CORONET PEAK CHAMPION CROWNED ON TOUR OF SOUTHLAND
5/11/15 - Alexandra’s Liam Aitcheson has climbed his way to a queen stage victory at the 2015 SBS Bank Tour of Southland.
Having had to sette for third place on the same stage last year, a determined Aitcheson (Creation Signs-L&M Group Ricoh) won a two-man duel against Michael Vink (Team Mike Greer Homes) up the demanding eight kilometre Coronet Peak climb.
“It was a really tough race today but I just remembersed from last year, I know the climb quite well and was doing it last week,” Aitcheson said.
“This has probably been one of my worst years for being sick but I’ve come back for the tour and come away with a stage win.”
This year’s Mitre 10 Mega Queenstown-sponsored stage had been shortened from 180km to a less intimidating 140km.
Matt Zenovich (Champion Systems Team Dallaa) was again in the action from the start in Mossburn, eventually helping form the day’s major break which included United States rider Eric Marcotte (Kia Motors-Ascot Park), Nick Reddish (Olivers Real Food Racing) and fellow Southlander Luke Macpherson (Barry Stewart Builders).
They slowly increased their lead until they had an almost four minute advantage as they skirted Lake Wakatipu.
Reddish was the first to drop away and as the race made its way around Lake Hayes and the ominous sight of the Coronet access road loomed up high above their right shoulders, the peloton pulled them back.
Aitcheson and Vink rode off the front of the peleton and past the escapees to set up their personal battle.
While Vink, who has also had a season affected by illness, fought gamely, Aitcheson always appeared to have the ability to pull away when he wanted to.
Not for the first time this race, Vink’s hard work did not pay off, although a second place on the stage offered some reward.
Nicholas Katsonis (Barry Stewart Builders) was third, while Macpherson was awarded the stuff.co.nz Most Combative honours.
“I was just focussing on getting to the top really, trying to keep myself fresh, surging and recovering to make it better for me and worse for him,” Aitcheson said.
“The team did a perfect job, brought me into the bottom of the hill perfectly and I was able to pull it off.”
Just behind them on the climb, tour leader Brad Evans (PowerNet) was in his own fight with fellow contender Robbie Hucker (Barry Stewart Builders).
Starting the day with a 17sec lead over the Australian, Evans coudn’t hold his wheel on the climb but still retains a 14sec lead heading into tomorrow’s demanding 150km Mataura Licensing Trust stage from Invercargill to Gore.
“The whole team worked incredibly well today, they were super strong,” Evans said.
“With two days to go we are in wiith a sniff of victory. The other teams will be looking to attack us but I was feeling good today and I’m sure I’ll be able to ride well tomorrow and we’ll just see how it unfolds.”
After the wind and rain of the first few days turned to fine, sunny conditions yesterday, Evans is prepared for whatever the race throws at him.
“It depends a lot on the weather here. Preferably I like it windy, nice and hard. The Gore stage is traditionally pretty hard.”
It was a good day for Creation Signs-L&M Group Ricoh, with Aitcheson taking over the lead in the Henderson Construction under 23 classification and Joe Chapman retaining the Harcourts sprint ace jersey.
Nick Miller (Barry Stewart Builders) has a one point lead in the Jesco Hydraulics King of the Mountains classification over Avanti Team Racing’s Joe Cooper.
Brent Allnut (Placemakers) continues to lead the Stonewood Homes silver jersey classification for riders 40 and over, while PowerNet leads the Wensley’s Cycles team classification.
Caption: Alexandra's Liam Aitcheson (Creation Signs-L&M Group Ricoh) climbing his way up Coronet Peak during stage four of the 2015 SBS Bank Tour of Southland.
Photo courtesy: James Jubb/Envious Photography
Results from stage four of the 2015 SBS Bank Tour of Southland.
Te Anau - Five Rivers - Kingston - Frankton - Coronet Peak
1. Liam Aitcheson (CLM) 3h22m47s; 2. Michael Vink (MGH) at 19s; 3. Nicholas Katsonis (BSB) at 01m15s; 4. Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ART) at 01m29s; 5. Robbie Hucker (BSB) at 01m31s; 6. Nick Osten (ADC) at 01m34s; 7. Brad Evans (PNL) at 01m34s; 8. Tom Davison (ART) at 01m48s; 9. Ryan Christensen (ORF) at 01m55s; 10. Callum Gordon (TSR) at 02m10s; 11. Mike Cumming (TCW) at 02m18s; 12. Nick Bain (TSR) at 02m25s; 13. Regan Gough (ART) at 02m48s; 14. Mike Northey (KAP) at 03m02s; 15. Jake Marryatt (TCW) at 03m11s; 16. Travis McCabe (KAP) at 03m57s; 17. Jesse Ewart (TFC) at 04m18s; 18. Luke Macpherson (BSB) at 04m58s; 19. Daniel Molyneux (BSB) at 05m11s; 20. Gordian Banzer (CSD) at 05m24s; 21. Jason Thomason (TFC) at 05m26s; 22. Morgan Smith (BSB) at 05m48s; 23. Luke McDermott (CLM) at 05m48s; 24. Anthony Chapman (CLM) at 05m54s; 25. Cyrill Kunz (CSD) at 06m12s.
1. Brad Evans (PNL) 15h43m07s; 2. Robbie Hucker (BSB) at 14s; 3. Mike Northey (KAP) at 02m51s; 4. Michael Vink (MGH) at 04m37s; 5. Liam Aitcheson (CLM) at 04m54s; 6. Travis McCabe (KAP) at 05m44s; 7. Nick Bain (TSR) at 06m11s; 8. Nicholas Katsonis (BSB) at 07m09s; 9. Mike Cumming (TCW) at 08m09s; 10. Ryan Christensen (ORF) at 08m20s; 11. Regan Gough (ART) at 10m44s; 12. Robert Huisman (PNL) at 10m45s; 13. Tom Davison (ART) at 10m58s; 14. Luke MacPherson (BSB) at 11m02s; 15. Gordian Banzer (CSD) at 12m42s; 16. Alex Frame (KAP) at 12m45s; 17. Adrian Hegyvary (PNL) at 13m00s; 18. Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ART) at 13m01s; 19. Jake Marryatt (TCW) at 13m10s; 20. Jason Thomason (TFC) at 14m28s; 21. Anthony Chapman (CLM) at 14m56s; 22. Marc Ryan (KAP) at 15m05s; 23. Nick Osten (ADC) at 15m19s; 24. Morgan Smith (BSB) at 16m06s; 25. Tim Rush (PNL) at 16m33s.
1. PowerNet 40h25m04s; 2. Kia Motors-Ascot Park at 04m06s; 3. Barry Stewart Builders at 09m33s; 4. Avanti Racing Team at 16m36s; 5. Champion System Team Dallas at 25m56s; 6. Creation Signs L&M Group Ricoh at 26m10s; 7. Team Cromwell at 27m43s; 8. Team Skoda Racing at 27m51s; 9. Olivers Real Food Racing at 28m25s; 10. Chesters Racing Team at 38m39s.
1. Joe Chapman (CLM) 52; 2. Fraser Gough (ART) 30; 3. Roman Van Uden (PNL) 24; 4. Mathew Zenovich (CSD) 21; 5. Marc Ryan (KAP) 19; 6. Travis McCabe (KAP) 19; 7. Nathan Bunn (CRT) 18; 8. Eric Marcotte (KAP) 13; 9. Frank Sutton (CRT) 13; 10. Joseph Cooper (ART) 12.
King of Mountains
1. Nick Miller (BSB) 28; 2. Joseph Cooper (ART) 27; 3. Mathew Zenovich (CSD) 19; 4. Liam Aitcheson (CLM) 14; 5. Brad Evans (PNL) 10; 6. Luke Macpherson (BSB) 8; 7. Joe Chapman (CLM) 7; 8. Frank Sutton (CRT) 6; 9. Robbie Hucker (BSB) 6; 10. Michael Vink (MGH) 6.
Riders face 149.6km Stage 5, sponsored by the Mataura Licensing Trust, from Invercargill to Gore, via Edendale, Te Tipua, Mataura and Waimumu, for the new route of this year's tour.