RCJ at the New Zealand Cycle Classic
With four top six finishes in five days of racing, Graham Briggs was the standout rider for the Rapha Condor JLT squad in the New Zealand Cycle Classic.
Briggs, who recently returned to race for the Men in Black, proved to be in excellent shape for the upcoming season, taking a podium spot in the bunch sprint on day three, as well as an excellent 6th place on the races tough hilltop finish, a result which helped Briggs finish the race in 5th place overall.
Team manager John Herety was pleased to see how Briggs performed on the climb against some very motivated competition.
“Graham had already shown that he was going well at the Bay Crits at the start of January, but this race was a different kind of challenge. We nominate Graham as the leader here, and put together a team of all U23 riders to work for him.”
The young RCJ team didn’t disappoint, with Ed Laverack, Elliott Porter, Luke Mellor and Will Stephenson, all covering breaks and then working on leadouts at the stage finishes.
“The team as a whole rode very well. I am sure that all the hard work the boys put in over the week was in Graham’s mind on the final climb on stage five. He stepped up there, and rode beyond expectation on a finish like that.”
“Overall the level of racing was of similar standard to our Premier Calendar races, with a good mixture of the domestic Australian pros, and a of of talented young New Zealand riders. Those guys are good, and they race really hard, which made the week tough, but that is exactly what we wanted out of the race.”
The squad from the New Zealand race will now have a chance to recover before flying home to the UK, while a fresh Rapha Condor JLT team gets ready to take on the likes of Orica Green EDGE and Garmin Sharp at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne, this week.
The Sun Tour starts this Wednesday with an evening prologue in Melbourne city centre, before four tough road stages leading up to the dramatic finale at the top of the climb of Arthurs Seat on Sunday.
The Rapha Condor JLT team for the 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour: