Luke Mudgway (EvoPro Racing) set a hot pace from the gun to win the team’s season opener, Gravel and Tar Classic (UCI 1.2) in his hometown Palmerston North, New Zealand. His team-mate Cyrus Monk grabbed third position at the line behind New Zealand’s Ryan Christensen, executing a late race attack to break apart final group heading into the last portion of the gravel sections.
“The race today was solid with 5-6 sections of gravel. Daniel Whitehouse lead the team brilliantly into the first gravel section and the race basically blew to bits at the point with about 18 riders coming out of that first section. Each section after a few more riders dropped,” said Mudgway.
“On the 3rd section, with a good twelve minute climb and six of us came out of that section, with another six coming back. Then our team tactic was to narrow down to a select group with Cyrus making an attack. Cyrus did a few job keeping it all together and made some great moves to position me to sprint for the win. I am happy for our team to start the season with a win.”
Mudgway, coming off a recent win at the New Zealand Hub Tour, was the fastest out of the final group of four at the finish showing his track speed.
“The goal for a selective race like today was always to have numbers in the front. The race split completely on the first sector and we had 3 riders in myself, Luke and Wouter in the small selection. From there the group became smaller after each sector and thanks to good communication and positioning between the 3 of us we had Luke and I in the final group of 4 coming to the line. I knew we could both beat the 2 NZ team riders in a sprint so we each followed any late moves and it was awesome seeing Luke take the win in his home town. Perfect start for the team and great to see the riders gelling so well together already,” said Monk.
Head Sport Director Morgan Fox is thrilled with the team work and the opening results.
“Not knowing the race but having one of the favourites in local boy Luke Mudgway was a bit of a challenge but we got through. We made a plan to hit the first section of gravel very hard and put the race under immediate pressure. After that we had control with 4 riders in the front group. Then it just became a war of attrition and we were happy to finish it off. A big thank you to Steven Stannard and his wonderful crew who will bring this race from strength to strength. Also to our host Tony Mc Loughlin who helpeed immensely in our success. To the sponsors and staff of Gravel and Tar we salute you and we thank you. See you next year,” said Fox.
The next races on Evo Pro Racing’s programme are the New Zealand Cycling Classic, Mallorca Challenge and Herald Sun Tour.