Invercargill physiotherapist Gabby Vermunt claimed the biggest win of her career when she won the RaboPlus national women’s club road cycling title near Nelson today.
Vermunt, who broke away with Nelson’s Karen Fulton for 90kms today, cleared out on the final lap to claim the title, upsetting favourites including time trial winner Bronwen Frazer (Star & Garter Tasman) and defending champion Serena Sheridan (Ramblers), who also used to ride for the local Tasman club.
It proved a master stroke for Vermunt who went into the 128km race wanting to get a break on the greyhounds in the pack.
“I wanted to get away and I knew Karen would want to be in a break. I kept an eye on her. We both tried once and it didn’t work but we tried again on the second lap and got clear,” Vermunt said.
“Karen was really strong and we managed to get clear.”
Vermunt said the freshening winds played in the favour of the breakaway pair, rather than the lumpy 16km lap in the Upper Moutere hills.
“We put our head down and lapped it out in the winds and got an advantage on the pack. I was hanging out to get the two minute board and once we got that, I thought we would be able to hold them off.”
The Southland rider said she waited for the hill on the final lap to make her move, going on to win in 3:48.41. Fulton finished nearly one minute behind in second with her Star & Garter Tasman clubmate Lana King sprinting clear of the pack to claim third.
“It was awesome. I was fourth in the time trial last year and thought that was pretty good but this is very cool.”
Vermunt will now use the race as a platform for next month’s Oceania track championships in her home city.
Talented Taupo rider Patrick Bevin took out the under-19 championship with a powerful finish from Thomas Hubbard (Pegasus) after the pair went clear, while Tauranga’s Courteney Lowe r(Tauranga) won the under-19 girls in a bunch sprint from Philippa Sutton 9Hamilton City) and Kate Chilcott (North Harbour).
The elite, under-23 and under-17 men’s road races are tomorrow.