Sibling rivalry to decide Chapman Cup honours

While much of the focus of this week's Tour of Southland has been firmly on the leaders and stage winners, back in the peloton there is a race within the race - and it's one that comes with family bragging rights for the winner.

For the first time brothers Joe, Tim and Anthony Chapman are all riding the tour; Joe and Tim for Creation Signs-L&M Racing, and Anthony for H&Js Outdoor World-Avanti Plus.

There is plenty of banter between the brothers and every day they race for what they call the Chapman Cup - essentially bragging rights for the top-placed brother on each stage.

So far that sits comfortably with Anthony, although Joe has a stronghold on an actual classification - the King of the Mountain jersey.

"I like to point out to Joe that he hasn't won a stage yet," said Anthony, who won stage honours in 2005.

"But then he's won King of the Mountains more than I have . . . "

It took Anthony three days to claim the family bragging rights and he's keen to hold on to them until the finish of the tour.

He did his chances no harm in yesterday's 167km stage from Invercargill to Gore, when he finished 13th.

Joe has impressed with his climbing this week and has done enough to secure the King of the Mountains jersey he won last year.

Joe said the trio had always been competitive and it was great to have all three of them competing in the tour this year.

"It's brotherly love, taken to the extreme," he said with a laugh. "Everything we do seems to be a bit of a competition.

"Sometimes it's friendly, sometimes it gets a bit serious, but it always finishes with a laugh.

"It's really cool having two of my brothers in the same tour. Tim and I rode up the Crown Range together and it was great crossing the line together."

While Joe and Anthony know what to expect from the tour - Anthony has competed in 13 of them, while Joe claims to have lost count - this week's Tour of Southland is Tim's first.

Racing in the same team as Joe had been invaluable, Tim said.

"Joe's like a mentor, telling me everything and giving me all of his tips which are definitely making it easier and we've got a great team with us," he said.

Tim admits his chance to claim the Chapman Cup might be a few years off but, in the meantime, he's happy enough to be part of the tour and is learning as much as he can from his more experienced brothers.

This year's tour also features Nelson brothers Sean and Kieran Hambrook, who are both racing for Ascot Park Hotel-Kia Motors-NZ Bike Magazine.