29/10/2012 - Paddy Bevin took out his fourth stage of his past three appearances in the PowerNet Tour of Southland, finishing first in a sprint finish in Lumsden today.
Bevin finished as the overall runner-up last year and today’s result means he has been thrust into the yellow jersey after stage one.
The 21-year-old, riding for Bissell Pro Cycling, said the team had its eye on the 160km stage right from the start.
“Without the wind, we knew the stage wasn’t going to be so decisive and we wanted to win it,” he said.
“As soon as you get close riding you don’t want to waste your energy, so we were pretty serious by the time it came to the crunch.”
Seven riders made an initial break just after Wallacetown and lead the peleton by up to 6minutes at one point. By the time they reached Mossburn, the lead was reduced to two minutes and by Lumsden, it was left to a sprint finish.
Bevin had been 7 seconds down going into the day’s racing, but a 10 second bonus for winning the stage thrust him into yellow.
“It’s good to pick up the yellow jersey. I’ve won stages before but I haven’t actually led the race, so that’s another one to tick of the ‘to do’ list in New Zealand bike racing.
The next step is to take it all the way, but we will be taking it day by day. We’ve got guys that can race and tomorrow’s very decisive for GC.”
Share the Road rider Sam Witmitz took out the Harcourts Sprint Ace jersey, after being in the break. Creation Signs-L&M Group Racing’s Joe Chapman will wear the Jesco Hydraulics King of the Mountain jersey he won during last year’s Tour, after some strong climbs and Bevin also claimed The Co-operative Bank Under 23 classification. PowerNet leads the Wensleys Cycles team classification.
A minutes silence was observed at the end of today’s stage for Stu Kenning who tragically lost his life while undertaking work at Mossburn on Saturday. It was fitting that Stu’s family, friends and work colleagues were present as he was remembered by the community he served so well.
Tomorrow’s 137km stage starts in Invercargill and ends with a gruelling climb up Bluff Hill that will test the best.