NZCC 2023 Josh Burnett claiming stage 3 credit Dave Lintott (1)

Teammate James Oram third and retains Yellow Jersey

Bolton Equities Black Spoke’s Josh Burnett timed his race to perfection – pipping Dutchman Adne van Engelen (Roojai Online Insurance) metres from the finish line – to take stage three of the UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic in Wairarapa this afternoon.

In what is described as the “Queen Stage” of the five-day Tour due to its unrelenting hill climbs and over 2000m of elevation, powerhouse Burnett won the stage in 4hr 02mins 04 secs after finding the legs to pass van Engelen with only meters to spare atop Admiral Hill in Gladstone. Teammate James Oram finished third and retained the yellow jersey while KINAN Racing’s Drew Moray was fourth and Aria Phounsavath (Roojai) was fifth.

Burnett, who last year won the Tour of Southland, said it was good to tick off a UCI stage win and thanked his team for helping claw back, what was a 5-minute time gap. 

“I just came around for the end and it was very good timing, but it was thanks to my team who rode hard all day to bring that break back,” he said.

The time gap Burnett was referring too began early in the race when New Zealand National team’s Kiaan Watts, CCACHE’s Bentley Niquet-Olden, Rush Velo’s Matthew Wilson and Oxford Edge’s Richard Lawson formed a breakaway. Together they worked hard to power ahead and at 26km had 2m 05 seconds on the peloton. By 65km, that had blown out to 5min 18 seconds.

But at 113km Watts made the decision to slide back into the peloton, and soon after so did Wilson, leaving Niquet-Olden and Lawson out in front.

Meanwhile in the peloton, they began to lift their work rate and slowly reeled the duo in. By the time they began their final ascent up Admiral Hill, Burnett had begun to get himself into position … along with van Engelen, Morey, Oram and Phounsavath. They rode an incredibly measured race, with Burnett powering past van Engelen in the nick of time.

Oram also paid tribute to his teammates saying they rode selflessly to help him retain the yellow jersey. He said Black Spoke are in a good position heading into tomorrow’s fourth stage that is being held on the Miramar Peninsular in Wellington for the first time.

NZ Cycle Race director Jorge Sandoval said: “We are really excited to be bringing the race to Wellington for the next two days – on Saturday there will be a Gran Fondo cycle race in the morning, followed by stage four of the New Zealand Cycle Classic in the afternoon, so we’d love to see lots of spectators cheering on the riders,” said Sandoval. “Also, if you are driving or walking nearby, please take care and respect our traffic management team and event officials who will give every assistance to ensure the smooth and safe passage of the race which will see riders racing at high speeds. I really hope people of Wellington enjoy it.”

The fifth and final stage will be held in central Wellington, along Lambton Quay or the “Golden Mile” on Sunday. 

The 2023 NZ Cycle Classic is able to take place thanks to the generous support from Trust House, Mobile Communications Service, Wizwireless, Fagan Motors, Pedal project, Best Build Construction plus all three Wairarapa District Councils and Wellington City Council.


Stage Two Winner: Josh Burnett (Bolton Equities Black Spoke)

GC Leader: James Oram (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) 

Sprint Jersey: Kiaan Watts (NZ National Team)

King of the Mountain Jersey: Matthew Wilson (Rush Velo-Ridley)

Most Aggressive Jersey: Bentley Niquet-Olden (CCACHE PAR KUP).

U23 Jersey: Jack Drage (NZ National Team) 

View Race Results