‘Any­thing to beat the girl’ in race

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT -

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.

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