Thursday 17 May 2012 | Published in Regional
New Zealander Steven Farrell has beaten local hopes Geoff Stoddart and Roland Neururer in a final sprint that decided the round-island cycle race Turtles Tees Tour de Raro on Tuesday afternoon.
Farrell left his sprint to the last 150 metres of the 31-kilometre race and spearheaded a breakaway pack of 10 riders that crossed the line within seconds of each other.
Cook Islands resident Geoff Stoddart made a dash for the line about 400 metres from the finish, but Farrell didn’t follow immediately and held his last push for a few seconds longer than Stoddart. Local lady Jennie George crossed the line first in the women’s category and 18th overall but not without a scare of her own.
The Cook Islands’ Kelly Pick and New Zealand’s Kristine Reid followed in two seconds behind George, meaning both the women’s and men’s races provided an exciting finish for the crowd watching on.
George made her dash for the line about 400 metres out from the finish, crossing the line at 50 minutes, 50 seconds.
Farrell clocked in at 46:10, meaning the 10-year-old record of 42:16 still stands.
With a time of 46:10, Farrell averaged a speed of about 40km/h for the entire race.
Sixty-four riders officially took part in the race in good conditions with dry road and only a little wind throughout.
The race panned out as a bunch ride at the front.
In past years it had typically been reduced to a small group of three to seven riders out front from almost the start which resulted in just a handful of riders to fight out the final kilometre or two.
This year, 14 riders were still together approaching the Met Station at Nikao.
While a few were never able to take the front and cut the air at a good pace, they nevertheless held on for a respectable placing.
Approaching the two kilometre remaining mark at Panama, the pace had quickened and the better riders although at the front of the group were settling into preferred positions behind who they thought might be the strongest to lead in.
By the Punaga Nui corner sweep, Stoddart lead the charge to the finish line however with in sight of the line on Maire Nui Drive, Farrell put in his best yardage and took the lead to win by a couple of metres with Roland Neururer third.
The winning time was 46:10 with just a second between the second and third place-getters Stoddart and Neururer.
Credit must go to Ryan Helg who finished fourth, plus Dave Morrison-Jones and Leighton Hunt who were all in the front group and who all did more than their fair share of work at the front.
The Cook Islands Triathlon Association (CITA) thanks Turtles Tees for the race sponsorship and also Cook Islands Police for the three officer motorcycle escort. Thanks also to Sports Timing NZ Ltd for timing services and Len Edwards and his team for the marshalling at the finish line.