Sickness wrecks cyclist's dream

Hayden Roulston
Hayden Roulston

A dejected Hayden Roulston pulled out of the Tour of Southland yesterday due to illness.

What was initially reported as kidney stones is understood to have been a kidney infection which came on after he had completed stage four from Tuatapere to Te Anau on Wednesday.

Roulston started to feel ill late on Wednesday and endured a miserable night before attempting to start yesterday's 180km stage from Te Anau to the Crown Range.

The four-time Southland champion, who began the day with a 6sec lead, withdrew somewhere around Gorge Hill.

Brian Roulston, who manages his son's team, Calder Stewart, said pulling out had been a difficult decision.

"He was devastated. He thought he had the legs to achieve winning it five times. There's another year next year.

"He had a very rough night last night, but he's tough, he'll be right. It was more than just the tour for him, his health is more important than anything else."

He was taken to Southland Hospital by ambulance for observation.

In his absence, last year's under-23 champion, Josh Atkins, from the PowerNet team, won stage 5 and claimed the yellow jersey heading into today's 167km stage from Invercargill to Gore.

Atkins said it had been a major shock when the peloton learned Roulston was withdrawing partway through the stage.

With plans to return to the track for next year's Olympic Games and a recently signed contract with pro team RadioShack Nissan Trek, Roulston had priorities beyond the Tour of Southland, Atkins said.

"He's got bigger goals and he has to look after himself," he said.

The Southland Times