Bikenz U19 Road Team Climbs To 3rd In Tour De L’abitibi

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Thu 30/Jul/09 4:25pm

The BikeNZ U19 road cycling team finished an impressive 3rd at the 2009 Tour de l’Abitibi on Monday, only being pipped to the line by the USA and Canadian national youth teams. The Tour de l’Abitibi is held annually in Quebec, Canada, and has been coined the ‘Junior Tour de France’.

The six day tour ( 21st-26th July 2009) was the key targeted event for BikeNZ’s youth team, and team manager Ken Bewley was thrilled with the results.

“The young team of Taylor Gunman, Scott Mullaly, Simon Finucane, Sam Lindsay and Tom Hubbard performed outstandingly.”

The six day tour was a U19 Nations Cup event, and as a consequence had many strong teams from various parts of the World represented. The result achieved was even more notable given they lost firstly Tom Findlay and then Michael Poole to illness before leaving NZ.

On top of an overall 3rd placing in the teams classification, Taylor Gunman finished climbed to 3rd in general classification, with two other kiwi riders finishing in the top 30 (Sam Lindsay 17th, Scott Mullaly 26th).

Upon arrival in Canada, a warm up event was found in Ottawa (86km) .The race was held on closed roads in a National Park that suited the boys perfectly, with a large steady climb and long fast descents. At the conclusion, only 20 riders were left from a starting field of 80. Simon Finucane notched up an impressive first win with three others in the top 10.

138 riders lined up for the Nations Cup two days later on closed highways, with 600km of racing ahead of them. The BikeNZ boys soon learnt just how difficult the week was to be, especially trying to hold position on the front with speeds averaging 45km/hr.

Day two saw a definitive break go 3min 45sec up the road and tucked in it was Kiwi Taylor Gunman in his second Tour de l’Abitibi.

The Time Trial held the following morning had a unique feature in that it started underground in a gold mine. A dark, wet and steep climb greeted each rider from the go! This was to be a great day for the BikeNZ team, the end result placing every team on alert for the rest of the week. At the end of the day BikeNZ had three riders in the top 8, and Scott Mullaly on the podium in 2nd.

Taylor Gunman rode perfectly and as a result positioned himself in 4th on General Classification 1sec off third. From that point, everyday was a battle as Taylor attacked and the others being equally aggressive. 3rd and 4th position alternated and Taylor managed to stay awake to the positional changes ultimately securing a fantastic 3rd on GC at the Tours conclusion.

Hard attacking riding on the last stage had the US riders who were holding the top two spots really having to work. Each of the guys were growing in confidence and showed their undoubted potential to ride as a unit by securing 3rd place in the Team GC.

Final result: Taylor Gunman 3rd GC
NZ 3rd Team GC
Melissa_Theuriau
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