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SBS Bank Tour of Southland – Final day’s wrap

SBS Bank Tour of Southland – Final day’s wrap

Stage 6:

Oceania Time Trial Champion Joe Cooper proved he is still the time trial champion, retaining his win on the 2013 stage, after busting out a blistering 16’00’’ pace on the 13km SBS Bank Tour of Southland Individual Time Trial this morning around Winton.

Sunny conditions greeted the riders of the 2014 SBS Bank Tour of Southland at the start of stage 6, a 13km Individual Time Trial held at Winton. With just 24 seconds separating the top four riders on the General Classification it was still anyone’s race to win or lose.

Paul Odlin (PowerNet) would be the first rider to get into the 16 minute range with 16’51”. He would hold the stage lead until Michael Vink (Breads of Europe - All About Plumbing) took over the top spot with 16’46”, before Cooper (Avanti Racing Team) set the winning time of 16’00” to take out the Niagara sponsored stage. SBS Bank Tour leader Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (Avanti) would finish well with 16’21” and retain the lead of the Tour by 41” from team-mate Cooper, with Hayden McCormick (BoE-AAP) taking 4th on the stage to remain 43” behind Mitchell-Fay on GC.

Stage 7:

The warm conditions would remain as the riders set off from Winton in the afternoon stage, an 87km blast through the Central Southland countryside to the finish at Queens Park in Invercargill. The pace was high from the gun as riders picked up a tailwind for the first part of the stage. A breakaway formed almost immediately containing Michael Torckler and Hamish Schreurs (Barry Stewart Builders), with triple stage winner Ben Hill (McCallums Group). Initially, Avanti Racing weren’t aware that Torckler, a threat to the GC lead at 58”, was in the breakaway. Another four riders joined the leading group and together they opened a maximum gap of 1’57” before the Avanti Racing Team began to single-handedly split the chasing peloton and started to reel back the leaders. As the race headed south riders picked up a strengthening SW headwind.

With 41km raced, Torckler disappeared from the front bunch, returning to the peloton. With the main threat to Lovelock-Fay’s tour lead back under control the Avanti team eased back on the chase.

The gap would slowly begin to close as the five remaining in the breakaway would make it onto the finishing circuit around Queens Park and get within a lap of taking another stage win for the breakaway, before strong work from the Breads of Europe - All About Plumbing team would bring them back together during the final circuit of the park.

Coming into the final sprint, Brad Evans (PowerNet) kicked into high gear and won from the first bunch sprint of this year’s tour. Neil Van Der Ploeg (Avanti Racing) and Roman van Uden (PowerNet) were second and third respectively.

Lovelock-Fay (Avanti Racing Team) finished safely in the leading peloton to clinch victory and the coveted SBS Bank Tour Leader’s yellow jersey for 2014.

Hayden McCormick (Breads of Europe - All About Plumbing) collected the Henderson Construction U23 pink jersey.

Matthew Zenovich (H&J Smiths Outdoor World) would retain the Harcourts Sprint Ace green jersey.

Thomas Stewart (Team Cromwell) took the Jesco Hydraulics King of the Mountain polka dot jersey

Veteran Gordon McCauley (GMC Coaching - Hawkins) took out the Stonewood Homes Over-40 Silver jersey.

The final Southland Times Most Combative jersey went to Hamish Schreurs (Barry Stewart Builders)

ends

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