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Canterbury University student Ollie Jones backed up pre-race favouritism and Dunedin dentist Jacob Grieve won his first Calder race in the opening round of the Calder Stewart Cycling Series.
Held in Southland for the first time, Jones won the elite men’s 141km race in 3hr 19min, edging out Campbell Pithie and Luke Price in a tight sprint finish.
In the masters race, Grieve got away from his breakaway companions Andy Hilton and Stu Crook with 9km of the 101km masters race left and held off the chasing peloton to win in 2hr 32min.
Jones, who had shown good form in last month’s elite and under-23 road national championships in Cambridge, made sure he was in the day’s key break of 14 riders that escaped after 10km and which included Pithie and Price.
The group worked well to establish and hold its lead until Jones put the pressure on up a climb with 55km left, and the group of 14 became eight.
The closing kilometres saw a jostling for position with the group’s best sprinter Bailey O’Donnell having to do a quick bike change with team-mate Andrew Bidwell with 5kms left.
That left him to chase back through the vehicle convoy but he failed to regain contact with the leaders.
Jones claimed the elite men’s leader’s jersey while Pithie and Price won the under-23 and under-19 jerseys.
In the masters race, Andy Hilton rode off the front of the peloton with Grieve attached to his wheel. The pair successfully bridged the gap across to Stu Crooks 10 seconds up the road.
“Once we were all together off the front we just rode and worked hard,” Grieve said. He is in his second year of riding in the series as a master after a number of years racing in the elite ranks.
“With about 9km to go I just went full gas up a short power climb and got a gap and then although I was dying and cramping at times, just rode and held it to the line.
Dunedin’s Geoff Keogh took the over-50s leader’s jersey.