19 July 2019


The Kiwis have thrown down the gauntlet at Velothon Sunshine Coast, with riders from Spoken Cycles in Cambridge tearing up stage one. Top gun Alex Heaney took the honours in the General Classification, with Sydney’s Christopher Ball and Cammeray Roadies, Matthew Kasher filling out the podium.

The twelve rider Spoken Cycles team has been keen to escape the New Zealand winter and they revelled in the warm sunshine and clear blue Queensland sky. The 25 year old Alex Heaney was unstoppable and his reward was a 50 second buffer and the honour of pulling on yellow for stage two.

“We have been excited about the opportunity to ride Velothon for months and day one lived up to expectations. That climb is pretty steep. It was quite hard. The weather was sensational this morning and that is one of the main reasons we came across. It is a good excuse to come across the ditch and ride in some sun for a week.”

“Those roads are unrelenting, it seemed pretty flat with one climb on paper coming in, but it was different to ride. It was a hard day, I am not going to lie. Obi Obi came as a bit of a surprise, it was definitely steeper than I was anticipating.”

“I do a bit of everything in New Zealand, national and club racing and that sort of thing. I haven’t ridden overseas too much but I just love racing and riding bikes really. That is why I do it,” Heaney said.

Spoken team mate James Harvey said the pace was pretty hot and fast right from the start.

“There were a lot of attacks early on. We managed to get away about 15km in with Alex sitting on the front for the majority of the time. My seat post dropped quite a bit, so I wasn’t much help.”

”It was awesome, so good to be riding in warm weather. In Cambridge we do lot of riding before work in the mornings, so we are always in the dark and the fog and it is just pretty horrible. Coming over here, it has turned on a pearler.”

Owner of Spoken Cycles, the fifth placed Blair Taylor was delighted with the performance of his team mates and that the Kiwi riders had been given the opportunity to repair some national pride.

“It was a bit fresh to start with but it is beautiful now, so we can’t complain. We had a couple of strong Oxes off the front, with the rest of us pulling up the rear. It was a great day and the boys up front really took the pressure off the rest of just sat in and saved all the matches for Obi Obi.”

“To be fair I went through them pretty quickly because Obi Obi lived up to its reputation. When the front wheel starts to leave the ground you know it is steep. It was great, nice and safe out there and good riding.”

“After the Cricket World Cup we thought we had better come over and win something. I own a bike store in Cambridge and we were looking for something different. In the winter the bike industry is a bit quiet so it is a good time to get away and enjoy the sun. We have a good group of riders, some farmers and blokes from all walks of life. Banter in the group is next level, that is what we excel at.” he said.

Fourth place in the GC and winner of the King of the Mountain, Sean Vintin said the standard of riding up front, gets stronger and the hills don’t get any easier.

“It was as tough as it always was, super hard and by the end of it I was wishing to be somewhere else,” he laughed. “I was looking for the race director so I could swear at him but I couldn’t see him through the tears. Then after Obi Obi it didn’t get any easier, we just pushed on and it was torture from there to the finish.”

“The boys from Spoken Cycles were well away, they went early and we thought we would chase them back in again but no one did. They were gone. Day one is over and my 2018 jinx has been lifted, so I look forward to stage two tomorrow,” he said.

Sydney’s Zoe Clayton-Smith was dominant on the big climbs and holds an eight minute buffer in the GC after day one. Scarborough’s Hayley Jones and Mooloolaba’s Wendy Young were also in fine form as the event heads out the 103 km coastal stage tomorrow.

“The weather is beautiful and we are looking forward to a couple days of great riding. I have a sun tan within the first four hours of being here.”

“With a big roll out it is important to keep up the front, so I sat in with a group of guys. Obi Obi was just as bad as it was last year, if not worse, so it was nice to have fresh legs for it. The false flats are my strength, so I just had to get over the hills and get the yellow jersey.”

“It was a climber’s stage with Obi Obi being the main event, so it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow,” she said.

General Classification – Stage One


Pos    Cat     Name                                Gun Time     

1        Team  Alex Heaney (#664)           02:18:09      

2        Open  Christopher Ball (#110)      02:19:19      

3        Team  Matthew Kasher (#618)      02:19:42      


Pos    Cat     Name                                Gun Time               

1        Open  Zoe Clayton-Smith (#494)  02:25:28      

2        Open  Hayley Jones (#467)          02:33:41      

3        Masters Wendy Young (#442)      02:40:20      

King of the Mountain


Pos    Cat               Name                      Gun Time

1        Masters        Sean Vintin (#417)   00:06:57

2        Team  Matthew Kasher (#618)      00:07:01

3        Team  Alex Heaney (#664)           00:07:06


Pos    Cat     Name                                Gun Time

1        Team  Megan Williams (#628)      00:08:29

2        Open  Bree Playel (#328)             00:09:02

3        Open  Zoe Clayton-Smith (#494)  00:09:30