Cycling: King of Mountain title all but his

Dunedin cyclist Joe Chapman (30) retained the King of the Mountain polka dot jersey in the Tour...
Dunedin cyclist Joe Chapman (30) retained the King of the Mountain polka dot jersey in the Tour of Southland yesterday. Photo by Marjorie Cook.

The Tour of Southland's King of the Mountain jersey appears destined for the wardrobe of Dunedin cyclist Joe Chapman, after he won three hill victories in a row yesterday during the fifth, 179km stage from Te Anau to the Crown Range.

Chapman (30) told the Otago Daily Times yesterday his Creation Signs-L&M Group Racing team had worked hard since Monday so he could keep the jersey and it seemed a "pretty solid" bet that would now happen.

"Our goal is keeping the jersey. I believe we have wrapped it up pretty well," Chapman said.

Chapman is the reigning Otago road champion and a veteran of eight Southland tours. He won the King of the Mountain jersey in 2006.

His team-mates made a quick change of plan on Monday when they realised their captain could win one of just three tour jerseys.

"I was going to be more like a mentor, to help them understand the racing and let them see how to prepare off the bike for stage racing . . . but it just so happened on Monday I got the break. But it has been great for everyone to learn from it.

Everyone has a goal and a job to do," Chapman said.

Winning mountain points was about knowing the course, planning ahead and playing a tactical game, Chapman said.

"You don't have to be the best climber but you have to know where to get the points and how to get them. Most of the climbs on the road are power climbs and that suits me," he said.

While the team is not focusing on general classification points, Chapman praised team-mates Brendon Sharratt, of Wanganui, and Aaron Gates, of Auckland, who went with him in an early breakaway yesterday.

"It was pretty amazing for our team plan to work out like that.

Brendon was the last man standing and caught with about 1km to go," Chapman said.

Chapman began riding when he was 13 to get fit for rugby but quickly realised his overseas travel prospects were better if he kept cycling.

He represented New Zealand at age group level, has won several national medals and has competed in tours in Malaysia, Brazil and Australia.

He studied at Otago Boys High School and Lincoln College and now works as a property valuer.

Chapman is married to Chantelle, a nurse, and they have a son Oscar (2).

Chapman's father Tony and brother Anthony are also accomplished cyclists.

Anthony, a physiotherapist, won the Tour of Southland King of the Mountain title in 2005. He is returning from injury and not competing this year.

 

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