Stewart was part of a breakaway that formed midway through the stage, with it becoming clear inside the last 20 kilometres that the escapees would be fighting it out for the stage win.
At that point attacks began to flow, with Black Spoke riders the primary aggressors. Joshua Kench (Black Spoke) surged clear of the group and was solo with Stewart plowing a lonely course as he attempted to bridge over to Kench.
He caught Kench in the final kilometres, but had to go to the front and work as Ethan Batt (Black Spoke) and Hugo Jones (Business South) were chasing from behind.
“It’s not really my thing to get in the break and go up the road, but I managed to sneak up there and I guess it was the perfect group with no GC (overall) contenders,” Stewart said.
“We were all just rolling through, nothing too crazy, but we never slowed down and I guess it was enough to keep the bunch happy, and we managed to stay away until the end. I missed out to Corbin (Strong) in Te Anau, he’s having a stellar tour and he’s racing to win. I was second on this stage last year in the crosswinds, but it’s nice to tick this one off.”
Here are your jersey holders after the sixth day of racing in the #bestraceinnz. Well done to Campbell Stewart on the...
Race leader Corbin Strong (Powernet) retained his leader's jersey heading into the final day of competition, with a time trial and road stage to conclude the Tour of Southland.
“It was a hard first couple of hours to start the race and it was really aggressive racing. We were looking forward to that and then once the break went it calmed down a lot and we had the answers for all the questions that were answered today,” Strong said.
“Tomorrow it’s going to be a hell of a showdown and anyone in the top five can win this race and fingers crossed that’s me. I think everyone has prepared really well for this race. It’s been on everyone’s mind since coronavirus shut down all the racing.
"I think that’s the reason there are five riders within 30sec going into the final day and I think it’s going to be very interesting.”