31 Oct 2017

Gunman shoots to front in Tour of Southland

5:04 pm on 31 October 2017

The Auckland rider Taylor Gunman has won the second stage of the Tour of Southland in a sprint finish.

Gunman broke away with 10km left in the 150km second stage from Riverton to Te Anau.

However fellow Aucklander Roman van Uden retains the overall tour leader's yellow jersey with a five second lead after finishing sixth.

He sits ahead of yesterday's stage winner Taranaki rider Michael Torckler with Gunman third.

Gunman's win is a little unusual as he is riding a steel-framed bike designed by his British team Genesis, in a field dominated by ultra-modern carbon bikes.

Taylor Gunman wins the second stage of the Tour of Southland.

Taylor Gunman wins the second stage of the Tour of Southland. Photo: Supplied

"I can tell you what, the Genesis team will be proud. A steel bike win in the modern era is something to be proud of," Gunman said.

"To be honest I was just following wheels, I didn't realise there was a sprint (with 10km remaining). I followed a couple of wheels and had a good head of steam on and just kept rolling.

"Before I knew it the ITM guy joined me, we really had to press on but I was just trying to ride to give our boys a rest. I'm happy about the stage win but the boys got a good ride in as well. It has been a really tough couple of seasons, so let's hope this is the trajectory back up."

"It was an incredibly aggressive start. Everyone was attacking, all the major teams wanted to be in the break, no one wanted to have to work in the head wind today so it took a very long time for the race to settle," Gunman said.

"By the time we got to Tuatapere the race was underway. We played our cards pretty close and kept ourselves represented and we came away with the result."

Roman van Uden chased home for sixth on the stage, good enough to retain the yellow jersey with a 5sec lead over Michael Torckler (Business Direct) with Gunman in third place overall, 7sec in arrears.

The race is now well poised heading into the Queens stage, a 138km journey from Mossburn ending with a brutal climb up to the ski resort of Coronet Peak.

While van Uden doesn't believe his legs will allow him to keep the race lead, team mates Matt Ross and Brad Evans, the 2015 champion, are well placed to take the advantage.

"This is the big one, we've seen some big time gaps in the past," van Uden said.

"This is where the race is going to come down because it doesn't look like we are going to get any crosswinds to make time gaps later in the race."