New Plymouth cyclist Michael Torckler didn't have the best of finishes in the Tour of Southland but he's happy to have completed the gruelling week-long event.
"It was a tough one for sure - a bit rugged," said the 25-year-old yesterday having finished 60th on the tour's individual standings.
"I was a bit crook for the last couple of days, a bit of the flu . . . not a lot of fun. It didn't help racing through hail and sleet on the last day. We had a 13km time trial in the morning and I got a good bucket of hail on me. It was freezing."
For Torckler, it was his first real test since a hit-and-run accident while out training in the United States four months ago threatened to end his cycling career.
He was left hospitalised with multiple facial fractures and a broken hand.
"I'm just pleased to have finished the tour. Overall I'm pretty happy. A couple of days I rode well. I spent a bit of time at the front of the peleton, that was hard work, and my climbing was good. I struggled a bit on the flats with the crosswinds, but that's me. I'm not fully fit," he said.
"My team [Bissell Pro Cycling] went well. We won three stages and had the leader's yellow jersey for three days."
The Bissell team was second for most of the tour, but faded to finish seventh. Torckler's team-mate Carter Jones, from Boulder in the United States, led the tour heading into the final stage - an 80km ride from Winton to Invercargill.
"Our team wasn't strong overall. We'd lost Patrick Bevan [who finished second last year] with the flu during the week. Carter had been going well, but he was pretty much outnumbered on the last day. We didn't have enough team-mates around him going well."
Jones finished fifth overall.
Torckler said he had enjoyed a few days off since returning home earlier this week.
"I've been taking it easy but will be back on the bike soon," he said, adding his next event was the 180km Round Taupo on November 24. "That's a big one for me. I won it last year and have done it a few times.
"Ultimately, my goal is the nationals in Christchurch in January . . . the 180km road race.
"It's a pretty brutal course, it suits me. There's lots of climbs. It's a 15km circuit and there's a climb of about 1.5km on each lap."
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