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Teams event adds intrigue

Mark Langlands, left, was in the winning A-grade team on Tuesday night, while Ben Knight, right, was one of the top riders in the Tour of Wairarapa on Sunday. PHOTO/FILE


Athletics and Cycling Masterton’s Tuesday night race was a little different this week.

It was the inaugural A and B graded teams race.

Riders were divided into two overall grades, A or B, and then each of those was further divided into three sections, with riders having to find a team of three, one from each of those sections.

The overall winner of Tuesday night’s race was the team in each grade with the least time across all three riders.

The format meant there was the potential for a variety of team tactics, with some opting to send their fastest rider up the road to try and split the grade to pieces and finish first, while hoping their teammates could manage to hang on to the wheel of other riders.

Some decided to try and get their strongest rider to pace the weakest rider over the entire course.

Then again, in some cases there was no love lost between teammates and it was every rider for themselves, in the hope that nobody would get dropped from the start-line.

For those who were riding with life partners, harmony at home after the race might also have been a factor in the team tactics.

Adding to the tactical mix were the legs that were already very tired from weekend races – on Saturday the Trust House North Island Series and on Sunday the Tour of Wairarapa.

In A-grade, after all the planning and despite the attempts to split the race by a few of the stronger riders, it came down to a huge bunch sprint, where the team that won managed to position all three riders close to the front of the bunch.

The winning team was Mark Langlands, Andrew Linton and Emily Lutyens.

In B-grade, two teams also managed to get all three teammates well positioned at the finish, to end the race with two teams tied for first place.

One of those teams was Jay Sowry, Caleb Roberts and the tandem with Rod Sutherland and Peter Jones, and the other was Donna Burkhart, Jorge Sandoval and Mark Jerling.

In the short-course race, the team of Kate Port and Scarlett Freeman came home first.

Masterton riders also made their mark in various categories in the Tour of Wairarapa event on Sunday.

The first Masterton rider home in the 120km event was Derek Roberts [fifth], with Simon Butler finishing third in the 90km race and Caleb Roberts winning the 50km event for the second year running.

Ben Knight was the first Masterton rider home in the inaugural ‘hardman’ category.

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