Michael Northey crosses the finish line to win the 2012
Tour of Southland. (Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images)
Auckland cyclist Mike Northey won the Tour of Southland
in dramatic circumstances after overturning a 17-second deficit
on the final stage from Winton to Invercargill.
Northey trailed leader American Carter Jones (Bissell Pro
Cycling) after this morning's individual time trial in Winton
but the tour's defining moves were made in the final stage.
Led by Calder Stewart's Hayden Roulston and Michael Vink, a
break was made early and Northey and his Node 4-Subaru
teammates made sure it was one they weren't going to miss.
"It was dangerous but, in hindsight, it worked well for us,"
Northey said. "I knew it was going to be the winning move and
my teammate managed to jump me across to the break and that
was it, we were away from there. It was pretty awesome and a
good feeling to come in knowing I'd taken the title. I still
can't believe I've won.
"This is the biggest tour I've won. It's my eighth time here
and I never thought I would win it."
Northey, 25, climbed his way into the yellow jersey early in
the tour, winning Tuesday's stage finish at Bluff Hill and
maintaining his hold on the lead throughout the two stages on
Wednesday. Jones took the lead after Thursday's stage to the
top of the Crown Range and maintained a slender four-second
lead going into the final day.
He increased it to 17 seconds after this morning's time trial
but finished more than three minutes behind the leaders on
the final stage to drop to fifth overall.
Today's final stage, raced in cold and wet weather, was
reduced from 87km to 79km but there was more than enough road
for the breakaway of five riders. Roulston took the stage win
from Vink, and the pair rocketed up the overall standings to
finish the tour second and third respectively.
Vink had earlier won the morning's time trial in Winton and
said, while that had not earned him much in terms of time, it
had added to his confidence.
"We weren't taking anything into the last day, but today we
pretty much took it all, apart from the yellow jersey," Vink
"Today's stage was about riding hard and sorting out the
contenders from the pretenders - and that is exactly what we
did. It was only 80km but we certainly blew the field apart
after a hard week of racing."
Joe Chapman (Creation Signs-L&M Group Racing) won the
King of the Mountains, Sam Witmitz (Share the Road) claimed
the Sprint Ace title and Northey's Node 4-Subaru team also
won the team's classification.