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It’s been a few weeks since the last update and Team Coupland’s launch in Hamilton. In that time, Team Coupland’s welcomed two new sponsors to the team, POC Helmets and Wide Open NZ. Wide Open NZ is the New Zealand distributor for POC Helmets. The whole team is stoked to have these great brands aligning alongside our title sponsors of Coupland’s and Chapter2 Bikes.
Our track star Nick Kergozou raced in the Brendan McGee Memorial Scratch Race on the Cambridge Velodrome. This is a prestigious race for track riders. For those who are not familiar with track racing, a scratch race is a set number of laps and the first across the line wins. Fortunately, it’s one of the simpler races to understand on the Velodrome. If you would like to watch the world’s best, then book tickets for the upcoming World Cup at the Cambridge Velodrome in December. Nick will be lining up there.
The day after the Brendan McGee Memorial Scratch Race, Nick and Josh both lined up for the Morrinsville Open. This is a 96 kilometre road race around the country roads behind Morrinsville. A high pace was set from the start of the race and all riders stayed together for most of the first half of the race. Josh had a go at probing to see how the competition was feeling and got away solo quickly establishing a solid lead. After about 12 kilometres Josh was joined by another rider (a Waikato local), but Josh was keen to keep the odds in the ‘Bakery Boys’ favour and not long after the duo with Nick joined. The boys all worked hard to solidify their lead before driving clear to take a 1-2 for the ‘Bakery Boys’ and adding a third win to the teams rapidly growing results list. Josh took out the race with Nick coming in 2nd.
The day had come for the second round of one of the key races for Team Coupland’s. Saturday was travel day and the team paid another visit to Coupland’s Karewa Store in Hamilton to pick up some baked goods to fuel the boys. Some of the teams favourites includes Hot Cross Buns, Garlic Bread and Lolly Slice. All are well worth stopping in to sample if you are passing by Te Rapa in Hamilton.
The day of the race dawned and again the plan was much the same. The race was from Tokoroa and took in some of the back roads around the Kinleith Mill. The roads around there are dead slow, heavy chip and hilly as anything. Confidence was at a high with a solid number of wins under their belt (3 from 4 starts and 2 second places). Unfortunately, the boys did not have Madi this time around as he was still suffering from his crash in Round One and needed to sit the race out to better prepare for the upcoming Tour of Southland Race. Since he is a great team member, he made his way up to support the team from the sideline. Fortunately, the team was able to enjoy the company of Mark Langland’s, whilst only a year or two younger than Josh, he is the only team member to have been racing for longer than Josh. So whilst he has had a few years out of the sport for studies and work his experience is valuable.
The boys laid out the plan for the day and as the race kicked off the team went to work. The team seemed to be on the back foot straight away, constantly chasing and whilst Glenn and Josh both covered early moves, they missed the key ones. The team didn’t want to have the whole race lean on them after the strong team performance in Round One, but as the team wanted to win it looked like that would be the case. Josh, Mark and Tom set to work on the front to maintain a strong pace and ensure a dangerous break didn’t gain too much time. They were supported by Nick and Glenn to try and keep their legs fresh and not let the race know exactly who they were riding for. Glenn and Nick both had solid moves to get across to the break, but they were quickly shut down by the competition who were attentive to our moves.
After 60 of the 95 kilometres, it was looking like the race was slipping away, but with an almost 10 kilometre climb at 25 kilometre to go and a rolling race to the finish there was still a chance to fix the race. Mark and Josh set a solid pace on the front and they tried to save Nick and Glenn for as long as possible. The race turned in to the Kinleth Forest to begin the climb and Mark and Josh were both dropped out the back of the race with their work being done on the front. It was now left for Glenn and Nick to contest the final.
A torrid pace was set through the forest by rival team ‘Spokens’ Mike Torckler. He is one of the country’s top riders and strongest climbers. The boys weathered the storm through the climbs, but it was looking like it was touch and go to get the escape group back. Glenn was on his last legs but laid down a torrid pace to try shut the gap down as much as possible and with only a handful of kilometres to go Nick was able to make touch with the race. Unfortunately, at the same time an attack was made by Logan Griffin of the ‘Cabjacks’ team. With 1 kilometre to go and no help left it was looking like Logan would win the race, however fortunately for us Nick is the National Kilo Champion on the Velodrome, a race in which the winner is crowned by riding the fastest time for 1 kilometre from a standing start. Nick called upon all the strength in his legs and launched a last-ditch effort. It paid off and he took the win after an amazing final effort.
The whole team was fizzing from today’s efforts. The team felt they had really put themselves on the back burner from get go. The team’s unity and want to win for each other pulled through in the end. In taking the win today, Nick also took the series lead overall.
Tom, Josh and Madi all took part in the Tour of the Bay: a 100 kilometre race held by the Ramblers Cycling Club in Havelock North, Hawkes Bay. Madi is the defending champion from 2018 and Josh is a previous winner of the event.
The race quickly broke up due to a gravel section early on and by the 25 kilometre mark, Madi was clear with the eventual winner Matt Webb-Smith and Josh chasing behind.
Madi finished the day with a strong 2nd and Josh following in for 3rd.
Whilst not the result the boys were after they still rounded out the day keeping a clean run of the ‘bakery boys’ and putting a rider on the podium of every race start so far. They have now got some solid miles in the legs leading in to the next big goal for the season the Tour of Southland.
Whaka 100 MTB race: Glenn Haden
Tour of Southland: Josh Page, Glenn Haden, Nick Kergozou, Chris Butler, Madi Hartley Brown, Liam Cappel
Keep an eye on Team Coupand’s Instagram Page for the latest information on where the team is at next or follow CyclingTom on YouTube
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