• Michael Vink and Tim Rush cross the line to win The Pioneer (Tim Bardsley-Smith)Source: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Michael Vink achieved a unique double: adding The Pioneer title to his recent 2018 Tour of Southland victory 2018. In the open women's category, Kate McIlroy and Amy Hollamby fought off circling Aussies Brodie Chapman and Briony Mattocks.
By
Cycling Central

1 Dec 2018 - 11:19 AM  UPDATED 1 Dec 2018 - 11:26 AM

Kiwi road cyclist Michael Vink bossed the event with Onya Bike partner Tim Rush, crossing the line in Queenstown on the final stage with a massive one hour and fifteen minute overall lead in the 400km race which saw participants traverse 15,000m of climbing. 

“What a week, it has been tough, character building but we have learned so much and have improved throughout the week and that is what we wanted,” said Vink.

Vink wins first Tour of Southland title
After nine attempts, and after twice missing out on winning, Michael Vink is finally a Tour of Southland champion.

Category winners earn a guaranteed start at the renowned Cape Epic in South Africa and Vink's tempted. 

“Cape Epic is something we have discussed, it is a different scale and we have a lot to improve on if we are to go, we don’t want to go just for the experience, we want to be competitive so we have to think about what we can do and what our goals are, it is on the table and up for discussion, at some stage it is an itch that will need scratching.”

Rush said the victory was sweeter after his disappointing 2017.  

“I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder after last year’s DQ and I always wanted to come back. It was about two years ago when I first hit Michael up and talked about it, I needed someone decent and I knew he was up to it, I knew if I could get my body up to it we would have a fun week and we did, it was painful but we did it and I couldn’t have done this with a better partner, I am real happy.”

Going into the final stage, the women's race was not so cut and dried as Briony Mattocks and Brodie Chapman (Shimano) with their two stage wins took it to leaders McIlroy and Hollamby (Wellington Airport). But the Kiwis managed to fend them off. 

Brodie Chapman: ‘Say yes to everything and you don’t know where it will lead’
After a strong World Tour debut in 2018 for late-blooming Brodie Chapman, the 27-year-old is looking forward to a second season at cycling’s top table. She spoke to Cycling Central about her rapid rise.

“We have worked really well together, working out each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we complement each other really well. It has been a massive six days, I don’t know if either one of us expected to win it, so it is a huge surprise and we are absolutely stoked”, said McIlroy.

“It is quite stressful having the yellow leader jersey on all week and to be honest we didn’t expect to have it so soon after the prologue and to keep it all week. There were some nervous moments but today was awesome. The last two hours were probably the longest of my life, the Queenstown Trail is not easy!”

Hollamby was third last year with Haley Van Leeuwen.

“That was unbelievable, this girl (McIlroy) has some pure strength, I can’t believe how she rides, she has had me in the box all week,” said an exhausted but elated Hollamby.

The mixed category went down to the wire as two-time defending champions Mark Williams and Kate Fluker (New World, New Zealand), unable to defend their six-minute lead with Josie Wilcox and Joe Skerman (team JoJoe). Team JoJoe took the stage victory with nine minutes in hand.  

“We got a five-minute penalty on Tuesday so were quite determined to get that back, it is our first stage race, so it was a learning experience, but we are really happy. I am so proud of Joe, he hung in and rode through some pretty dark places today,” said Wilcox

“I tried to go on the hill, but Joe had other ideas, Kate caught Joe on the hill and we worked together but then Joe told me Willy (Mark Williams) had a flat tyre and I knew we had to make the most of it, which is pretty awful and just really unlucky, I knew we had a good lead at the jet boat and then we pretty much time trial back into town.”

Skerman's reaction was understated and contemplated when he could get back to the farm.

“The tank is well empty now, that was a tough one today. It has been great racing, we have learned a lot. Kate and Willy are awesome riders, we just wanted to keep the pressure on all week and we managed to get it today which we are pretty happy about it.

“That is very rewarding, I am proud of the result, but I will be happy to get back to my dairy farm and milk the cows again.”

For a full report and comprehensive results, visit The PIoneer

The 2018 Pioneer
Stage five results
86km, Bannockburn to Queenstown

Open Men
1 ONYA Bike, Tim Rush & Michael Vink (NZL), 4:14:10
2 Spot Africa/Insect, Alan Gordon & Timothy Hammond (SAF), 4:23:13
3 Willbike/Mortgage Me Queenstown, Jimmy Williamson & Scott Lyttle (NZL), 4:35:20

Open Women
1 Wellington Airport, Amy Hollamby & Kate McIlroy (NZL), 5:08:40
2 Shimano, Briony Mattocks & Brodie Chapman (AUS), 5:28:27
3 Madison NZ, Erin Greene & Hannah Miller (NZL), 5:34:23

Mixed
1 JoJoe, Josie Wilcox & Joe Skerman (NZL), 4:47:09
1 New World, Mark Williams & Kate Fluker (NZL), 4:56:28
3 Team Garmin, Yolandi du Toit & Ben Swanepoel (SAF), 5:02:29

Masters (Both riders 40+)
1 SRAM, Anthony Shippard & David Evans, (AUS), 4:36:30
2 Cyclingtips.com.au, Wade Wallace & Allan Iacuone (AUS), 4:46:22
3 Nutritec, Nathon Wright & Gene Marsh (NZL), 4:57:08

Women’s Masters (both riders 40+)
1 IMB, Peg Leyland & Kath Kelly (NZL), 5:42:42
2 Pikelet & Blini, Emma McCosh & Marquita Gelderman (NZL), 6:20:51
3 Cable Geraldine Logging, Kylie Burrows & Sarah Kaehler (NZL & AUS), 7:01:25

Grand Masters (both riders 50+)
1 Stutho and Sutho, Blair Stuthridge & Neil Sutherland, (NZL), 4:55:05
2 2 Old Men, Shaun Portegys & Tim O’Leary, NZL), 4:57:55
3 Beeej and Deeez, Richard Read & Brian John, (AUS), 5:07:00

The Pioneer
FINAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
Prologue and 5 Stages of racing
424km and 15,124m of climbing

Open Men
1 ONYA Bike, Tim Rush & Michael Vink (NZL), 20:28:25
2 Spot Africa/Insect, Alan Gordon & Timothy Hammond (SAF), 21:43:57
3 Willbike/Mortgage Me Queenstown, Jimmy Williamson & Scott Lyttle (NZL) 22:01:13

Open Women
1 Wellington Airport, Amy Hollamby & Kate McIlroy (NZL), 25:27:11
2 Shimano, Briony Mattocks & Brodie Chapman (AUS), 25:54:52
3 Madison NZ, Erin Greene & Hannah Miller (NZL), 27:34:06

Mixed
1 JoJoe, Josie Wilcox & Joe Skerman (NZL), 24:08:35
2 New World, Mark Williams & Kate Fluker (NZL), 24:11:43
3 Niner Bikes/Kappius Components, Jean-Francois Bossler & Fanny Bourdon (FRA/CZE), 25:12:57

Masters (Both riders 40+)
1 SRAM, Anthony Shippard & David Evans, (AUS), 22:51:01
2 Nutritec, Nathon Wright & Gene Marsh (NZL), 24:13:56
3 A21 Linc’n’Lister, Lincoln Carolan & Peter Lister (AUS), 24:27:10

Women’s Masters (both riders 40+)
1 IMB, Peg Leyland & Kath Kelly (NZL), 27:57:26
2 Pikelet & Blini, Emma McCosh & Marquita Gelderman (NZL), 31:03:47
3 Cable Geraldine Logging, Kylie Burrows & Sarah Kaehler (NZL & AUS), 35:02:39

Grand Masters (both riders 50+)
1 2 Old Men, Shaun Portegys & Tim O’Leary, NZL), 23:44:34
1 Stutho & Sutho Protocol, Blair Stuthridge & Neil Sutherland (NZL), 24:51:35
3 The Hub Cycles/Napier, Kent Wilson & Chris Clark (NZL), 25:09:20