Ben Hill Wins Another Stage At Tour of Southland

Sunny and calm conditions greeted the riders again today as they set off from SIT Zero Fees Velodrome for stage five of the SBS Bank Tour of Southland from Invercargill through Western Southland to the finish in Lumsden. The good weather again saw a fast moving peloton unwilling to let a breakaway form early in the stage. The first break to get free after 40km contained a number of General Classification (GC) contenders. A concerted effort from the chasing peloton saw them brought back before another group featuring Mike Northey (Kia Motors – Ascot Park Hotel) Michael Torckler (Barry Stewart Builders) Tom Vessey (H&J Smiths Outdoor World), two-time stage winner Ben Hill (McCallums Group) and three other riders managed to break free after 55km of racing. The time gap would reach a maximum of 2:39 before stabilising, with Torckler (BSB) the leader on the road. Despite the efforts of Team Avanti Racing, the gap remained constant for much of the stage. The turn towards Lumsden from Mossburn didn?t see the traditional tailwind we?ve seen in the past, however the break continued to work hard and with 20km the gap was still 2:05. The breakaway riders were now starting to believe they had a great chance to take the stage win and Torckler the yellow jersey. The peloton, still led by Team Avanti Racing, began to creep ever closer to the breakaway but in the end it was just too late. The GC hopefuls in the break group were happy to continue their work and Ben Hill would sprint clear to take his third victory of this year?s Tour. A tense wait for Torckler as the peloton finished 1:25 behind Hill, just missing out on yellow by four seconds. 24 seconds now separate the top four on the GC, setting up an exciting final day tomorrow with the Winton Time Trial, followed by the Winton to Invercargill Stage finish. Jersey wearers are: Southland District Council Stage winner: Ben Hill (McCallums Group); Southland Times Most Combative: Mike Northey (Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel); Stonewood Homes O40 Silver Jersey: Gordon McCauley (GMC Coaching Hawkins); Jesco Haydraulics King of Mountain: Thomas Stewart (Team Cromwell); Harcourts Sprint Ace: Mathew Zenovich (H&Js Outdoor World); Wensley?s Cycles Team Classification: Avanti Racing Team; SBS Bank Tour leader: Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (Avanti Racing Team). 2014 Tour of Southland: Stage 5 Results Images copyright James Jubb Envious Photography

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