Eyes on Vink as Benchmark series starts again after winter break
8 August 2013
It may have been over two months since his last serious race but all eyes will be on Michael Vink when the Benchmark
Homes Elite Cycling Series gets underway again on the West Coast of the South Island in Hokitika on Saturday after a
Christchurch cyclist Vink arrived back in New Zealand just over a week ago. He had been racing in Europe as part of the
BikeNZ Endurance track squad and had several significant results including finishing third in the 4.2 kilometre prologue
in the International Thuringen Rhundfhart Under-23 tour of Germany which followed a victory in the UCI 1.2 category
Philippe Coningsloo Memorial in Belgium.
Having never raced or even ridden a bike on the West Coast Vink said the course was ‘going to be all new for me’ but was
looking forward to it.
“I’ve heard lots of different things, from cross winds to good rolling terrain, and it sounds like a nice course,” he
said. “Some local knowledge would help and the weather could play a role but just to get a race under my belt will be
good as it’s been a while since I raced.”
Vink said he had ‘no idea’ about his current form having had no intensity recently as he was waiting for Saturday to
hear if he makes the cut for the BikeNZ National Team for the World Championships later next month in Italy where he
hopes to race in the under 23 time trial.
“Making the team for the World Champs will dictate how I approach the next few weeks. I’ve got a good base behind me so
getting up for the World Champs should be ok.”
There is a strong field of 88 riders in the elite men’s 135 kilometre race with current series under 23 leader Tom
Hubbard (Homestyle) clinging to a two point lead over the elites men’s leader Joe Chapman (L & M Group Racing).
Master’s men also race 135 kilometres and in the absence of series leader Lee Johnstone (Warmup Cycling Team) who is out
with injury there will be an intense battle at the top of the points table with only eight points separating the top
five riders Glen Rewi (Kiwi Style Bike Tours), Blair Stuthridge (Team Thule Cycling, Mark Spessot (Cycle World), Brendon
Mathews (Team Tineli Masters) and Darren Burns (Warmup Cycling Team).
Olympian Lauren Ellis holds a narrow four point lead over her Benchmark Homes teammate Sharlotte Lucas in the women’s