3/11/2020 - World points race champion Corbin Strong secured a home victory on stage two of the SBS Bank Tour of Southland with Aaron Gate retaining the yellow jersey ahead of tomorrow’s pivotal Remarkables hill climb.
PowerNet rider Strong, riding in his third Southland tour, punched his way off the front of a bunch sprint to win the stage into picturesque Te Anau under a stunning blue sky.
“I’ve followed this tour for as long as I can remember, being a young Souhlander growing up and sitting outside of school watching the tour go by Otatara primary school and then sitting in the vans before I was old enough to do it,” Strong said.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve had a lot of near misses in this tour already in the last two years, so to pull it off was a great feeling and one I’ll remember for a long time.”
The major break of the day featured PowerNet’s experienced Paul Odlin, Alexander White (Black Spoke), Dylan Kennett (Transport Engineering-Talleys) and Paul Wright (Creation Signs-MITOQ), who has been prominent in the first two stages.
Wright took out the Blackmount hillclimb, but the break was shut down between Manapouri and Te Anau, with Strong edging his New Zealand endurance track team mates Campbell Stewart (Base Solutions Racing) and Tom Sexton (Business South) to the line.
“We went in with a good plan for today, all the PowerNet boys were committed and I owe them a lot, it was an awesome team effort and we are riding awesome as a team together and hopefully there’s a few more wins to come this week,” Strong said.
“There wasn’t much wind but it was still a hard day. There were a lot of attacks going in and it was quite aggressive racing, which was nice. It hasn’t been as hard a start to the tour this year, but that just means that when it does get hard it’s going to be that much more exciting.”
Gate (Black Spoke) crossed the finish line in the main bunch to retain the lead for a second day, surviving a scary moment when he was edged towards the barriers and dropped his chain over a speed bump near the line.
He leads team mate and fellow former Southland winner James Oram by six seconds, with Tom Sexton (Business South) third at 9sec and Strong fourth at 15sec.
Defending champion Michael Vink (Transport Engineering-Talleys) is in ninth place, 19 seconds in arrears.
“Luckily all the guys were excited this morning so it was good to get stuck in,” Gate said.
“The racing was definitely on right from the gun with a group of us rolling off the front up the first little climb. It’s always a tough start coming out of Riverton and today didn’t disappoint.
“It’s definitely the best weather I’ve had coming out of Riverton. It was quite nice to sit in the peloton and take in some of the sights. It was a pretty magical stage to come into Te Anau today.”
Strong’s efforts saw him take over the Henderson Construction Under 23 classification, with fellow Southlander Matt Zenovich (Vet4Farm) retaining the Harcourts Sprint Ace jersey and Wright (Creation Signs - MitoQ) in the Jesco Hydraulics King of the Mountain jersey.
Glen Haden (Coupland's Bakeries) retained the Stonewood Homes silver jersey for the leading over 35 rider, while the Share the Road Ambassador jersey was awarded to Blake Tait-Jones (C Brown Builders - Olphert Contracting).
The 64th edition of the SBS Bank Tour of Southland heads into uncharted territory tomorrow with a 6km climb up the Remarkables access road on the end of a 111km stage starting in Mossburn.
The climb is shorter and steeper than the Coronet Peak stage that it has replaced and will provide some stunning views across the Wakatipu basin for those with enough oxygen in their lungs to enjoy it.
Photo credit: Studio Jubb
1. Corbin Strong (PNL) 3h22m57s; 2. Campbell Stewart (BSR) ST; 3. Tom Sexton (BSS) ST; 4. Ben Oliver (CBW) ST; 5. George Jackson (CSM) ST; 6. Madi Hartly-Brown (CPB) ST; 7. William Green (BSS) ST; 8. Samuel Ritchie (VFF) ST; 9. Nicholas Kergozou (CPB) ST; 10. Luke Mudgway (BSP) ST; 11. Laurence Pithie (CCA) ST; 12. James Williamson (CSM) ST; 13. James Krzanich (BJC) ST; 14. Daniel Cross (RVR) ST; 15. Kiaan Watts (RJS) ST; 16. Aaron Gate (BSP) ST; 17. Dylan Kennett (TET) ST; 18. Reuben Thompson (VFF) ST; 19. Mark Stewart (VFF) ST; 20. Joel MacMillan (CBW) ST; 21. James Harvey (TET) ST; 22. Glenn Haden (CPB) ST; 23. Keegan Hornblow (BSS) ST; 24. Hamish Keast (TET) ST; 25. Ollie Jones (PNL) ST;
1. Aaron Gate (BSP) 6h59m45s; 2. James Oram (BSP) at 06s; 3. Tom Sexton (BSS) at 09s; 4. Corbin Strong (PNL) at 15s; 5. Campbell Stewart (BSR) at 15s; 6. William Green (BSS) at 15s; 7. Keegan Hornblow (BSS) at 15s; 8. Dylan Kennett (TET) at 17s; 9. Michael Vink (TET) at 19s; 10. Logan Currie (TET) at 19s; 11. Madi Hartly-Brown (CPB) at 21s; 12. Nicholas Kergozou (CPB) at 21s; 13. Glenn Haden (CPB) at 21s; 14. Joel Yates (BSR) at 21s; 15. Alexander White (BSP) at 21s; 16. Paul Odlin (PNL) at 22s; 17. Luke Mudgway (BSP) at 23s; 18. Joshua Kench (BSP) at 23s; 19. Ollie Jones (PNL) at 25s; 20. Alex Heaney (PNL) at 25s; 21. Josh Kuysten (PNL) at 26s; 22. Ben Oliver (CBW) at 28s; 23. George Jackson (CSM) at 29s; 24. James Williamson (CSM) at 29s; 25. James Fouche (CSM) at 29s;
1. Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy 20h59m57s; 2. Business South at 03s; 3. Transport Engineering – Talleys at 15s; 4. Coupland’s Bakeries at 21s; 5. Base Solutions Racing at 21s; 6. Powernet at 33s; 7. Creation Signs – MitoQ at 45s; 8. Vet4Farm at 57s; 9. Real Journeys at 01m18s; 10. Central Benchmakers – Willbike at 01m24s;
1. Matthew Zenovich (VFF) 27; 2. Jordan Kerby (BSR) 18; 3. James Fouche (CSM) 13; 4. Paul Odlin (PNL) 12; 5. Dylan Kennett (TET) 10; 6. Paul Wright (CSM) 10; 7. Ollie Jones (PNL) 4; 8. Alexander White (BSP) 4; 9. James Harvey (TET) 3; 10. Nicholas Kergozou (CPB) 3;
King of Mountains
1. Paul Wright (CSM) 29; 2. Aaron Gate (BSP) 6; 3. Matthew Zenovich (VFF) 6; 4. Dylan Kennett (TET) 6; 5. Ben Oliver (CBW) 6; 6. Keegan Hornblow (BSS) 5; 7. Jack Drage (CBW) 5; 8. Paul Odlin (PNL) 4; 9. James Oram (BSP) 2; 10. Ollie Jones (PNL) 2;
Tomorrow’s third stage travels 111km from Mossburn to The Remarkables, finishing about 1:40pm.