25/04/2011 - Pre-race favourite Gordon McCauley showcased his class yesterday as he put himself in the box seat to win the 2011 Tour de Lakes title on the final day of the tour today.
It was Chris Nicholson who held the yellow jersey yesterday morning in the Vital Signs-sponsored event but Commonwealth Games medallist Gordon McCauley smashed the field
Nicholson, a former Olympic ice skater, indicated he was happy with his time of 28min 28sec in the time trial until he saw that McCauley had delivered a 26min 57sec ride.
The tough Auckland rider lapped up the blustery conditions in the 20km time-trial from Manapouri to Te Anau as he grabbed hold of the yellow jersey in impressive style.
His grip on the leader tag only got tighter when yesterday afternoon he backed up his comfortable stage win in the time-trial by also winning stage four of the race which was a 80km ride from Te Anau to Five Rivers.
McCauley now holds a 1min 54sec lead heading into the final day of the race today and it will take a major mishap from him, or a stunning performance from another rider, if McCauley isn't to be crowned 2011 Tour de Lakes winner this afternoon.
Stage five this morning is a 50km hilly ride from Fernhill in Queenstown to Glenorchy.
In the final stage of the event, riders start at Glenorchy and travel 45km for a hilltop finish at Moke Lake.
McCauley is followed by Wellington's Dave Rowlands, with Nelson rider Nicholson third.
In the B-grade section, former Southlander John McKenzie, now based in Christchurch, leads the field. Like McCauley, McKenzie made his move in yesterday's time-trial, holding a 36sec lead from Dunedin's Ben Hillery and Geoff Keogh.
Kath Jones leads the women's field from Jeannie Kuhajek and Invercargill's Kylie Young.
Young impressed in the time-trial yesterday morning, blitzing the field by 27sec.
JJ Wilson leads the C-grade section, ahead of Andrew Lienert and Ray Robinson.
- The Southland Times