Impressive hill climb gives Michael Torckler his first Tour of Southland stage win in eight years
An impressive hill climb gave Vantage Windows and Doors pair Michael Torckler and Hamish Bond first and third on the 138km Tour of Southland stage three from Mossburn to Coronet Peak on Wednesday.
It was Torckler's first stage win in eight years of trying as the duo overcame a five minute deficit to catch the small leading breakaway group on the final 10km hill climb.
Torckler, Bond and Mike Greer Homes rider Michael Vink were part of the peloton up until the hill climb, as climber Torckler caught Oamaru rider Tim Rush who was one of a four strong early breakaway group, on the final bend.
The stage went according to plan for the former Taranaki cyclist.
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"We had to absorb the first hour or two to make sure the right composition got away," Torckler said.
"It ended up being perfect, just a small group got away."
"We gave them a biggish gap, but it really doesn't matter."
Stage three from Mossburn to Coronet Peak was the stage that Torckler had been looking forward to the most.
"For sure, it really suits my abilities, it is definitely my favourite stage of the tour," he said.
"I was pretty excited when I woke up and knew that it was going to be a calm sunny day, it doesn't get any better for me, I battle a bit in the crosswinds."
Rush of Mike Greer Homes outlasted three other breakaway riders, his teammate Regan Gough, Barry Stewart Builders rider Nick Miller and Tineli's Brendan Cole who had fought so bravely into head winds from Five Rivers.
The quartet moved their lead to 1 minute 20 seconds after 40km in a fast paced race which saw the riders average 42km/h in the first two hours of racing.
They stretched their break to 5:27 at Jack's Point and held it to more than five minutes before the gruelling climb started.
Miller found the going too tough on the Hunter Road climb, leaving Gough, Rush and Cole to battle it out.
While the two Mike Greer Homes riders Rush and Gough dropped Cole 3km up the hill, established climber Torckler along with rowing star Bond started a late charge from the peloton and reeled in the riders.
"Probably about 1.5km to go, I was a bit uncertain that we might have gone a bit too hard at the bottom," Torckler said.
"With about 3km to go I thought we would have reached the yellow jersey, but it wasn't until the last kilometre that I thought I was going to get that stage win."
Torckler was rewarded by gaining the yellow jersey and he now holds a 36 second lead over Bond, with Vink third, after finishing fourth.
Despite being cruelly denied a stage win, Rush holds the King of the Mountain jersey, while Southland's Nick Kergozou retains the green sprint jersey.
Drew Morey from Barry Stewart Builders is the under-23 jersey holder, while Anthony Chapman has the silver jersey.
Kia Motors - Ascot Park Hotel hold a slender lead over Powernet in the team competition.
(Stage 4 of the SBS Tour of Southland)
Mossburn - Five Rivers - Coronet Peak - 138km
1. Michael Torckler (VWD) 3h41m18s; 2. Tim Rush (MGH) at 29s; 3. Hamish Bond (VWD) at 36s; 4. Michael Vink (MGH) at 01m14s; 5. Regan Gough (MGH) at 01m19s; 6. Ryan Wills (PNL) at 01m25s; 7. Drew Morey (AUS) (BSB) at 01m31s; 8. Ryan Christensen (ORF) at 02m06s; 9. Alex West (TSR) at 02m08s; 10. Taylor Gunman (KAP) at 02m19s; 11. Matt Zenovich (PNL) at 02m40s; 12. Liam Aitcheson (CBW) at 02m53s; 13. Nicholas Katsonis (AUS) (BSB) at 02m53s; 14. Hayden Roulston (PMK) at 02m53s; 15. Aaron Gate (CLM) at 02m57s; 16. Travis McCabe (USA) (KAP) at 02m59s; 17. Jake Marryatt (ACA) at 03m04s; 18. Brendan Cole (AUS) (TIN) at 03m10s; 19. Lukas Ruegg (SUI) (CST) at 04m02s; 20. Steven Lampier (GBR) (KAP) at 04m05s; 21. Alex Frame (KAP) at 04m17s; 22. Sjoerd Kouwenhoven (NED) (PNL) at 04m24s; 23. Anthony Chapman (CLM) at 04m29s; 24. Cameron Hoffman (USA) (CDC) at 04m31s; 25. Logan Griffin (ORF) at 04m44s.
1. Michael Torckler (VWD) 11h52m56s; 2. Hamish Bond (VWD) at 36s; 3. Michael Vink (MGH) at 01m10s; 4. Ryan Wills (PNL) at 01m29s; 5. Drew Morey (AUS) (BSB) at 01m34s; 6. Ryan Christensen (ORF) at 02m04s; 7. Matt Zenovich (PNL) at 02m11s; 8. Taylor Gunman (KAP) at 02m15s; 9. Travis McCabe (USA) (KAP) at 02m24s; 10. Aaron Gate (CLM) at 02m53s; 11. Hayden Roulston (PMK) at 02m58s; 12. Alex Frame (KAP) at 03m00s; 13. Steven Lampier (GBR) (KAP) at 04m01s; 14. Sjoerd Kouwenhoven (NED) (PNL) at 04m07s; 15. Ayden Toovey (AUS) (TIN) at 04m30s; 16. Luke Mudgway (BSB) at 06m27s; 17. Thery Schir (SUI) (CST) at 07m21s; 18. Tim Rush (MGH) at 07m34s; 19. Regan Gough (MGH) at 08m14s; 20. Alex West (TSR) at 08m32s; 21. Ollie Jones (OPC) at 09m20s; 22. Brendan Cole (AUS) (TIN) at 09m36s; 23. Jake Marryatt (ACA) at 09m39s; 24. Nicholas Katsonis (AUS) (BSB) at 10m02s; 25. Liam Aitcheson (CBW) at 10m18s.
1. Kia Motors - Ascot Park Hotel 35h46m20s; 2. PowerNet at 21s; 3. Vantage Windows & Doors at 06m09s; 4. Barry Stewart Builders at 08m16s; 5. Mike Greer Homes at 09m16s; 6. Placemakers at 19m00s; 7. Tineli Performance Bikewear at 21m27s; 8. Team Skoda Racing at 23m05s; 9. Calder Stewart at 23m05s; 10. Creation Signs - L&M Group Ricoh at 23m59s;
1. Nick Kergozou (BSB) 30; 2. Regan Gough (MGH) 15; 3. Liam Magennis (AUS) (TIN) 13; 4. James Fouche (CLM) 13; 5. Morgan Smith (BSB) 12; 6. Josh Harrison (AUS) (OPC) 9; 7. James Williamson (CLM) 9; 8. Logan Griffin (ORF) 8; 9. Nick Miller (BSB) 7; 10. Reon Nolan (PMK) 5.
King of Mountains
1. Tim Rush (MGH) 26; 2. Ollie Jones (OPC) 18; 3. Brendan Cole (AUS) (TIN) 11; 4. Sam Cox (AUS) (TIN) 11; 5. Michael Torckler (VWD) 10; 6. Morgan Smith (BSB) 10; 7. James Fouche (CLM) 8; 8. Logan Griffin (ORF) 7; 9. Regan Gough (MGH) 6; 10. Jasper Hamelink (NED) (CST) 6.