Vink wraps up Tour of Southland win

Cantabrian Michael Vink has ridden his way into New Zealand cycling’s history books on the final day of the Tour of Southland.

Michael Vink
Photo: Harry Talbot / Tour of Southland

Vink produced a blistering individual time trial in Winton to secure his third Tour win in four years.

He completed the 13km stage around the central Southland township in a record time of 15min 31sec, the only rider to go under 16min, and smashing Hamish Bond’s record of 15min 51sec set in 2018.

“It was a bit of a personal thing. I feel like I haven’t really had a chance to show my legs this week apart from that first day,” Vink said afterwards.

“I’ve been doing a lot of defensive riding and that’s not normally how I like to ride so I wanted to put on a bit of a show in the time trial.”

With support from his Transport Engineering Southland-Talley’s team, Vink then safely navigated the final 77km stage from Winton to Invercargill – won by Campbell Stewart – to pick up his third Southland win in the past four years.

He now joins an illustrious group including Tino Tabak, Warwick Dalton, Brian Fowler and Hayden Roulston, who have also won New Zealand’s most prestigious stage race three or more times.

“I don’t consider myself to be like any one of those guys,” Vink said.

“I grew up idolising guys like Hayden Roulston and I was lucky enough to ride with him a few times on this tour. Hopefully I can pass on what I’ve learnt the way those guys did.”

Vink’s win was built on a superb solo ride into a head wind on Monday when he left his rivals behind over the final 15km of the race’s longest stage.

“I was in two minds about leading so early because I knew I had the best legs in the race, but I also knew I had a big target on my back. It was difficult to manage but I had to have confidence in myself and the team.”

After losing last year’s race on the final stage, Vink’s winning margin was 3min 42sec from Luke Mudgway, with Logan Currie third overall.

Bolton Equities Black Spoke Pro Cycling finished the week strongly, with Stewart adding a win in the final stage to his victory in the street race and the team’s win in the team time trial.

Teammate Logan Currie produced a strong performance in the individual time trial to overtake Bailey O’Donnell and claim the under-23 classification, while James Fouche was the King of the Mountains.

George Jackson (Creation Signs-MitoQ) was rewarded for a strong week in the saddle with the Sprint Ace jersey, with his teammate Paul Wright the Most Combative Rider on the final stage.

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