You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Cooper claims lead in NZ Cycle Classic

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/01/2017

Joseph Cooper defied gruelling conditions to snatch the leader's yellow jersey off Kiwi compatriot James Oram on the penultimate day of the New Zealand Cycle Classic.

Cooper crossed the line third in the weather-hit 143km fourth stage from Masterton to Martinborough, part of a three-man breakaway who had put more than 30 seconds on another small group.

It was enough to give the lone New Zealander in the Australian Isowhey Sports Wellness team an overall advantage of 36sec going into the fifth and final stage.

Second overall is Kiwi Logan Griffin, who finished among the second group on Wednesday while Oram is a further second back after two days as leader.

Two weeks after winning his second national road title, 31-year-old Wellingtonian Cooper is favoured to still be holding the lead when the finishes with 12 laps of a flat 10km circuit near Masterton.

He did it the hard way on a day when horizontal rain and fierce crosswinds buffeted the 90 riders.

Cooper was content to cede the stage to Welshman Jon Mould, who gave the JLT Condor team their second win in two days after Kiwi Alex Frame's day three heroics.

Mould headed off Australian Jordan Kerby and Cooper in a late sprint after the trio had broken clear inside the last 10km.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon