Michael Vink returns to the Tour of Southland this year armed with vital information he says was missing from his eight other attempts: how to win New Zealand's most prestigious stage race.
Cycling Central

1 Nov 2019 - 2:44 PM  UPDATED 1 Nov 2019 - 2:59 PM

After nine campaigns and finishing runner-up in 2016 and 2017, the Kiwi etched his name on the winner's silverware last year.

“I feel like I’ve had the legs to win a few times, but a few things just haven’t gone my way," he said. "You definitely need a bit of luck. Last year, having a good team around me made a big difference from previous years.

“Now I know what it takes to win, and I know what it takes to lose as well. Having those two experiences, you can put them together and map out a plan of how to approach the week.”

Vink has spent the season racing for the St George Continental Cycling Team in Asia, a squad which includes Dylan Kennett, who won the UCI 2.1 Tour of Taihu Lake earlier this year and will line up with him at Southland as they race for the Placemakers team. 

Catch up with the highlights of the Tour of Southland here on Cycling Central from 4 - 9 November

“We’ve got a really good team this year, a couple of locals, which is always good, Dylan Kennett, who recently won a big race in China, he’s going to be our sprinter, and some good all rounders,” Vink said.

“It’s probably one of the better teams I’ve had supporting me in the 10 years I’ve been coming to Southland, but at the end of the day I’ve got to have the legs to finish it off.”

Even with Vink's team and knowledge, race director Bruce Ross says it's the most evenly matched peloton he has seen in the 50 years he's been involved with the race. 

“Michael Vink was a great champion last year and it will be fascinating to see who comes out of the peloton to challenge him in 2019,” Ross said.  

The 2019 SBS Bank Tour of Southland runs from November 3 to 9. 

Catch up with the highlights of the Tour of Southland here on Cycling Central from 4 - 9 November