Jakob Lester happy with 39th-placed finish in Tour of Poyang Lake
26 Sep 2017
Of the 109 riders to start the Tour of Poyang Lake in China, only 42 finished. Taranaki's was Jakob Lester among them.
The 17-year-old New Plymouth Boys' High School student overcame a number of mechanical issues to finish 39th in the 1300km-plus event which ran over 12 days, ending on Sunday.
"I wasn't expecting to do as well as I did, given that I wasn't able to train specifically for the event and was just hoping to finish," Lester said.
Lester experienced his share of punctures, with one in particular coming at the most inopportune time.
"On one of the stages, my team was working for me so I could have a big finish. About 5km out from the finish line I got a puncture. We quickly changed the tyre and I managed to finish 24th for the stage."
The event was an eye-opener for Lester, who hadn't competed overseas before and said the speed of the racing was unlike anything he had experienced.
A decent climber on the bike, Lester also said the climbing stages of the event were real battles as they could be climbing up to 2000m on any given day.
"I learnt a lot over there, especially in terms of how the racing works and how it all pans out."
Now back in New Zealand and eyeing a number of events over the Kiwi summer, Lester said the tour had made him eager for competition.
"It's definitely made me hungry for more of that sort of racing and made me more excited for the races I have coming up in New Zealand."
Among those races, Lester will be joining Team Placemakers in the Tour of Southland and competing for a new local team in the Dynamo Teams event.
Lester's coach Grant Wilson was signing riders up for his Central Roofing-Revolution Cycling team.
Wilson said the idea of the team was to be a full race dedicated and development cycling team to help the likes of Lester and other local riders get to a few more national and international events.
They'll be the second Taranaki team riding in the Dynamo Teams Series, along with the Blindz Direct Cycling Team who sit third in category one and fourth in category two after the first stage.