Rotorua's Sam Phipps has won the Cyclezone Tour of the Valleys following some great team work between two local riders.
Phipps, 18, teamed-up with fellow Rotorua rider Dirk Peters to get the victory yesterday near Waikite Valley.
He won the Cyclezone Tour of the Valleys fun ride ahead of Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sam Gaze (Cambridge).
"It is pretty good to get a win, especially against a pretty strong field," he said. "Dirk helped me heaps, I'm putting my win down to him. If it was not for Dirk I don't know if I would have beaten [Gaze]."
A handful of riders broke away early in the 72km feature race yesterday, including Phipps, Gaze and Peters.
The trio then made it a three-way race to the finish after pulling away from pro cyclist Scott Ambrose with about 20km to go.
After working well with Peters, and conserving his energy, Phipps made his move in the last kilometre to win the race.
"I jumped with a few hundred metres to go. I realised I had a gap when [Gaze] started to slow -- that's when I knew I had won."
He won in a time of 1hr 53m 30s, seven seconds ahead of Gaze and 14 seconds ahead of Peters.
Phipps said although it was only 72km long, the windy conditions and rolling course made it feel a lot longer. Phipps said he had been doing a lot of training in recent weeks as he gears up for the Tour of Southland next month.
Peters said Phipps, Aaron Perry and himself had decided before the race to try and get a local rider home in first place. "It was all about Team Rotorua." Remarkably, Peters also took part in the 2W Gravity Enduro mountain bike event on Saturday, finishing sixth overall.
Gaze said it was a challenging ride yesterday. "It was pretty hard, it was really gusty. It was the hardest ride I have done in a while."
The strong field in the feature 72km race included last year's champion Gordon McCauley, pro cyclists Perry and Ambrose, top local mountain bikers Peters and Carl Jones, and Commonwealth Games mountain biker Gaze.
The first woman across the line yesterday was Hamilton's Deane Bell.
"It was a good ride. I did not come here with any expectations so I'm pretty happy to come away as the first chick."
Bell rode with the chasing group for most of the 72km event and pulled away from Jo Holdaway, the second female, during the back-end of the race.
About 115 people entered the tour this year.
Cyclezone Tour of the Valleys results
72km event: Men: 1st Sam Phipps, 2nd Sam Gaze, 3rd Dirk Peters, 4th Aaron Perry, 5th Karl Postlewaight. Women: 1st Deane Bell, 2nd Jo Holdaway, 3rd Emmelie Ivarsson.
40km event: Men: 1st Bryn Parry, 2nd Arjan Harre, 3rd Dave Sale, 4th Graham Schroder, 5th Mike Long. Women: 1st Brigitte Allan, 2nd Judith Quax, 3rd Irene Law.