Any eagle-eyed, old school cycling fans would have been quietly applauding Taylor Gunman’s stage win in the SBS Bank Tour of Southland today (Oct 31).
The Aucklander, riding for Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel, broke away with 10km left in the 150km second stage from Riverton to Te Anau to win a bunch sprint finish on the Te Anau lakefront.
And he did it riding a steel-framed bike designed by his British team Genesis, in a field dominated by ultra-modern carbon bikes.
“I can tell you what, the Genesis team will be proud. A steel bike win in the modern era is something to be proud of,” Gunman said.
“To be honest I was just following wheels, I didn’t realise there was a sprint (with 10km remaining). I followed a couple of wheels and had a good head of steam on and just kept rolling. Before I knew it the ITM guy joined me, we really had to press on but I was just trying to ride to give our boys a rest. I’m happy about the stage win but the boys got a good ride in as well. It has been a really tough couple of seasons, so let’s hope this is the trajectory back up.”
Gunman was joined in the late break by ITM’s Australian rider Kane Richards, who was second on the stage ahead of Southlander Nick Kergozou from the Placemakers team.
Earlier in the stage, Logan Griffin (Tank Guy/Bikebox Rentals), Bradley Leitch (Team Skoda Racing), Andy Hagan (Wheeworks Handcrafted Wheels) and Reon Nolan (ITM) was allowed to slip away after the Riverton start.
Nolan was dropped before the Blackmount climb and after Manapouri the race had reassembled for the drive to Te Anau.
“It was an incredibly aggressive start. Everyone was attacking, all the major teams wanted to be in the break, no one wanted to have to work in the head wind today so it took a very long time for the race to settle,” Gunman said.
“By the time we got to Tuatapere the race was underway. We played our cards pretty close and kept ourselves represented and we came away with the result.”
Roman van Uden (PowerNet) chased home for sixth on the stage, good enough to retain the yellow jersey with a 5sec lead over Michael Torckler (Business Direct) with Gunman in third place overall, 7sec in arrears.
The race is now well poised heading into the Queens stage, a 138km journey from Mossburn ending with a brutal climb up to the ski resort of Coronet Peak.
While van Uden doesn’t believe his legs will allow him to keep the race lead, team mates Matt Ross and Brad Evans, the 2015 champion, are well placed to take the advantage.
“This is the big one, we’ve seen some big time gaps in the past,” van Uden said.
“This is where the race is going to come down because it doesn’t look like we are going to get any crosswinds to make time gaps later in the race. Today is the day.”
Alexandra’s James Williamson (Creation Signs L&M Group Mining Ricoh) leads the sprint ace classification, with Kergouz promoting himself into the under 23 lead, Callum Gordon (Business South) retaining the King of the Mountain jersey and PowerNet’s Paul Odlin holding onto the over 35 jersey.
TotalPos Solutions Ben Robertson was judged the Most Combative rider for the stage.
Results from the 3rd stage of the SBS Tour of Southland.
Riverton - Tuatapere - Blackmount - Te Anau
1. Taylor Gunman (KAP) 3h44m00s; 2. Kane Richards (ITM) ST; 3. Nick Kergozou (PMK) ST; 4. Alexander Ray (WWS) ST; 5. Joel Yates (TSR) ST; 6. Roman Van Uden (PNL) ST; 7. Ethan Batt (MGH) ST; 8. Conner Sallee (GLS) ST; 9. Raphael Freienstein (AVE) ST; 10. Michael Vink (MGH) ST; 11. Brad Evans (PNL) ST; 12. Ryan Christensen (KAP) ST; 13. Ollie Jones (PNL) ST; 14. Boris Clark (CST) ST; 15. Carne Groube (CBW) ST; 16. Matias Fitzwater (CST) ST; 17. James Fouche (CLM) ST; 18. Nicholas Costello (ITM) ST; 19. James Piccoli (KAP) ST; 20. Cyrus Monk (KAP) ST; 21. Blake Tait-Jones (BSS) ST; 22. Josh Kuysten (BZD) ST; 23. Eric Marcotte (KAP) ST; 24. Sam Mobberley (ITM) ST; 25. Alex West (TSR) ST;
1. Roman Van Uden (PNL) 7h55m36s; 2. Michael Torckler (BZD) at 05s; 3. Taylor Gunman (KAP) at 07s; 4. Brad Evans (PNL) at 07s; 5. Paul Odlin (PNL) at 09s; 6. Nick Kergozou (PMK) at 12s; 7. Michael Vink (MGH) at 13s; 8. James Piccoli (KAP) at 13s; 9. Callum Pearce (MGH) at 13s; 10. Mathew Zenovich (MGH) at 13s; 11. Tim Rush (MGH) at 13s; 12. Kane Richards (ITM) at 14s; 13. Cyrus Monk (KAP) at 14s; 14. Josh Kuysten (BZD) at 15s; 15. Mike Cuming (AVE) at 15s; 16. Raphael Freienstein (AVE) at 16s; 17. Ryan Christensen (KAP) at 17s; 18. Alex West (TSR) at 17s; 19. Morgan Smith (AVE) at 17s; 20. Kevin Girkens (KAP) at 17s; 21. Josh Haggerty (PMK) at 17s; 22. Sam Mobberley (ITM) at 20s; 23. Andy Hagan (WWS) at 21s; 24. James Fouche (CLM) at 22s; 25. James Williamson (CLM) at 22s;
1. Powernet 23h47m15s; 2. Mike Greer Homes at 12s; 3. Kia Motors - Ascot Park Hotel at 24s; 4. Aardvark Excavators Ltd at 24s; 5. Creation Signs L&M Group Ricoh at 46s; 6. Blindz Direct at 02m11s; 7. Placemakers at 02m17s; 8. ITM at 02m26s; 9. Giant Lakeside at 02m47s; 10. Team Skoda Racing at 04m20s;
1. James Williamson (CLM) 19; 2. Callum Gordon (BSS) 12; 3. Logan Griffin (TGB) 9; 4. Andy Hagan (WWS) 8; 5. Paul Wright (CBW) 8; 6. Paul Odlin (PNL) 8; 7. Eric Marcotte (KAP) 8; 8. Raphael Freienstein (AVE) 7; 9. Reon Nolan (ITM) 7; 10. Grayson Keppler (GLS) 6;
King of Mountains
1. Callum Gordon (BSS) 15; 2. Ben Barry (CLM) 10; 3. Andy Hagan (WWS) 10; 4. Eric Marcotte (KAP) 10; 5. Florian Barket (TSR) 6; 6. Logan Griffin (TGB) 6; 7. Ben Robertson (TPS) 6; 8. Mike Cuming (AVE) 4; 9. Sam Mobberley (ITM) 3; 10. Raphael Freienstein (AVE) 2;
Riders face Te Anau to Queenstown