Cuddon Marlborough Cycling winter/spring series continued on Saterday with graded races being held on the small Lower Wairau circuit, with laps of 7km length.
Due to the small numbers of riders available, the A and B grades were combined, to make as sizable field. Sunny, cool conditions, with a strong cold south east wind blowing across the exposed parts of the circuit made it hard for the riders to try solo escapes.
In the A/B grade it looked like the field was about to split early on in the second of six laps, with 4 riders getting a small advantage into the headwind. However the field worked together well to reel them back in after a chase of a few km's. At that stage couple of riders at the back found the pace too hot and had to let go.
In the following laps the field stayed intact with everyone contributing to the work, while the better riders were hedging their chances to break away in the latter stages of the race. This however didn't happen as the right combination of commitment, strength and skill never eventuated, and all attempted breaks were snuffed out quickly by an attentive bunch.
This lead to a bunch sprint, with Nick Batt leading out the field from afar, lifting the pace to prevent any surprise attacks in the last km. In the dash for the line it was junior under 17 rider Niels van Antwerpen who got the better of Callum Caughey by a bikelenght, Matt Wells following a few meters behind, holding of Sam Morgan (also a junior rider) for third place. The rest of the field rolled in closely behind.
In the C-grade race over 3 laps Merrick Thompson won the sprint from Dave Hutchinson, after these two had distanced Robin Roselli, who came in third.
This weekend the club is holding a two-up time trial up the Wairau Valley.
A+B Grade Combined: 1, Niels van Antwerpen (43km in 1h09m40s); 2, Callum Caughey (st); 3, Matt Wells (st); 4, Sam Morgan (st); 5, Brent Harris (st); 6, Dylan Hodson (st); 7, Mike Murphy (st); 8, Gerg Baunton (st); 9, Nick Batt (at 8s); 10, Leatham Landon-Lane (at 7m46s); 11, Kim Marshall (st);
C Grade: 1, Merrick Thompson (21km in 38m01s); 2, Dave Hutchinson (st); 3, Robin Roselli (at 4m7s);