‘Anything to beat the girl’ in race
Olympic hopeful mountainbiker Kate Fluker pushed her male counterparts all the way in the Tour de Wakatipu at the weekend.
Fluker won the 45km female elite open race comfortably with a time of 1:32:39, 10 minutes clear of Haley Van Leeuwen and Kath Kelly, second and third place respectively in the women’s race, but only 1:44 behind the third placed elite male.
Tom Filmer, 21, of Nelson, won the men’s elite open race with an impressive time of 1:28:46, more than one minute ahead of Rock and Road Cycles’ Shaun Portegys, of Alexandra, in second and the Dunedin Cycle World-sponsored Johnny Van Leeuwen in third.
Van Leeuwen finished second in the same category last year.
More than 400 elite, sport and recreational riders from junior to veteran took part in the seventh annual trail ride from Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown to Chard Farm winery in the Gibbston Valley.
The tour was the final event of the 2015 Queenstown Bike Festival.
Fluker, sponsored by NZXC Racing, Giant Bikes, Rabbit Ranch, Around the Basin and Torpedo7, said the race fitted nicely with her current training regime.
‘‘It’s always an awesome day out and good to support the local events.
‘‘My weakness is the mass start so whenever I do come to these things I use it as good practice to get my foot on the pedal and get off the line as quick as I can,’’ she said.
‘‘I was leading the men in the first half. We were all in a group then I saw them chatting and thought ‘here we go’.
‘‘We got onto some flat where I didn’t have enough gears to keep up with them and they started drifting together, looking behind and just dropped me. Anything to beat the girl.’’
Filmer travelled down from Christchurch, where he studies, and slept in his car the night before.
He said he only knew he had the race in the bag with about 500 metres to go.
‘‘It’s quite deceptive how much time you have – it can seem like a lot but sometimes it isn’t.
‘‘I nearly got caught out by the scenery and was too busy looking at it,’’ he said.