Ben Hill Wins 2014 Tour of Southland Stage 1 From Breakaway

Blustery and cold conditions greeted the riders as Stage 1 the 2014 SBS Bank Tour of Southland got underway from SIT Zero Fees Velodrome in Invercargill this morning. Several attacks in the early kilometres were unable to get away from the peloton.? Approximately 25kms into the stage, a break of three riders (Keiran Hambrook – Kia Motors – Ascot Park Hotel, Luke Macpherson – H&J Smith Outdoor and Ben Hill – McCallums Group) managed to get clear and began working to build their advantage. They were joined by three additional riders (Jacob Grieve – Pure South, Justin Stott – Placemakers and Thomas Stewart – Team Cromwell), and the six together opened a maximum advantage of 3 minutes 30 seconds. The peloton had been split by crosswinds but, with 50kms to go, they started to reel the breakaway back. The break was soon strengthened when 2012 Tour winner Mike Northey (Kia Motors ? Ascot Park Hotel) bridged the gap and soon took more time from the remnants of the peloton. A chase effort from many teams brought them back in touching distance of the break at 20km to go. With the turn towards Gore the leaders, Northey, Stewart and Hill picked up a strong tailwind and left the peloton behind. Under 23 Henderson Construction jersey holder Hayden McCormick (Breads of Europe ? All About Plumbing) joined the leaders and together the four ere never caught. Hill would jump from the quartet with 150 metres to go and claimed the stage win. Keiran Hambrook (Kia Motors ? Ascot Park Hotel) worked hard to take many of the sprint points and collected the Harcourts Sprint Ace green jersey at the end of the stage. Luke Macpherson (H&J Smiths Outdoor World) took out the Waimumu Hill climb, looking to set himself up with Jesco Hydraulics KOM, before Thomas Stewart (Team Cromwell) came back to take maximum points from the remaining climbs. Macpherson?s work got him the Southland Times Most Combatitive Rider. Justin Stott (Placemakers) would take the Stonewood Homes O40 Silver Jersey. 2014 Tour of Southland: Stage 1 Results Images copyright?James Jubb Envious Photography

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