‘Late call-up’ James Oram takes NZ Cycle Classic title

James Oram has gone from not even entered, to taking out the title at the New Zealand Cycle Classic.

2023 NZ Cycle Classic champion James Oram.
Photo: Dave Lintott/Lintott Photography

The Black Spoke rider finished safely in the bunch to secure overall victory as Germany’s Lucas Carstensen won the sprint of Sunday’s fifth and final stage, a criterium in central Wellington.

Having held the yellow jersey since day one, Oram completed the event five seconds ahead of team-mate Josh Burnett.

Dutchman Adne van Engelen from the Thailand-based Roojai Online Insurance team was another 11 seconds back in third.

Asked what his expectations were coming into the event, Oram said he had none, and with good reason.

“I was actually a late call-up. One of the boys [in the team] got Covid and they thought they’d put me in.

“I’ve been training really well through December and I knew my form was pretty good.

“In that first stage, I just created an opportunity for myself … and then from day one forward it was just controlling and making sure we had everything covered.”

The victory meant Oram had now knocked off two of the biggest events on the annual calendar in New Zealand.

Also a Tour of Southland winner, he said adding the Cycle Classic crown was a great achievement.

“What’s so special about the New Zealand Cycle Classic is that I’ve basically done it as my first race of the season for the last nine or 10 years.

“To finally knock this off, I’ve been so close in years past, is really special.

“It just shows, if you have good people around you and the right environment, anything is possible.”

Black Spoke’s good day continued with Luke Mudgway claiming the sprint ace jersey and finishing second over the line behind Carstensen.

Consistent riding all week at Oxford Edge’s Camden Feint saw him rewarded with the under-23 jersey, while mountain biker Ben Oliver was happy to end his tour with the most aggressive rider jersey.

Rush Velo’s Matthew Wilson took out the King of the Mountains classification.



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