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U.S. rider Shelley Evans wins New Zealand opener

Shelley Evans, racing for the U.S. national team, won the opening stage of the Women’s Tour of New Zealand Wednesday and takes the first leader’s jersey of the six-stage race.

Evans (née Olds) races for the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 trade team when she is not competing for the national team.

She won the opening 95km stage from Martinborough to Masterton in 2:49:19, four seconds ahead of Australia’s Ruth Corset and six seconds ahead of South African national champion Cherise Taylor. Amber Neben was the next best placed American in 11th at 10 seconds.

Evans told tvnz.co that her team positioned her near the front in the final kilometers. “Then I just jumped on the New Zealand train,” she told the site.

She said she thought the team could defend the jersey.

“We definitely have some of the best riders in the world on our team and we aim to ride aggressively in this tour.”

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