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Sprinters make their move

Ricky Blade on his way to a win in B-grade. PHOTO/DEVAN SIMMONDS

CYCLING

JAKE BELESKI
[email protected]

Tuesday night was the first of four Club Championship Races for Athletics and Cycling Masterton – the criterium.

A criterium is often a street race with lots of twists and turns, but on Tuesday it took place on the drag strip.

It was a circuit race, with sprint laps every second lap ridden over a set time, plus two laps.

Points awarded were 5, 3, 2 and 1 point for first to fourth respectively, on each of those sprint laps.

The winner of each race is the person who accumulates the highest total of sprint points over the whole of the race.

The riders who love this sort of race are often natural sprinters, or the riders who love the hustle and bustle of trying to outwit their fellow competitors, to find the right wheel to follow, and to position themselves ‘just right’ and those who can kick hard in the critical moments going into the sprints that count for points.

In each of the races the bunches split as the pressure was applied in the first couple of sprint laps.

In the A-grade men’s [championship] race, contested over 25 minutes plus two laps, Mark Langlands rode away early on, and then was pursued by most of the peloton.

Being out the front on his own, Langlands accumulated a good lead in the points tally before the peloton eventually caught him.

The remaining points on offer were strongly contested among Johnny Burkhart, Derek Roberts, Simon Butler and Devan Simmonds.

The B-grade and women’s championship races, contested over 20 minutes plus two laps, also contained the junior girls and boys.

Splits also happened in those races early on, but no single rider was brave or strong enough to ride away from everyone else, so each of the sprints for points were again hotly contested.

Ricky Blade demonstrated his sprinting prowess and a clean pair of heels among the men, with Caleb Roberts, John Allen, Dave Hodder and Rex Dowding contesting the remaining available points.

Among the women, Emily Lutyens and Lesley Mouat went wheel to wheel for top points in each of the sprints with Michelle McCabe, Sydney Blackburn and Judy Brown all in the mix for the remaining points.

The new club champions are: Mark Langlands [open men], Emily Lutyens [open women], Sydney Blackburn [junior girls], Caleb Roberts [junior boys], Ricky Blade [B-grade].

Next week’s race starts in Martinborough, for a circuit that takes in Hinakura.

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