Hayden Roulston remains dominant
Stage five of the Tour of Southland today promises to make the race and break the peloton.
At 180 kilometres – and with significant climbs at Gorge Hill and the Crown Range finish – the stage marks the beginning of the tour's second act.
Tour leader Hayden Roulston remains dominant.
However, his Calder Stewart team-mates have been made to work hard around him.
"I said at the start it would be very tough, especially with the longer stages," Roulston said after nearly seeing his lead slip away yesterday. "I can't say for sure if I'm going to win the race still.
"For sure, I'm the strongest rider in the race, there's no two ways about it. You've got to have a strong team, you've got to have a team which recovers well every day, and this is new to everybody, the longer stages and having to back up."
That was why Roulston was geeing up his troops as they slumped into their foldout chairs at the end of yesterday's afternoon stage, urging the team to eat and rest well.
"It's not just us that has to back up, it's the other teams as well," he said
"I think everyone's lucky we haven't had any bad weather yet, it's been pretty good."While there were nervous ripples of excitement at the Te Anau stage finish when it looked as though Roulston would have to hand over the yellow jersey to Chris Macic, the man himself was not too concerned.
"I think you saw today our team was put under quite a bit of pressure. I was quite relaxed about it, I wasn't too stressed," he said.
"If I had've lost the jersey today, there's still two very big stages to go, and there's also a 13km time trial. I think the teams did what I would do today, but when you are going into a block headwind, you've got to question why they were attacking. That's just New Zealand racing for you, and you live and learn."
The challenge remains for the likes of Share the Road, PureBlack and others like Ascot Park Hotel to make the rest of this PowerNet-sponsored race as hard as possible for the defending champion.
They did it yesterday, but now they need to back it up.
"You've got to remember we are into the fourth day tomorrow, there's tired legs out there," Roulston said.
"Even guys that haven't had the wind yet, there's tired legs.
"I feel super, so I've just got to get to the bottom of the climb and just rip it."
- © Fairfax NZ News