Aaron Gate wins 2016 Tour of Southland
A couple of weeks before the 2016 Tour of Southland Aaron Gate signalled his intentions.
It was during a phone conversation with team manager James Canny about what could unfold in New Zealand's premier road cycling race.
Canny was putting the feelers out as to just what Gate was keen to target.
"James Canny rang me a couple of weeks ago before I came down here to feel me out about how I was feeling for the race.
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"He didn't want to put any pressure on me but when I said I wouldn't mind having a crack at winning the race he got rather excited," Gate, who rode for the Creation Signs-L&M Group Ricoh team, said.
Win is just what the 25-year-old from Auckland did.
The yellow jersey bounced around various riders throughout the tour before Gate grabbed a hold of it on second last day of the six-day race on Friday.
His position as a tour contender had been set up by some hard graft on the Bluff Hill and Coronet Peak stages previous to that.
Gate went into the final two stages on Saturday with the yellow jersey and didn't let it slip.
He finished ninth in the time trial around Winton which was won by Michael Vink.
Gate then was close enough to final stage winner Alex Frame in the trip into Invercargill to make certain of the win.
Gate is better known for his deeds on the track which included a bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012. He is also a former world omnium champion.
A SBS Tour of Southland victory still rated highly for Gate.
"It's awesome, I've been coming [to Invercargill] since I was a young fella for the velodrome. It is my third attempt at the Tour of Southland, my first year I was actually walking up Bluff Hill so to come and win the race is special."
There will be little rest for Gate with his next assignment the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne starting on December 7.
"It is just around the corner so a few breather days and then crack into a bit of track training and give that a nudge over in Aussie."
In the other jersey honours Australian Ayden Toovey won the under 23 title, Southland's Nick Kergozou kept a hold of the sprint ace jersey and Tim Rush was the king of the mountain.
Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel won the teams classification, while Fraser Hewitt was the leading over 35 rider.
Olympic rower Hamish Bond finished an impressive eighth overall while in his final race before retiring Hayden Roulston finished fourth.
Gordon McCauley made history completing his 23rd Tour of Southland which is the most in the history of the race.
The 44-year-old said it was his last Tour but he expected to be back in some sort of official role.
Finals stage - Winton - Browns - Myross Bush - Invercargill
1. Alex Frame (KAP) 1h30m48s; 2. Travis McCabe (USA) (KAP) ST; 3. Ethan Batt (TSR) ST; 4. Thery Schir (SUI) (CST) ST; 5. Nick Kergozou (BSB) ST; 6. Hayden Strong (BSS) ST; 7. Ayden Toovey (AUS) (TIN) ST; 8. Roman Van Uden (PNL) ST; 9. Morgan Smith (BSB) ST; 10. Alex West (TSR) ST; 11. Sjoerd Kouwenhoven (NED) (PNL) ST; 12. Jake Marryatt (ACA) ST; 13. Nick Miller (BSB) ST; 14. Michael Vink (MGH) ST; 15. Grayson Keppler (USA) (CDC) ST; 16. Hayden Roulston (PMK) ST; 17. Ryan Christensen (ORF) ST; 18. Aaron Gate (CLM) ST; 19. Drew Morey (AUS) (BSB) ST; 20. James Fouche (CLM) ST; 21. Ollie Jones (OPC) ST; 22. Glenn Mathiske (AUS) (TIN) ST; 23. Brett Grieve (ITM) ST; 24. Cyrill Kunz (SUI) (OPC) ST; 25. Dylan Kennett (ACA) ST.
1. Aaron Gate (CLM) 20h47m49s; 2. Michael Vink (MGH) at 02m40s; 3. Sjoerd Kouwenhoven (NED) (PNL) at 03m21s; 4. Hayden Roulston (PMK) at 05m18s; 5. Ayden Toovey (AUS) (TIN) at 05m21s; 6. Michael Torckler (VWD) at 05m44s; 7. Alex Frame (KAP) at 05m49s; 8. Hamish Bond (VWD) at 06m52s; 9. Steven Lampier (GBR) (KAP) at 07m04s; 10. Drew Morey (AUS) (BSB) at 07m49s; 11. Ryan Christensen (ORF) at 08m40s; 12. Matt Zenovich (PNL) at 08m57s; 13. Taylor Gunman (KAP) at 10m12s; 14. Travis McCabe (USA) (KAP) at 10m40s; 15. Alex West (TSR) at 12m48s; 16. Jake Marryatt (ACA) at 15m00s; 17. Liam Aitcheson (CBW) at 16m57s; 18. Thery Schir (SUI) (CST) at 18m20s; 19. Ollie Jones (OPC) at 19m52s; 20. Jasper Hamelink (NED) (CST) at 20m45s; 21. Brendan Cole (AUS) (TIN) at 21m33s; 22. Ben Johnstone (MGH) at 21m57s; 23. Lukas Ruegg (SUI) (CST) at 22m20s; 24. Nick Kergozou (BSB) at 23m39s; 25. Tom Sexton (PMK) at 24m16s.
1. Kia Motors - Ascot Park Hotel 62h43m26s; 2. PowerNet at 02m41s; 3. Barry Stewart Builders at 13m37s; 4. Mike Greer Homes at 16m21s; 5. Vantage Windows & Doors at 21m26s; 6. Placemakers at 29m20s; 7. Creation Signs - L&M Group Ricoh at 30m22s; 8. Calder Stewart at 35m25s; 9. Team Skoda Racing at 42m41s; 10. Olivers Real Food Racing at 44m00s.
1. Nick Kergozou (BSB) 53; 2. Aaron Gate (CLM) 37; 3. Liam Magennis (AUS) (TIN) 31; 4. James Fouche (CLM) 14; 5. Sam Phipps (TSR) 13; 6. Morgan Smith (BSB) 12; 7. James Williamson (CLM) 12; 8. Michael Vink (MGH) 11; 9. Ryan Christensen (ORF) 11; 10. Hayden Roulston (PMK) 10.
King of Mountains
1. Tim Rush (MGH) 26; 2. Ollie Jones (OPC) 20; 3. Steven Lampier (GBR) (KAP) 19; 4. Aaron Gate (CLM) 17; 5. Michael Vink (MGH) 13; 6. Liam Magennis (AUS) (TIN) 11; 7. Hayden Roulston (PMK) 11; 8. Brendan Cole (AUS) (TIN) 11; 9. Sam Cox (AUS) (TIN) 11; 10. Michael Torckler (VWD) 10.