Change of fortune for Calder Stewart

Road, Southland, NZL, Northey, Node 4 - Subaru, Bissell, Patrick Bevin, Bluff, Sam Witmitz, Taylor Gunman, Hayden Roulston, Calder Stewart, Gore, Michael Vink,
Team-mates... Hayden Roulston and Michael Vink cross the line together to the win the final stage of the Tour of Southland (Mark Gunter)

At the beginning of the final day of the PowerNet Tour of Southland Calder Stewart had little to show for their efforts, but as the race rolled into Invercargill at the end of the final stage the strength of two riders had meant they were rewarded with second and third overall, two stage wins and the under 23 classification.

I said all along it was never going to be over until the last day. The whole day was dramatically changed by a 79km stage.

All week Hayden Roulston had been warning that the tour was not over yet, and his effort in the final two days saw the overall result change dramatically.

Roulston started the final stage two minutes two seconds down on the current leader Carter Jones (Bissell) but by the end of the race he had clawed back much of his deficit to finish second overall and win the final stage.

His team-mate Michael Vink opened the Calder Stewart tally by winning the Stage 7 individual time trial earlier in the day.

Vink and Roulston formed a formidable pair who changed the outcome of the race by pulling themselves and eventual tour winner Michael Northey (Node 4 - Subaru) up the road and further up the general classification.

"I said all along it was never going to be over until the last day. The whole day was dramatically changed by a 79km stage," Roulston told Cycling Central.

After gaining an advantage of nearly four minutes on the yellow jersey, Vink and Roulston crossed the line together with Roulston being awarded the stage win.

"It's the last day of the tour and everyone is very tired. You are on your last legs and so it is the strongest guys who are going to be at the fore, and that is what happened today."

Roulston had considered one last shot at the overall title.

"There was one moment when Northe was in between us and the group, and if I had of gone we may have left him behind but I may have also blown a fuse. I decided to sit a wait and bring Mike (Northey) across."

While Roulston was disappointed not to claim his fifth win, he is pleased that Northey netted the tour honours.

"It couldn't have gone to a nicer guy. It is great to see a Kiwi win if it wasn't going to be me."

Under 23 New Zealand road and time trial champion Vink won the under 23 classification.

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