Roulston abandons Tour of Southland with knee injury

New Zealander's dream of fourth straight win over, looks ahead to 2010 with Columbia

Hayden Roulston's dream of winning his home race, Tour of Southland, ended today with a crash near Invercargill, New Zealand. He abandoned the race, likely his last before switching to Columbia-HTC for the next two seasons.

"I'm gutted really," Roulston (Cervélo) told Roadcycling.co.nz. "I have trained really well for this event."

More than 40 riders crashed midway into the second stage of the nine-stage race. Crosswinds and a narrow bridge passing helped cause the crash about 30 kilometres from the start town of Invercargill.

Race organisers stopped the stage for 25 minutes and allowed the teams to get their riders back in the race. Roulston avoided the big crash, but fell down with another rider while he rode next to the race commissar's car to discuss the neutralisation.

Roulston re-started, but knew something was wrong immediately.

"My knee is really sore and it left me with no alternative," he continued.

Heath Blackgrove (Zookeepers) took over the general classification lead. He finished 13th in the morning's team time trial stage and second in the stage from Invercargill to Bluff Hill.

Roulston won the last three editions of the stage race. He has competed this season for Switzerland-based Cervélo TestTeam, but started the Tour of Southland with team Colourplus. Colourplus won the morning team time trial and Roulston sat second in the overall classification prior to the afternoon stage.

The USA-based team of Bob Stapleton signed Roulston, 28, in September for two years.

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