Taylor Gunman is one of New Zealand’s classic tough guys in the sport, a man who has a great ability to push through the pain barrier and that ability came to the fore in stage 2 of the SBS Bank Tour of Southland where he emerged victorious and moved up to 3rd overall behind Roman van Uden and Michael Torckler.
It’s not been an easy year for Taylor Gunman, with the Madison Genesis pro working through physical and mental battles that commonly plague cyclists. After a good summer in Wellington Taylor went to Europe but his early season was blighted with a hideous crash in his first race. “When I got to the showers afterwards my under shirt looked like it had survived a shark attack and I’d split my hip,” Taylor told RoadCycling. “Damaged all the nerve endings in it and pretty much had a numb hip for four months.”
That was where the challenge began as from there he had to rebuild physically but also psychologically to get back into the right head space in Europe. Thankfully in a team like Madison Genesis – with whom Gunman will be riding in 2018 – he was certainly not short of great support; particularly from friend and Director Mike Northey. “A team like Madison’s been really supportive, and Mike being the Director was quite handy,” Gunman said. “He was very professional being the Director one day and the next day he was also my best mate so he was able to light a fire cracker under my ass as it were; and he turned around and told me I wasn’t even making the cut for Tour of Britain at one stage.”
“That’s our whole team’s goal, so that was enough to motivate me to put the work in and then you get a race like Tour of Britain in your legs I think that definitely changes you and I think that’s showing with the end-of-race fatigue.”
It looks like the battles fought over on the continent have more than paid dividends so far in Taylor’s time in New Zealand and I wouldn’t be surprised to see plenty more to come in the coming days. Stay tuned for more from Gunman and KIA Motors – Ascot Park Hotel as they hunt the yellow jersey!