Well we’ve made it half way through the tour and have set up camp lakeside in Te Anau. It’s been a pretty exciting couple of days since the last blog entry partly due to terrible weather and capped off today with a team stage win.
Stage 2 recap - Invercargill - Bluff
Bluff hill was a disappointment for us all. We put a man in the break and I got a very easy ride all the way to the hill but the cold wet conditions got the better of me and all I could manage was a 5th place.
I hit the hill in a good position but couldn’t get any traction on the hill so was forced to ride in the saddle the whole way up the 18% hill. I was down about 40rpm and just couldn’t produce any power and watched them all ride off in front of me, I think I hit a max of about 160 beats per minute and went home empty handed after losing the under 23 jersey on a day that I had thought I was going to take yellow.
Honestly, I was a bit devo about coming back to NZ after a good season and not being able to win up a steep hill.
Not only did I not win though but there were sprinters and other big rigs riding rings around me. I use to think a lot of people who race over in Europe or the states or whatever come here for some fun at the end of the year but it turns out most people are stomping, most of them better than they have all year and well –I’m down on struggle street a few days away from a month off the bike I feel like I should get in on the action but maybe I should of thought about that 6 weeks ago!
Stage 3 and winning with Alex on Stage 4 to Te Anau
Anyway our fortunes changed today! The boys rode out of their skin on both parts of the double stage day with the big one over Black Mount to Te Anau earning Alex Meenhorst a win.
We had Joe Lewis in the early break and then we lit it up over the hill and I got myself in a good move ahead of Roulston.
His team pulled us back and the day’s early move came back with us. After that we just started opening up in the final 30 kilometres and a group of 5 slipped up the road with Kieran Hambrook and Alex Meenhorst from our team in the mix. They dominated the last kilometer with Alex taking out the stage thanks to Hambrooks handy support.
We’ve just had a few glasses of red, cracked a bottle of champagne and may head down to check out the thriving metropolis of Te Anau now.
Ok, crown range 2mo,
Till the next entry,
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George Bennett is a New Zealand rider with a big future. An impressive year riding with American development team Trek-Livestrong has set the 21-year-old up on the brink of a professional future.
Back in New Zealand for the Tour of Southland, Bennett is blogging for Cyclingnews as he aims to complete a rare antipodean double, having earlier in the year taken out the Tour of Wellington.
Follow his journey as he describes the ups-and-downs of the unheralded, but leg-crunching Tour of Southland; the unofficial "fourth Grand Tour".