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Queenstown rider Reuben Thompson has climbed his way into the lead at the midway point of the Tour of Southland.
Last week the 19-year-old told the Otago Daily Times he was targeting The Remarkables stage for a win.
And despite spending two weeks in manage isolation during the build-up to the tour, he delivered on that promise with a devastating attack.
The former triathlete powered away from the peloton on the tough 6km climb up The Remarkables at the end of a 109km stage from Mossburn.
The impressive effort means he will start today’s fourth stage from Invercargill to Bluff in the yellow jersey and with a useful 23sec lead in the general classification.
The Vet4Farm rider headed off Ollie Jones, with defending champion Michael Vink in third place on the stage.
"I know every part of this road like the back of my hand and it worked out well," Thompson said.
"I had a plan to attack over the last steep bit to pull out an advantage and that last kilometre was pretty tough."
Thompson has recently returned from racing in Europe and completed quarantine a day before the tour.
Winning in front of friends and family was a great result for the talented rider.
"It’s super special. I’ve been training on this road ever since I can remember.
"This tour used to pass my primary school when I was a kid and they gave me a jersey one year and that’s kind of what got me into cycling. To come back and race this tour and win a stage is super special.”
Paul Wright featured early and took out the Jollies hill climb to strengthen his hold on the King of the Mountain jersey.
A three-man breakaway of Otago’s James Williamson, Liam Cappel and Josh Page had built a two and a-half minute advantage by Kingston.
But they were swallowed up as the peloton approached the intimidating Remarkables mountain range.
Thompson took the opportunity to display his climbing talent and leads second-placed James Oram by 23sec in the overall standings, with Jones at 24sec and Corbin Strong and Vink both at 25sec.
Thompson is also the race’s leading under-23 rider.
Matt Zenovich continues to lead the Sprint Ace classification, while Glenn Haden is the race’s leading over 35 rider and Black Spoke is building an advantage in the team classification.