Riders Revel in the Invercargill Sun for Stage One of the Tour of Southland - James Williamson finishes 6th in Stage One

Tour of Southland PureBlack Racing

Monday 29th October: The blustery conditions that have in previous years blown the peloton to pieces did not eventuate in today’s stage, with Stage One of the Tour of Southland a relatively orderly affair for the field.

PureBlack Racing rode a strong stage setting up James “Jimmy” Williamson for the sprint finish.

Jimmy finished in 6th place with Bissell Pro Cycling rider, Patrick Bevin, taking out the stage honors in a bunch sprint.

“It was a pretty uneventful day, we missed the break that would have been good to get on board, but there will be plenty more opportunities to make those moves,” said Jimmy.

The breakaway made its move early on in the stage, with two riders breaking free, who were soon joined by seven chasing riders.

As the time gap stretched out to over six minutes just after the halfway mark, the previously indifferent peloton came to life, with the big teams doing the time on the front to draw in the early leaders.

“We did well, there is no question about it,” said Director Sportif, John “Harry” Harris, “I believe we are one of the fastest teams here and the boys are feeling fresh and played it smart today.”

“We did some helping out in the front,” said Jimmy, “we knew we needed to be organised at the finish and we did really well to stick together in a peloton that was hectic.”

Jimmy was left feeling disappointed with his 6th place finish saying: “We hit the front too early but sometimes we have to otherwise we could end up on the back foot.”

“This was always going to be a hard race to win in those conditions, and with so many sprinters in the pack.”

“I never like just missing out,” said Harry, “But I am a lover and believer of these boys which is why I am always driving them to do better.”

Dion Smith is the team’s top placed rider on GC, in a six-way tie for second place, just 3 seconds off the yellow jersey.  Jimmy sits another two seconds back in 9th, with only five seconds separating the top 10 overall riders.

PureBlack Racing sits in a three-way tie for second place on the Teams GC, a mere 6 seconds off the early pacesetters, PowerNet.

Tomorrow sees the teams race 137km from Invercargill to Bluff, the stage finishing on the top of Bluff Hill.  Bluff Hill is notoriously hard with an average gradient of 12% with sections of the climb reaching 30%.

“Tomorrow it will be important not to lose any time,” said Harry, “We have the riders to execute the strategies in the races.”

New additions Cody Canning and Dan Bonello have proved themselves on the first big stage of the Tour of Southland.

“Cody found things a little difficult to start, but that is expected by someone who has flown halfway around the world to race,” said Harry, “Cody and Dan are two team players, and they are proving their worth early on, and I expect that will only increase over the week.”