Mike Henton put in an incredibly gutsy effort on stage 1 of the Tour of Southland with the New Zealander re-breaking his collarbone on the run in to Lumsden but continuing on to finish the stage.
Whilst that may not be so unusual in itself, the break was in fact the second that Henton had suffered in three weeks. He started the Tour with dull pain from the residual injury, and when he crashed initially thought that he had been lucky enough to not re-injure himself.
"I had a bit of a silly crash in the crosswinds there and I landed just square on the shoulder - exactly what I didn’t want to happen," he said. "I broke it three weeks ago during the Tour of Tasmania. It was healing quite well, I still had a little bit of pain [this week and last week] but it was fairly solid."
"But it was really bizzare. I jumped back up [after the crash] and the shoulder felt perfect, like there was nothing wrong with it. I was up out of the saddle and everything," he said.
"As I started off I thought ‘there’s no pain there so maybe something’s happened to fix it?’. Then about 5 kilometres later reason started to kick in and I thought `hang on, there’s something seriously wrong’."
Henton completed the stage for his Ascot Park Hotel team before heading to Southland Hospital for x-rays.
"They revealed I was about three or four millimetres away from having the bone come through the skin," he said.
Henton is facing surgery later this week, however it’s not enough to deter him from remaining on Tour in a support capacity.
"I want to have the operation down here so I can stay and support the guys and do what I can for the team."
Henton first rode the iconic Tour three years ago and it is now the highlight on his racing calendar. For his Tour to end the way it did is a frustration, but something the New Zealander concedes is just a part of racing.
"I’ve trained all year for this and it’s my main race for the year so it is hard to end up in this situation but that’s racing. The most frustrating thing is I rarely crash and now I’ve crashed twice in the last three weeks! It’s a little bit annoying."
The Powernet Tour of Southland continues on Wednesday with a short stage from Riverton to Tuatapere.
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