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Bevin takes stage and Atkins wins the tour
Nov 5th, 11. Patrick Bevin (Ascot Park) finished the tour with a stage winning flourish to take his place as 2nd rider overall behind the PowerNet Tour of Southland's 2011 champion Josh Atkins (PowerNet).
While Bevin won the stage, Atkins was the day's big champion.
"I'm very stoked to pull it off for the team. They rode incredibly," Atkins said. "I've won the tour but I wouldn't have done it without Shane, Myron, Cam, Alex and Tom Scully. It was all their work that brought me to the line in yellow."
After the morning's time trial stage was cancelled due to snow, the afternoon final stage from Winton to Invercargill was shortened but it was still an exciting end to a fantastic tour.
19 year old Atkins started the stage with just over a 1min buffer on three riders - Tim Gudsell (PureBlack Racing), Bevin and Chris Macic (Share the Road).
It was Macic who lit up the stage as he stole off the front of the peloton just 15min after the stage began. With Bevin's teammate Clinton Avery on his wheel he bridged to a small group of, until then, non threatening GC riders.
With 20km to go George Bennett (Kia Motors), Macic, Avery and Glen Chadwick (PureBlack Racing) had a 19sec lead over a 22 rider chase bunch which included Atkins, Bevin, Gudsell and KOM Joe Chapman (Creation Signs L&M Group).
The two front groups then came together and it was Jeremy Vennell (Calder Stewart) who attacked, but he was soon brought back. Vennell's teammate Jason Allen tried his chance and stole off the front with PureBlack Racing's Chadwick.
Over the final 10km, PowerNet and then Atkins himself sat at the head of the chasers and hauled the group back up and into the final corner where Calder Stewart had Allen leading out Marc Ryan, but it was Bevin who took the best line and powered ahead to the finish line.
His winner's bonus points moved him ahead of Gudsell, who was also in the select sprint finish, to end the tour as the 2nd placed rider.
"It's just awesome," said Bevin, who has been impressive all tour. "I've had a great week and the Ascot Park boys have been awesome. Clinton looked after me. He's the biggest, nicest wind break you could ever have and he's looked after me all tour. I've barely put a pedal in the wind until it really counted and I've made sure each time I've have I've done the best I could."
A few seconds after Bevin, Atkins crossed the line flanked by two of his incredibly strong PowerNet teammates - Myron Simpson and Shane Archbold - as the youngest rider to win the PowerNet Tour of Southland!
While it was Atkins' climbing ability which got him into position to contend for the leader's jersey, it was his PowerNet teammates' work on the front of the peloton which kept it.
After spending 57km of the tour in breakaways, Gordon McCauley (Barry Stewart Builders-Gordon McCauley Coaching) was crowned the overall Sprint Champion.
Joe Chapman's jersey, helmet, bike and Creation Signs - L&M Group Racing team car were covered in red dots today and not only did he retain his King of the Mountains title, he also sprinted to 2nd place.
Atkins was the U23 champion with Tom Scully (PowerNet) the first Southlander on General Classification. The Team's Classification, determined by the team with the best combined time of three riders, was PureBlack Racing.
PowerNet Tour of Southland - Sun Oct 30th to Sat Nov 5th
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