Last night's jersey awards were
Orange, Leader jersey, sponsored by Pure Storage went to Paul Rosham
White, Young/New Rider jersey, sponsored by Dynamic Projects went to Sarah Noble
Black, Spirit of Chain Reaction jersey, sponsored by LSH Auto went to Gregory Bain
Polka Dot, King/ Queen of the Mountain jersey sponsored by CBRE went to Benjamin Galea
After some heavy rain overnight and into the early morning, it looked like the riders might catch a lucky break as the storm moved north and the riders headed south east along the Haast River. The pace was a smooth 31km/hr for the first 45km on the flats and easy rolling hills along the river where the riders were greeted with lush green forests and amazing waterfalls, some right next to the road and some several hundred metres high off the mountains in the distance. The riders pushed through some light rain (which was more like a heavy mist compared to the previous day’s downpour) and made their way to the first stop of the day to refuel before the first big climb of the day.
Straight from the rest stop they headed up Haast Pass, a large hill with 460m of vertical and some very steep pinches. Comradery remains high as the faster riders turn around at the top to head back down to pace the slower riders up to the top. Following a beautiful descent, the riders are greeted with clearing clouds and the warming sun as they head into the Makarora Valley with stunning mountain vistas on either side.
After the lunch break the riders saddle up and head toward Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, where they get to traverse the rolling hills as they soak in the spectacular views of these enormous lakes with mountainous backdrops. The riders couldn’t agree on which lake was more beautiful but they could agree that today was one of the best days of riding. Some riders even chose to jump in the lake on the final drinks stop before heading into the town of Wanaka, a welcome reprieve from the summer sun.
Heading into the town of Wanaka required a few more short and sharp rolling hills, but the group continued to power through at a decent pace as rumours of a pool and an esky with beers starts to make its way through the peloton. A welcome reward after a hard day on the tools.
Average speed: 28.7km/h
Photos from the day: CLICK HERE
Daily Video Highlights: CLICK HERE