After going blocks and swiping the first prime of the day the race was quickly neutralised due to a massive pile up on a single lane bridge, one of the worst casualties was Kiwi Brad Carter who was eventually taken to hospital, with many others looking more like they had stepped off a battlefield.
Once re-started we were directed over some nasty roads and climbs for the day, the final col to the finish was uncategorizable! The 8km unsealed lead up was more like a brutal section of pave in Paris Roubaix, the hammer was down and you couldn't see for the dust and debris, luckily team mate Roman Van Uden and I were sitting in the sweet spot to the side of the road, suddenly behind me BikeNZ's Yellow jersey Joe Cooper and the White jersey leader both punctured within seconds of each other throwing their teams into a scramble.
Joe showed his class as a Tour leader when he came back to take second on the stage (an outstanding effort) to maintain his lead overall.
Stage two for the day saw me play out the same tactic and I went from the gun to draw out a break, 10km later I was back in the peloton, but not for long. I launched one off the front soon after and was joined by a Drapac Porsche pro, local celebrity rider Bonnace, a Japanese and a Frenchie. We unloaded the Japanese and the Frenchie 3km from the stage finish but as the cat n mouse played out for our leading trio the Frenchman hit us hard 800 metres out and took the win! I managed 2nd and Bonnace took 3rd. Nice to get a podium but that will be one that haunts me for a long time to come!
The only consolation was I was still taller whilst only standing on the second tier of the podium!
Another double stager tomorrow, Joe is edging closer to the final yellow jersey and looking every bit a winner. Go Kiwis!