Defending champion Michael Vink will take a handy lead into the final stage of the 2019 SBS Bank Tour of Southland.
Vink (Placemakers) has finished third in the penultimate stage, a 13km individual time trial based at Winton, with stage honours going to newly promoted New Zealand endurance track rider Dylan Kennett.
Vink leads the race by 2min 30sec from PowerNet’s Alex Heaney, with Hamish Schreurs at 4min 11sec.
Heavy rain before the stage gave way to relatively calm conditions for the field throughout the time trial.
Kennett (Placemakers) completed the circuit in 16min 17sec, nearly half a minute ahead of second placed Glenn Haden (Coupland’s Bakeries), with Vink a further 4sec behind.
“You had to be quite mature about your pacing and watts out there today, although the conditions were better than last year,” Kennett, who claimed the Tom Tindale trophy, said.
Vink is vying to become the first rider in more than a decade to successfully defend the Tour of Southland title.
Hayden Roulston was the last rider to achieve the feat, winning three straight titles between 2006 and 2008.
PowerNet have locked in the team classification, Southland’s Tom Sexton (Business South) will claim the Sprint Ace category and Ollie Jones (PowerNet) should take the King of the Mountain classification.
Team Skoda Fruzio’s Reuben Thompson holds a 44sec lead over Kees Duyveston (Creation Signs-Ronald McDonald House-Ricoh) in the under 23 classification.
Paul Odlin (PowerNet) holds a narrow 27sec lead over Haden in the race for the over 35 Silver jersey.
This afternoon’s seventh and final stage gets underway at 1.30pm, a 77km stage from Winton to Invercargill, finishing at Gala St at about 3pm.