Cycling: Stott wins Harbour Criterium by a whisker

Thirza Smith (left) and Mila Rollo prepare to take a corner during the junior race in the Harbour...
Thirza Smith (left) and Mila Rollo prepare to take a corner during the junior race in the Harbour Criterium around the Dunedin wharf area yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Justin Stott's run of form continued in the Harbour Criterium yesterday when he edged out Joseph Chapman by the width of a wheel rim to win the category 1 race.

You could have mistaken the Wharf circuit for the velodrome racing of the previous evening's NZ Cup on Wheels, with riders' tactics on the final lap bringing them almost to a standstill before picking up the pace for the final sprint.

Lachie McGregor, who finished third, will be putting this tactical brinkmanship into practice later this year, being selected for the U 19 New Zealand Track Squad to compete in Adelaide in May.

The category 2 field was the biggest of the day with 18 riders competing. It was bolstered by some visiting riders from Invercargill and the pace was on from the gun, but in the end the race was decided by a smart move by local rider Stu Crooks.

He turned up the speed at the beginning of the final lap and led into the tight complex of corners at the north end of the circuit. Emerging with a four bike length lead, he powerfully managed to maintain his gap to the finishing line.

Second home was Jake Jackson Grammer, followed by Samuel Miller. Madeline Cooper Foster rode a smart race to win the category 3 race from father and daughter duo of Becky Kerr and Greg Kerr.

Always in the moves and working at the front Cooper Foster kicked hard to win the final sprint and take line honours.

Junior racing in Otago is again on the rise. Bragging rights were on the line and Connor McDonald showed his strength by riding away to victory followed by Louis Harris (second) and Thirza Smith (third).

By Michael Greaves. 


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