8 Nov 2014

Aussie wins Tour of Southland

5:11 pm on 8 November 2014

Mitchell Lovelock-Fay has won cycling's Tour of Southland, becoming the first Australian rider in 50 years to win the gruelling annual southern race.

Mitchell Lovelock-Fay

Mitchell Lovelock-Fay Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Lovelock-Fay was 17th on the final stage from Winton to Invercargill, but still clinched the Tour by 41 seconds from the 2013 national time trial champion Joe Cooper.

Lovelock-Fay increased his overall lead to that 41-second margin heading into the afternoon's final stage, after finishing second on the morning time trial to Cooper.

Cooper's big 21-second triumph in that stage moved him up to second behind Lovelock-Fay, while another local, Michael Torckler, saw his four-second gap to Lovelock-Fay at the start of the day blow out to 58 seconds after the time trial, Torckler dipping down to fourth place - which is where he finished.

Torckler wasn't done yet, getting into a break on the final stage and clocking up a lead of almost a minute. But he blew out as Lovelock-Fay's Avanti team worked hard to haul the break back in.

Then the Australian stayed out of trouble in the peleton, finishing safely to claim the overall title by that same 41-second margin from Cooper. His Avanti team won the Teams classification too.

Hayden McCormack was third, 43 seconds behind, and also won the under-23 title.

Brad Evans won the final stage. Thomas Stewart won the King of the Mountains title, Matthew Zenovich won the Sprint crown.