26/04/2011 - Gordon McCauley went into the 2011 Tour de Lakes as firm favourite and delivered on that status as his reputation in New Zealand and southern cycling circles continues to grow.
The impressive 39-year-old wrapped up the 2011 title yesterday with two fifth place finishes in the final two stages of the Vital Signs-sponsored tour.
McCauley made his move on Sunday when he won the morning 20km time trial from Manapouri to Te Anau in blistering fashion and then backed it up with another stage win in the afternoon in the 80km ride from Te Anau to Five Rivers.
That put him in the box seat on the final day yesterday and he made no mistakes to win the tour.
Darcy Ellerm-Norton won yesterday morning's hilly 50km fifth stage from Fernhill, Queenstown, to Glenorchy, while in the afternoon it was James Early who picked up a stage win in the 45km ride from Glenorchy to Moke Lake. In the overall standings McCauley was 2min 5sec clearof second place-getter David Rowlands, of Welling-ton.
Former Olympic ice skater Chris Nicholson was third, 27sec behind Rowlands.
In the B grade, John McKenzie went into yesterday's final two stages with a 36sec lead, which he maintained heading into the final stage.
However, McKenzie couldn't keep his grip on the yellow jersey as he finished the final stage in 20th place, 3min 7sec from stage winner Ryan Douglas.
Ben Hillery – who finished seventh in final stage – grabbed a hold of the tour leader's jersey to take out the overall honours in the B grade section of the tour
Hillery was followed by Geoff Keogh and Blake Tait-Jones.
The women's race was also decided on the last stage in a tight finish.
Kat Jones went in the final day with a narrow 5sec lead over second-placed Jeannie Kuha-jek. She managed to hold a 4sec lead into the final stage.
Haley Mercer ended up winning the final 45km stage in the women's section but it was Kuhajek who took out the overall honours.
She finished third in the final stage while her main rival Jones finished 6min 54sec behind the leader and ended up ninth overall.
Aimee Burns was second followed by Gabby Vermunt in third place.
In the C grade section of of the tour it was JJ Wilson who was victorious, winning the final stage to finish 1min 25sec clear of second-placed Andrew Lienert and Riki Griffin in third.
- The Southland Times