11km Admiral Hill climb, ahead of a determined van Engelen. Oram though will go into the final two stages in prime position to secure his first NZ Cycle Classic title.

Wilson leads the King of the Mountains, Watts is in front in the Sprint Ace, and Jack Drage [NZL] leads the under-23 classification.

Today’s fourth stage is new to the tour. Riders will complete 12 laps of a 10.5km course around the northern half of the Miramar Peninsula in Wellington. Racing will start in Rex Street, Miramar at 12.30pm.

The Cycle Classic will wrap up tomorrow with a criterium around the street of Wellington, with the start and finish on Lambton Quay.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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