The New Zealand junior men’s cycling team has made a strong start to the Tour de l’Abitibi in Quebec today.
The annual Tour is one of nine races around the world sanctioned by the UCI for national under-19 road teams for the Junior Nations Cup, and staged in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec.
It is currently the only junior-level race in North America sponsored by the UCI.
The six-strong New Zealand team worked hard to get riders into the key 13-strong break in the opening 132km stage from Rouyn-Noranda to Amos, opening a one-minute advantage.
With the host nation not strongly represented, the pace went on to close the gap with eight riders ultimately staying clear to fight out the sprint finish.
With French riders claiming the first two placings, it was left to Central Hawkes Bay rider Toby Evans to sprint home in sixth place to record the same time as the winner.
All the rest of the New Zealand team comprising Kallum Mardon (Hamilton), Max Preece (Auckland), Elliot Robertson (Wellington), Jack Gillingham (Tauranga) and Cameron Beaumont (Nelson) finished in the peloton that closed to within 22 seconds from the winner.
Tomorrow’s second stage is 117km from Val-d’Or to Amos including a number of laps around the town circuit to finish.