The Subway-Avanti Pro Cycling team showed true character with Joe Cooper winning the 165 kilometre stage three of the Powernet Tour of Southland this afternoon.
Cooper and three of his team mates were caught up in a large crash on yesterdays second stage which has seen the teams GC (general classification) hopes fade, but the team showed it still has plenty of fight left as James Williamson was in an early break to claim the days first KOM (King of the Mountain) points with Cooper then claiming the other two on offer and then the stage win.
“We were pretty disappointed with how things went yesterday, but we picked ourselves up, have refocussed our goals and it was a very good team effort today and I’m really happy to get the stage win and KOM jersey,” Cooper said.
Team Manager Hayden Godfrey said yesterday was frustrating but they were not dwelling on the negatives and were focused on ways the team can still have an impact on the race.
“We wanted to be in every move today and needed to give it a good nudge and take any opportunities that presented themselves,” he said.
“The guys followed the plan to the letter and Joe’s stage win was a fantastic ride after the nasty crash yesterday. He has finished second and third a lot so to win was great and gives us some confidence for the rest of the week.”
Cooper made his winning move with 20 kilometres to go attacking the leading break of five riders with Australian Bevan Mason (Ascot Park) the only rider able to follow his wheel.
Cooper out sprinted Mason to claim his first Tour of Southland stage win in three hours, 48 minutes and 7 seconds with the chasing peloton coming in 14 seconds behind the leaders.
Share the Road’s Jeremy Yates held on to the yellow jersey by four seconds ahead of team-mate Jack Bauer with Hayden Roulston (Calder Stewart – BikeNZ) lying third 22 seconds behind Yates.
Two stages loom tomorrow with an 88 trip from Invercargill to Tuatapere, followed by a 101 kilometre coastal trek through Riverton and on to Winton in the afternoon.