Disappointment was replaced by elation as Hawke's Bay professional Luke Mudgway won the province's Three-Day Cycle Tour which ended on Sunday.
"It was the first time I had won it and a case of third time lucky. This has been a goal for me and it's a bit special because it's on home turf. I first tried back in my under-17 days," 22-year-old Mudgway said yesterday as he reflected on his 37s victory in the 26-rider A grade division of the Hub Tour.
"I was disappointed no points were awarded for the criterium stage. I race a lot of criteriums in America and a few in New Zealand and I was hoping to get a good time from that before the time trial because Logan is pretty good at time trials and was leading overall after the time trial," Mudgway said referring to Waikato's Logan Griffin.
Points weren't awarded for Friday night's 30-minute criterium on Napier's Marine Parade as the race was delayed after Hawke's Bay rider Josh Page had an accident during the early stages and had to be checked over by medical personnel. On Saturday the A graders had to complete an 84km road race from Ohiti Rd and then a 17.6km time trial on Ohiti Rd.
Sunday's fourth stage was a 112.8km road race over the Crownthorpe Rd circuit.
"When I'm overseas racing you can do up to 250km in a day. While the Hub Tour was quite little for me it was still good hard racing. I had to be full gas all the time," Mudgway recalled.
Griffin won both of Saturday's stages and Mudgway was 20s behind him going into the final stage. Mudgway was determined to take overall honours and drove a late breakaway as part of a snatch and grab mission to wrest the yellow jersey from the shoulders of Griffin and take the stage victory.
"It's a hard tour to be the overall leader of after the last day. It's just what happens on the final stage and I chose my time right," Mudgway explained.
His overall time was 5hrs 34m 39s. Nelson's Ari Scott was second and Manawatu's Madi Hartley-Brown was a further three seconds back in third. Griffin finished fourth overall, 58s behind Mudgway.
A regular New Zealand representative, Mudgway joined the professional ranks in 2014 after he and a then future Hawke's Bay Olympian Regan Gough won gold in the Madison at the junior world championships in Korea. He recently signed a new contract with the Irish-registered EvoPro Racing team in Europe.
Mudgway is one of four Kiwis in the team. The others are Daniel Whitehouse, Aaron Gate and Shane Archbold.
He will head to Europe in March. Before then Mudgway will tackle the Gravel and Tar UCI race in Palmerston North on Saturday, the Waipa region-based New Zealand Classic from January 23-27 and the January 30-February 3 Aussie Sun Tour.
Less than 24 hours after completing the weekend's tour Mudgway did a two-hour training ride yesterday and he intended to do similar sessions each day this week before travelling to Palmerston North which, along with Waipukurau, is one of his two bases when in New Zealand.
"I have to put in the hours on the bike. I've got a busy few weeks coming up," Mudgway added.
The annual tour which had almost $10,000 in prizemoney up for grabs across four grades attracted more than 100 riders. The Hawke's Bay Ramblers Club-hosted event ended the Bay's Summer Cycling Carnival which began the previous week with the Vantage elite and under-23 national road championships.
Waikato's Jack Carswell, an under-17 grade rider, won the B grade title by 50s from Wellingtonian Steve Bale. Hawke's Bay's Charlie Tattersfield, who is also an under-17 grade rider, was third, 54s behind Carswell in the 23-strong grade.
Taranaki's Anthony Visser captured the C grade title by five seconds from Waikato's Gary Jackson. Aucklander Alicia Evans was third in the grade which had 43 starters.
Evans also took home the cheque for the fastest woman. Another Aucklander, Bronwyn MacGregor, and Hawke's Bay's Alana Forster were second and third respectively in the elite women's division and sixth and seventh respectively in C grade.
Whanganui's Darcy Forrester won the 22-strong D grade division by 27s from Hawke's Bay's Kieron Batt. Another Bay rider, Chris Greenwood, was a further six seconds back in third place.