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Tour of Southland Stage 4 Wrap Up + Results

Nov 02, 2017
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Canadian James Piccoli has been one of the biggest contributors on this year’s SBS Bank Tour of Southland and he was finally rewarded with a stage win on the iconic Bluff Hill yesterday.

Piccoli (Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel) has been prominent this week, including a second placing on Coronet Peak on Wednesday, and he started stage four from Invercargill to Bluff trailing tour leader Michael Torckler (Blindz Direct) by 44sec.

James Piccoli of Kia Motors Ascot Park Hotel after winning the SBS Bank Tour of Southland 2017 stage 4 to Bluff, New Zealand

He found himself in a two man breakaway with Matt Ross (PowerNet) as the race rolled its way around the picturesque Glenham hills, but the decisive move would come on Motu Pohue.

“The breakaway was a bit of a gamble. We were hoping to draw a few other guys across. It turned out it didn’t work, so we reshuffled the cards and waited for the last climb,” he said.

Ross was left to carry on alone, but found support in Josh Kuysten (Blindz Direct) and Southland’s Matt Zenovich (Mike Greer Homes).

Zenovich briefly provided some hope for his second Southland stage victory, but the climb became a battle of the tour contenders, with Torckler, Piccoli and Michael Vink (Mike Greer Homes) all buying tickets.

Piccoli edged Torckler by 8sec to cut the New Plymouth rider’s overall lead to 32sec with three stages remaining.

Lionel Mawditt (Team Skoda Racing) was third across the line, with Vink fourth and third overall, trailing Torckler by 1min 13sec.

“It’s probably the steepest hill I’ve ever raced up so it definitely lives up to its reputation,” Piccoli said.

“We did it the day before the race in training so we knew what to expect. It’s an unbelievable hill and it was a great day. (This) is an awesome event – super well run, super coverage and we are super happy to be here. Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel have been doing a pretty good job of animating the race and participating.”

Piccoli now looms as the strongest challenger to Torckler. While a lot of good overseas riders have taken part in New Zealand’s most prestigious stage race, only three have ever won it.

“It will still be interesting the last couple of days,” Piccoli said.

“I’ve heard that this race can be lost at any moment with cross winds and the weather so we are going to keep the pressure on and hopefully make the race exciting.”

Torckler was a relieved bike rider after defending the yellow jersey on the same stage where his tour ambitions evaporated last year.

“The boys rode unreal, kept me out of the wind the whole stage and set me up beautifully at the bottom of the climb again,” he said.

Tomorrow’s 151km stage from Invercargill to Gore presents a new set of challenges, with crosswinds and testing climbs on the menu.

“It could be a real nasty day, we’ll be watching very closely to what’s going up the road, who is being aggressive and I’ll be sticking close to my boys,” Torckler said.

However, the Blindz Direct team were enjoying having the yellow jersey to defend, he said.

“They are thriving on it. It was pretty cool to have Josh Kuysten up the road too, that was a nice little treat for him. They are pretty pumped to be getting their time on the camera.”

Alexandra’s James Williamson (Creation Signs L&M Mining Group Ricoh) continues to lead the Sprint Ace classification, with teammate Ben Barry taking over the King of the Mountains standings.

Alex West (Team Skoda Racing) retained the under 23 lead, while Paul Odlin (PowerNet) claimed back the over 35s Silver jersey.

Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel lead the teams classification, while Matt Ross (PowerNet) took Most Combative honours from stage four.

SBS Tour of Southland Results from the 5th stage of the SBS Tour of Southland.

Invercargill – Edendale – Tisbury – Bluff

  1. James Piccoli (KAP) 3h25m40s
  2. Michael Torckler (BZD) at 08s
  3. Lionel Mawditt (TSR) at 19s
  4. Michael Vink (MGH) at 24s
  5. Raphael Freienstein (AVE) at 28s
  6. Boris Clark (CST) at 34s
  7. James Fouche (CLM) at 41s
  8. Alex West (TSR) at 41s
  9. Mike Cuming (AVE) at 41s
  10. Ryan Christensen (KAP) at 50s
  11. Brad Evans (PNL) at 50s
  12. Sam Mobberley (ITM) at 54s
  13. Paul Odlin (PNL) at 01m03s
  14. 14. John Wansink (ACA) at 01m15s
  15. Taylor Gunman (KAP) at 01m17s
  16. Campbell Pithie (ITM) at 01m23s
  17. Jake Marryatt (CST) at 01m23s
  18. Ben Andrews (AVE) at 01m23s
  19. Carne Groube (CBW) at 01m23s
  20. Joseph Swale (CBW) at 01m23s
  21. Kane Richards (ITM) at 01m37s
  22. Ben Robertson (TPS) at 01m46s
  23. Richard Randall (GLS) at 01m46s
  24. Andy Hagan (WWS) at 02m00s
  25. Florian Barket (TSR) at 02m01s;

Overall Standings

  1. Michael Torckler (BZD) 15h05m17s
  2. James Piccoli (KAP) at 32s
  3. Michael Vink (MGH) at 01m13s
  4. Raphael Freienstein (AVE) at 02m21s
  5. Mike Cuming (AVE) at 03m03s
  6. Alex West (TSR) at 03m21s
  7. Taylor Gunman (KAP) at 03m42s
  8. Ryan Christensen (KAP) at 03m49s
  9. Sam Mobberley (ITM) at 04m04s
  10. Brad Evans (PNL) at 04m25s
  11. Jake Marryatt (CST) at 04m43s
  12. James Fouche (CLM) at 04m56s
  13. Boris Clark (CST) at 05m30s
  14. Kane Richards (ITM) at 05m32s
  15. Ben Andrews (AVE) at 06m31s
  16. Paul Odlin (PNL) at 06m47s
  17. Lionel Mawditt (TSR) at 07m00s
  18. Richard Randall (GLS) at 07m07s
  19. Tim Rush (MGH) at 07m08s
  20. Andy Hagan (WWS) at 07m15s
  21. Roman Van Uden (PNL) at 07m57s
  22. Carne Groube (CBW) at 08m04s
  23. Campbell Pithie (ITM) at 08m47s
  24. Nick Kergozou (PMK) at 08m57s John Wansink (ACA) at 09m45s;

Team Overall

  1. Kia Motors – Ascot Park Hotel 45h24m24s
  2. Aardvark Excavators Ltd at 03m22s
  3. Powernet at 07m41s
  4. Team Skoda Racing at 09m55s
  5. ITM at 09m56s
  6. Mike Greer Homes at 10m22s
  7. Calder Stewart at 15m25s
  8. Blindz Direct at 19m10s
  9. Wheelworks Handcrafted Wheels at 22m02s
  10. Giant Lakeside at 23m48s

Sprints

  1. James Williamson (CLM) 27
  2. Alexander Ray (WWS) 21
  3. Paul Wright (CBW) 18
  4. Callum Gordon (BSS) 13
  5. Mathew Zenovich (MGH) 11
  6. Andy Hagan (WWS) 9
  7. Josh Kuysten (BZD) 9
  8. Logan Griffin (TGB) 9
  9. Raphael Freienstein (AVE) 9
  10. Matt Ross (PNL) 9

King of Mountains

  1. Ben Barry (CLM) 26
  2. Callum Gordon (BSS) 23
  3. James Piccoli (KAP) 22
  4. Michael Torckler (BZD) 16
  5. Logan Griffin (TGB) 14
  6. Andy Hagan (WWS) 10
  7. Eric Marcotte (KAP) 10
  8. Brendan Cole (ITM) 8
  9. Joshua Scott (CLM) 8
  10. Florian Barket (TSR) 8
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