Southlander Tom Sexton will get first use of the SBS Bank Tour of Southland’s yellow jersey after leading home today’s prologue team time trial in Invercargill.
The New Zealand endurance track representative guided his Business South team to victory in blustery conditions for the 4.2km circuit around Queens Park.
The result was something of a surprise, with defending champion Michael Vink’s Transport Engineering Southland-Talley’s team trailing in second place by more than 3sec.
Business South is a local composite sponsor representing more than 20 small local businesses.
“Our goal was to finish top five, but we managed to put together a really smooth performance,” Sexton said.
“We’ve got some strong pursuiters in our team and we just rode it like a team pursuit.”
The 64th edition of New Zealand’s most prestigious stage race gets underway proper tomorrow with a 151km stage from Invercargill to Gore.
The Gore stage has traditionally featured at the end of the week and has proved pivotal in recent years.
Tour officials have also made the decision not to include a gravel finish to Wednesday’s stage from Mossburn to Queenstown.
Officials judged the gravel was too dangerous to ride after inspecting it this week and have opted to shorten the climb from 11km to 6km, although the 600m ascent will still provide the riders with a stern challenge.
Unconfirmed podium results: Business South 4.51:97, 1; Transport Engineering Southland-Talley’s 4.55:26, 2; Base Solutions Racing 4.57.07, 3.