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Southern Alps Tour 10th -14th November 2016

Deep South Tour – Day 3

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Today was another big day, Invercargill to Te Anau, via Tuatapere with a sprint, a KOM and a Team Time Trial to make the day interesting. Today’s trip took us on one of the Tour of Southland stages following the southernmost coast of the South Island, the wind can be pretty brutal this far south, you only have to look at the trees to see that they all lean from the southerly wind.  While it was fairly windy today I don’t think we experienced proper Southland weather.

Early roll out today with a neutral stage through to Riverton before embarking on the first open stage of the day. No dramas on this stage, I think everyone was reserving themselves for the team time trial later in the day, the wind also seemed to keep things pretty honest with most of the riders chosing to stick together as much as possible except for a ridiculous breakaway by a certain Daniel McDonald, luckily his team mates were smart enough to reel him in before he did too much damage to himself!

Lunch at Tuatapere was a welcome sight, the warm fire attracted a fair bit of attention but the smiles really came out when we headed back down the road with a tailwind behind us! There’s a good side to the wind from earlier as we headed north towards Te Anau, with sprint points up for grabs the pace was on in all the grades. Richard Ussher took the points in A grade, by 0.3 of a second or something equally miniscule, B grade points went to Matt Carter, C grade mens winner was Bill Manning and in the ladies Jo Donaldson took the points again. After the sprint the road meandered around a bit before heading to Blackmount Hill for the KOM, this is a pinchy climb and I’m pretty sure the riders were pleased to see the aid station van at the top. The results were pretty much what is becoming the usual now, Richard Ussher takes the points in A grade, Vaughn Woods takes the points in B grade, Bill Manning takes the points in C grade and Karin Aitken takes the points in C grade womens.

After rolling down to Lake Manapouri it was all on for the TTT. All the riders were in wee huddles of 3-4 as they grouped together in their teams to discuss tactics for this stage, everything was up for discussion, shall we go first, what rider is going in front, how long are we lapping, or in some cases ‘how fast can you ride while I tow you 20kms?’ The TTT’s are one of my favourite parts of the tour as the teams give it their all to see how fast they can go, not the easiest when they’ve already ridden around 170kms on the open road. I was lucky enough to start behind the Payne Train, and these guys were not mucking about, they had started one minute behind Team Ussher and were obviously determined to catch and pass them which they did, was impressive to watch! Team High5 had a stunning race taking the win by 2 and a half minutes! Huge effort from Chris McDonald who towed his team to the finish line, the Payne Train finished in second place with Team Ussher another couple of minutes back. Team Ussher used the same tactic as High5 with Richard setting the pace while Elina and his dad hung on to his wheel. Dylan McNeice was teamed up with some of the more senior riders who kept up with him and took turns at the front, with any luck that might mean that Dylan is a bit fresher than the others going into tomorrow’s stage.

Another magic day on the road in Southland, if you’ve never been to the Deep South of NZ then it’s definitely worth a visit. Tomorrow we are off to ride from Milford Sound back to Te Anau, via the Milford Tunnel, should be magic!

Todays Results

General Classification

Sprint Points

KOM Points

TTT Results

Dylan has posted up a blog about today’s adventures, check it out here


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Tour Update and Results Day 1

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Stunning day on tour today! Magic morning as we headed out of Christchurch, fresh start to the day but definitely not cold and barely a breath of wind in the air. Great neutral ride out to Ashley then some speedy racing through to Amberley for a quick break. The McDonald boys, riding for Rolf Prima, were taking it in turns to go off the front and took the stage collectively with the same time over the line. B grade set a fast pace and stayed together with the girls riding well and keeping the boys honest in the bunch. Team Vaya Vaya set the pace in C grade but they didn’t gain a lot of time on the Pink Ladies!


KOM/QOM (for the ladies) have been hard fought over Weka Pass today. McDonald senior took the points from Russell Harrison-Kirk and Chris (Big Sexy) McDonald in A grade. B grade points went to Martin Fletcher from team Mary J, next was Clint Atkins and Ross Wren. Ladies B grade points went to Rachel Larner over Mary Jones. Overall points in C grade went to one of the Pink Ladies, Karin Aitken took the overall QOM points, followed by Jan Crawford and Kathy Askin. The guys crossed with Stuart Mossman in front, followed by Martin Brown and Paul Carr.


Sprint points were on the line today as well. A grade is a McDonald 1-2-3, Chris, David then Daniel. B grade men is Martin Fletcher, Crunchie Donaldson and Clint Atkins. B grade ladies is Mary Jones followed by Rachel Larner. C grade men is Stuart Mossman again, followed by Martin Brown and Paul Carr. C grade ladies has Kathy Askin in the lead, followed by team mates Karin Aitken and Pam Harcourt.

Fantastic racing from everyone today, great team work in the neutral zones with everyone looking after each other during the day. Perfect weather for a ride to Hamner, sunshine and tailwind, what more could you ask for! Great afternoon of beers and BBQ’s in Hamner. See you all tomorrow for the longest day of riding, just over 200km to Greymouth.

Day 1 Results SAT 2012

KOM SAT 2012

Sprint Stage 2 SAT 2012

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Deep South Tour – Day 2

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Nice early roll out from Balclutha for C grade with a 7.30 start. Another beautiful morning down south though and once away from the morning traffic we were rolling smoothly through some pretty impressive countryside. After warming up on a few rolling hills it was straight into a double KOM to kick off the days racing, Bill Manning and Karin Aitken took line honours on both climbs. Love C grade, they re-grouped at the top of the KOM so they could ride the neutral part together, however there was a bit of hurrying one another along as they didn’t want A/B grade to catch them!

A grade mixed it up a bit on the KOM’s with Richard Ussher taking the points on the first climb Chris McDonald taking the second set. B grade shared the points between Martin Fletcher and Vaughn Woods, looks like some tactics starting to play out now a few more lads have stepped up to B grade, the next few days could be interesting.

On to the Whistling Frog Cafe for an aid station stop, if you’re ever in the Catlins stop by here and check it out. Then on to some of the most WOW scenery in the country! Southland is spectacular on a day like today, blue sky, sunshine and breathtaking views! Even the Aussie on tour was impressed. Check out some of the pics on our Facebook page here.

Down the road for a couple of sprints, if you read Chris’ blog you will see that the lads had some tactics going on to try and help Daniel get some more sprint points, the photos are full of laughter as they block one another or realise they are blocked and why. Nice to see that even pro athletes have a bit of fun and laughter while racing! A grade sprint points went to Daniel and Dylan. Good to see those tactics sort of worked lads! B grade sprint points are pretty close now with Martin Fletcher taking one sprint and Vaughn Woods taking the other. Vaughn wanted me to make sure I shared the fact that all 4 members of team Payne Train have a jersey now, I think they are laying down a challenge there…… C grade mens sprints went to Noel Smith and Bill Manning and in the ladies race all the sprint points went to Jo Donaldson.

Onto Bluff Hill, I’m still not sure whether the riders were happy or sad that conditions played in our favour which meant we had time and good weather on our hands to head to Bluff for one of the biggest climbs in the country, it’s not very long but crikey it is steep!! It is 265m high and the climb is maybe 2km long, so it goes up pretty quickly. The riders set some cracking times up the hill, Richard Ussher rode up the climb in 9mins 54! That’s quick! His wife Elina was quickest woman in 12.09, I should point out that Elina was 5th quickest overall!

It’s been a huge day and there are plenty of tired folk around, although I’m sure they will be keen to roll out to Te Anau tomorrow. Another day of riding in a beautiful part of our country.

Day 2 Results

General Classification

Sprint Points

KOM Points

Bluff Hill Climb Times

Some of the riders are writing regular updates as well, check out the following:

Chris McDonald’s blog

Dylan McNeice’s blog

Richard and Elina Ussher’s Facebook page

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Deep South Tour – Day 5

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Day 5, the final day. Just another 180 odd kms to ride……

The day started off a bit fresh and foggy but this soon turned into a stunningly hot and sunny day! An early sprint to kick things off, points went to Chris McDonald (really?!), Vaughn Woods, Bill Manning and Jo Donaldson. This was followed by a KOM on the way to Mossburn, KOM points went to the following – Richard Ussher, Martin Fletcher, Bill Manning and Karin Aitken. Bill and Karin rolled to the bottom of this hill, then the 2 yellow jerseys stopped to attend to something, as I was in the tail car I stopped to check that everything was ok, jumped out of the car to help, then caused quite a bit of excitement as I forgot to put the handbrake on! Yikes! Put my body on the line as I leapt through the passenger window to pull the handbrake on before the car plowed into the ditch! Phew! Bill made the most of telling the story again throughout the day  :)

Mossburn to Five Rivers was an Individual Time Trial. There was a bit of nervous trepidation on the start line with a few people talking down their time trialling abilities…..these same people went on to win their category didn’t they Karin? Good to see Big Sexy (aka Chris McDonald) laying down the hurt to the others. Special mention also to Mike Robins who for the first time ever managed to beat Daniel McDonald in a time trial! Live it up Mikey! Great effort!!

Heading ever closer to Queenstown and the end of the tour we stopped at Garston for lunch, apparently the most central town in all of New Zealand. Special thanks needs to go to Tina and Russell for once again having lunch ready as we rolled into town, another great BBQ on the road! There was a vote taken at lunch as to whether we just rolled into Queenstown and stopped at the Hilton, our hotel for the evening, or to keep rolling and finish the tour properly with the final climb up the Crown Range. The vote was for stopping at the Hilton, there didn’t seem to be a lot of sense in riding past the hotel just to go back there later.

Back on the road for the final racing stage of the tour! Big Sexy decided he needed to stretch his legs a bit, either that or he was in a hurry to get to his post ride beer as he attacked off the front causing all sorts of chaos in the bunch as he headed down off the road to take a stage win. Good effort made by Matt Carter to stay on his wheel, I think Matt lasted about 100m?

End of the stage and we are literally metres from the hotel, yet we somehow rode down the road heading towards the Crown Range?! What happened there? Although to be fair, I think some folk would have been mighty disappointed to not ride that last little lung burner of a hill! Crown Range was an individual time trial with KOM points on the line for one last time. The climb was up through the switchbacks to finish at the lookout/carpark approx 3km from the bottom of the hill. I think most of the riders thought this was far enough. Richard Ussher once again showed that he is built to go fast up a hill and had the fastest climb in a time of 9.56, Karin Aitken was the quickest female in a time of 12.19 which was the 4th quickest time overall! WOW!

Magnificent tour, super well organised by Kay and Daniel. Love your work guys!

See you all again on the next tour – Southern Alps Lite, ChCh to Wanaka, March 20th – 24th, and the 3rd leg of the South Island, ChCh to Picton, 13th – 17th November 2014.

Final Results

Overall General Classification

Overall Sprint Points

Overall KOM Points

Individual Time Trial Day 5

Crown Range Climb Times

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Tour Update and Results Day 2

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Huge day today, long day on the bike for everyone, we rode out of Hamner at 7.30am and the last riders rolled into Greymouth just before 6pm this evening. The weather gods have been kind to us and we had a good day weather wise, magic morning in Hamner with some low cloud over the hills. Riders got a few sprinkles of rain over the Lewis Pass but that was all over by the time we got to Springs Junction. The riders toughed out the TTT through some pretty decent rain but then it was dry all the way to Greymouth, the headwind was another story however!

After a fairly sedate neutral stage the racing kicked off with a sprint at Engineers Camp and then KOM points up for grabs on the Lewis Pass climb. Some of the C grade riders must have been putting the pace on as they were quickly spread down the road, B grade worked well together sprinting for the points then regrouping to ride together. The McDonald train were setting the pace in A grade trying to get all the jerseys onto the shoulders of the Rolf Prima team. Chris McDonald came flying through the lower slopes of the Lewis descent almost catching B grade before rolling into Springs Junction.

With Rahu Saddle being an uncontested climb it was no surprise that most of the green jersey riders took the opportunity to take it easy on a hill. Biggest surprise was finding that someone had taken off with the timing box and mat from the KOM. After a quick descent from Rahu it was time for the Team Time Trial, always a super competitive and fast stage. Great to see the teams working so well in the team time trial and the stronger riders looking after their team members. An unfortunate puncture for the 3 man Rolf Prima team cost them the TTT title for today. Contrary to popular belief there was no drafting behind the lead car, there was just fast riding out there! The boys must have been hungry for their lunch making them ride faster.

Nice neutral ride through to Ikamatua where a dog thought he might join us, luckily he changed his mind at the last minute and avoided running through the bunch. Then the hotly contested last stage rolling through the countryside on the far side of the Grey River, fast start with a sprint early in the stage, those sprint points are highly sought after with some close racing happening. David McDonald took the stage win, pretty sure it was a McDonald 1-2-3 but I could be wrong, B grade was exciting with Rachel taking overall line honours and beating the men across the line! Stuart Mossman has been the dominant force in C grade and maintained his place at the front of the pack.

Lots of tired but happy faces around this evening, that headwind wore out more than one person. Tomorrow we are off to Franz Josef. Catch you there!

Day 2 Results SAT 2012

KOM and Sprint SAT day 2

If you want to check out some photos of the tour then head to our Facebook page


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The Deep South Tour – Day 1

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It’s great to be on tour again, beautiful morning in Dunedin and the riders were a bit spoilt with a sleep in as we rolled out at 9.30 with a short neutral stage through to Brighton. Stunning views along the coast as we headed south to Tairei for the first KOM of the tour. It’s fair to say the riders are still talking about how brutal this hill was, I just got asked if that was the worst hill of the tour….. I’m saying nothing. Richard Ussher took out the KOM on today’s stage.

After a quick stop to refill drink bottles and talk some tactics it was another neutral stage through Milton and out the other side till we were off the main highway, kudos to the courteous truckies in the south!

Time for the sprinters to show their stuff…. Just for fun we set all the riders off together, it’s fair to say the pace was on from the get go as the triathletes ganged up on the multi-sporter while they went hunting for sprint points. Dylan and Chris are both riding TT bikes so definitely have an advantage on the flat stages. Richard managed to sneak the first sprint though with Dylan taking the points for the second sprint. (Sorry about there being no 500m cone for the second sprint, I’m new on cone duty, will be better tomorrow!) The lads in B grade had a good battle for sprint points as well with Vaughn Woods taking the first sprint and Martin Fletcher the second. Bill Manning had it all his own way in C grade taking both sprints, Jo Donaldson did the same in the womens race.

Beautiful ride into Balclutha riding alongside the Clutha river! Worth the trip.

Tomorrow is a big day, Balclutha to Invercargill via a wee hill called Bluff Hill.


Results for Day 1

Sprint points

KOM Points

Will update GC for you as soon as I can, it’s fair to say each grade is pretty close for now!



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