Day Three of the Ford Tour of Samoa was racing of a different sort.
Group dynamics were put aside to showcase individuality in the 30 kilometre Ford Time Trial.
This was an unusual distance for a time trial and a perfect solution for the short stage, in between the hard days, of the Tour.
The formula was simple: one minute apart for the 40 riders, starting with the slowest rider.
The start line was set at Tanu Beach Fales, where Day Two ended. The finish line moved to the top of the hill above Asau. That was to eliminate the very risky fast downward glide to Asau village, below. A rider was taken out by a car last year in this section of the Tour.
Instead, a makeshift finish was set up in the remote area above Asau, where riders and supporters set up camp for the time trial finish.
In the mix was former time trial specialist John de Garnham, of Christchurch.
In his day, he was a New Zealand road cycling champion. He has competed in and won various races at regional and national levels, in all forms of cycling.
John did well to finish 11th, in a time of 1:01:13, against much younger riders. The stage in the end was edged out by Tony Downing, of Auckland. Downing’s time of 55 minutes 27 seconds was only six seconds ahead of second placed tour leader, Brendon Madden-Smith. Brendon came in at 55 minutes 33 seconds.
Next was Mike Sanders and fourth was Wally Collins of Samoa.
Wally has ridden very well on Tour. With this finish, it has secured him a top 10 spot final result.
Another notable result is the outstanding effort by 14-year-old rider, Michael Madden-Smith, of Auckland. He is consistently among the top 10 finishers.
Time Trial results
1. Tony Downing, 55:26mins
2. Brendon Madden-Smith, 36:33
3. Mike Sanders, 56:27
4. Wally Collins (SAM), 57:12
5. Michael Dam (Aust), 57:17
6. Neil Blayney (NZL), 57:20
7. Christian Wengler (NZL) 58:37
8. Steve Gurney (NZ) 58:41
9. Michael Madden-Smith
10. Alex Chapman (NZ) 1:00:45
1. Katheren Leitner (NZ) 1:04:54
2. Rebecca Marley (NZ) 1:07:33
3. Tania Larkin (NZ) 1:10:43
4. Anna Dungey (NZ) 1:12:43
5. Nikki Hart (NZ) 1:18:49
6. Teresa Wilkinson (NZ) 1:22:24