The 2019 SBS Bank Tour of Southland’s opening road stage has provided a genuine test for the 108-rider field with Australian teenager Jensen Plowright eventually taking stage honours in a select sprint down the main street of Lumsden after a challenging 170km stage, the longest of this year’s race.
Plowright benefited from a strong performance which saw all six of the Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel team make it into the major break of the day after the peloton was ravaged by crosswinds after travelling through the coal towns of Ohai and Nightcaps.
“At the start of the stage our team were just following the moves, making sure the bunch stayed together,” Plowright said.
“We were looking to Placemakers to do a lot of chasing because they were in yellow, and then probably 100km in the crosswinds hit, which we weren’t really expecting. I’m 80kg, so I don’t move very easily and they were blowing me around.”
The wind resulted in a long trail of riders making their way across the finish line, with several crashes keeping medical staff busy.
Plowright is back for a second Southland tour after debuting as an 18-year-old last year.
He’s spent the past 12 months racing in Thailand and Europe with the Drapac-Cannondale Holistic Development Team, and was looking forward to testing his newfound experience and strength in Southland.
That includes tomorrow’s 148km stage from Riverton to Te Anau, a beat which includes the exacting Blackmount hill climb and another forecast dose of gusty Southland spring wind.
“Hopefully there will be crosswinds coming off the coast so we can make an echelon and rip them a new one,” Plowright said.
“I’m pretty keen for (the Blackmount), it divides the men from the boys, hopefully it hurts the sprinters a little bit.”
Petrotec-Blackmax’s Ioan Fuller, from Nelson, and Support Clean Sport’s Brendan Housler, from the United States, formed an early two-man breakaway.
The combination shared the spoils on the road, with Fuller taking over the King of the Mountains jersey and Housler claiming the Sprint Ace classification and the Most Combative jersey.
PowerNet’s Paul Odlin is the race’s leading over 35 rider, and it will be tough to take the silver jersey off his back, while Placemakers traded the yellow jersey for the team classification.
Tomorrow’s stage started from Riverton at 10am and is expected to finish on the Te Anau lakefront at approximately 1.55pm.
The 2019 SBS Bank Tour of Southland continues until November 9.
Stage 1 results:
|1||Jensen PLOWRIGHT Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel||4:16:55 (39.70 km/h)|
|2||Campbell STEWART Base Solutions Racing-WCNI||ST|
|3||Nick KERGOZOU Coupland’s Bakeries||ST|
|4||Corbin STRONG Team Skoda Fruzio||ST|
|5||Ben OLIVER Central Benchmakers-Willbike||ST|
|6||Robbie HUCKER Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel||ST|
|7||Hamish SCHRUERS Powernet||ST|
|8||Antonie VAN NOPPEN Powernet||ST|
|9||Michael VINK Placemakers||ST|
|10||Eder FRAYRE Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel||ST|