20 July 2019


From the lead riders, to those at the back of the pack and everyone in between, it was smiles all round on stage two of Velothon Sunshine Coast.

While Kiwis riders James Harvey and Alex Heaney continued to push the pace at the pointy end of the field, their compatriots Lisa Graham and Claire Jennings from Wellington competing in the Grand Masters, were enjoying Velothon for entirely different reasons.

Training partners James and Alex put a cat among the pigeons on 103km Coastal stage, devouring the beautiful roads, putting the peloton under severe stress early on and never looking back.

“A small group of us got away a little bit after the sprint. It was beautiful riding along the coast roads, really nice to ride and then Alex and I managed to get away from there. We saw the bunch behind us but just kept going.”

“We all train together, just like riding bikes and like going fast at times, we like riding hard and pushing ourselves, so it is good. Cambridge is a bit of a high-performance hub. Cycling New Zealand is based out of the Avanti Drome so we are lucky enough to race on a weekly basis with some of New Zealand and the world’s best track and road riders. In terms of competition and racing, we have got some pretty awesome opportunities and a really good training environment to be in.”

“However, the Sunshine Coast is a nicer environment. I have never been to the Sunshine Coast before but I am loving it. I am a bit blown away that this is what Australia’s winter is like. This is a good summer’s day for us in Cambridge. The Waikato River is called the old Misty and that is for a good reason. We are often riding in fog and rain quite a lot, so this is the complete opposite. It is a really nice change and I am thinking about moving here,” James laughed.

Fellow Kiwis, Lisa Graham and Claire Jennings, may not have the miles in their legs or the speed but they are still having a blast at Velothon and share the same spirit of mateship.

“I saw the advertising for Velothon. It looked like a good thing to do in the middle of winter and come over and get some sunshine but I need a better-planned prep next year. When I saw Obi Obi there was a blue cloud of explicit language. I got to point where I couldn’t push it any further so we walked it.”

“The event has been awesome, the volunteers are amazing, the police have been absolutely incredible, so it has been an awesome experience all round,” Lisa said

“It is all Lisa’s fault that we are here,” Claire said. “I haven’t had quite the prep I needed either. My legs didn’t recover from Stage one and we got spat out the back today.  Lisa being a good friend wouldn’t go on without me, so we turned and toddled back and caught by all the fast ones coming home. It was quite nice because everyone was clapping us and it was our moment of glory.”

“We are having fun, it is warm and it is beautiful. The vollies and police have been amazing and yesterday we had our own police escort on the way back which was rather nice. Everyone has been friendly and generous and all the locals have been telling us where to go to eat and things like that. So, it has been great,” she said.

Brisbane’s Megan Williams is usually more at home on a MTB but with a sensational performance on the road she collected stage honours, helped out her mixed team the Dirty Roadies and put herself into contention for the women’s GC.

“My focus is mainly mountain biking at the moment but I love road racing, so I am planning on doing some National Road Series events later in the year. I haven’t ridden on the Sunshine Coast before, so it has been heaps of fun.

“Obi Obi was a bit of a surprise. It was challenging and at the steep points there were people walking but I realised I just had to get out of the saddle and force the bike up the hill. It was heaps of fun. When I got to the top it was a nice cruise on the way back. The first day I was a bit sluggish but the legs are fine now.  I am thinking tomorrow is going to be a tough day but the longer climbs suit me better than the short pinchy ones. I am hoping to go well and I am looking forward to it.”

Zoe Clayton-Smith still leads the woman’s GC after a tough second stage and she was very thankful for the support of her fellow riders on course.

“I gave it a lot of gas on the climbs and then my legs couldn’t take the rollers so I got dropped. I tried to chase back on and I found two pals who helped me along and then very kindly my partner Alex realised I wasn’t in the front group and dropped back and brought me home. He was my knight in shining armour.”

“Hopefully there hasn’t been too much damage on my times. It was still a great day, a hard ride but I loved it. The view on the coast with the sun coming up was so nice and then the beautiful hills. I think I was concentrating on the road a bit much today to truly enjoy the views but I will hit the beach later on to make up for it,” she said.

Local riders BellaVISIONE continue to lead the women’s team category, revelling in the home ground advantage and growing stronger as a group of riders and friends with every kilometre they conquer. Formed immediately after last year’s event, they epitomise what Velothon is all about, great riding and great friends.

Lenka Stratford-Smith, Tracey Lang and captain Fay Bunce summed up their event so far and the enormous team spirit.

“The Sunshine Coast is wonderful. We get to train here and ride with great people and it is absolutely wonderful. We really appreciate what we have here. It is wonderful to have the two teams this year. The girls are amazing. I couldn’t imagine riding with a better group of people,” Lenka said.

“This year has definitely outdone last year given that we are together as a team. It is just a better vibe,” Faye said.

“We are having fun but the team would have been proud of me, I dropped off and I was in no man’s land but I kept on. I think I smashed myself today trying not to embarrass the team too much,” Tracey said.

Stage two 103km


Pos    Cat     Name                                Gun Time

1        Team  James Harvey (#663)         02:10:26

2        Team  Alex Heaney (#664)           02:10:27

3        Team  Matthew Kasher (#618)      02:17:24


Pos    Cat     Name                                Gun Time

1        Team  Megan Williams (#628)      02:18:43

2        Open  Zoe Clayton-Smith (#494)  02:21:55

3        Open  Hayley Jones (#467)          02:25:42

General Classification Results


Pos    Cat     Name                                Gun Time      Stage 1          Stage 2        

1        Team  Alex Heaney (#664)           04:28:37       02:18:09          02:10:27

2        Team  James Harvey (#663)         04:30:42       02:20:16          02:10:26

3        Team  Matthew Kasher (#618)      04:37:06       02:19:42          02:17:24


Pos    Cat     Name                                Gun Time      Stage 1          Stage 2        

1        Open  Zoe Clayton-Smith (#494)  04:47:24       02:25:28          02:21:55

2        Open  Hayley Jones (#467)          04:59:24       02:33:41          02:25:42

3        Team  Megan Williams (#628)      04:59:28       02:40:44          02:18:43