Saturday effort got Michael Vink to lead in cycling tour

01:43, Jan 31 2009
FINISH LOOMS: Riders in the under-19 men's section of the Yunca Tour, from left, Jason Christie, of Ashburton, Dale Parker from Australia and eventual winner Michael Vink, jostle for positions in the final stage of the event yesterday.

Canterbury's Michael Vink was yesterday crowned under-19 men's Yunca Junior Tour of Southland winner.

The talented young rider was sixth after the first two stages of the five stage races but a nice ride on Saturday afternoon to win stage three propelled himself to the top of the field and he remained untouched yesterday.

Vink was followed by George Bennett in the overall standings at the completion of yesterday's action while Central Otago rider Alex McGregor, who won the individual time trial on Friday, was third.

In the women's under-19 race Levin's Gemma Dudley was triumphant, heading home Sarah Martin who led after the individual time trial, while Cycling Southland rider Sequoia Cooper was third.

Wellington's Courtney Grenfell won the under-17 women's race ahead of Central Otago's Kate MacDonald.

Australian David Edwards stole the show in the extremely competitive under-17 class heading home several other talented Australasian riders.


Australia had a contingent of nine riding in the Yunca tour and they will stay on for the trans-Tasman carnival at the ILT Velodrome in Invercargill tomorrow and Wednesday night.

Edwards was followed by Otago rider Brad Evans in the tightly contested under-17 men's race.

In the under-15 boys field it was Alex Stancliffe who was the winner after he led from the first stage of the tour, which was the individual time trial.

Stancliffe is also an out-of-town rider, coming down from Auckland for the event, but he was closely followed in by Tom Beadle of Invercargill.

The impressive Sophie Williamson, of Central Otago, who won the Canberra under-15 tour was too tough in the girls' under-16 age-group.

Wellington's Ollie Jones won the under-13 boys' race and Southland's Sophie McMurdo was victorious in the girls' section.

Yunca Tour manager Sier Vermunt said yesterday the tour had exceeded expectations and he hoped in the coming years it would continue to grow.

Vermunt said the Australian contingent at the event had already indicated they would be bringing an larger group of riders next year.


The Southland Times