Cycling Southland's Hamish Tomlinson excelled on the hilly terrain during round three of the Benchmark Series from Hanmer to Kaikoura yesterday to record a commendable third-place finish.
Southland coach Ross Machejefski was aiming for a top-five placing from Tomlinson during the 140km race, which is dominated by steep hilly passages. Tomlinson exceeded those expectations, though, to end up third behind winner Josh Atkins of Canterbury and Auckland's Taylor Gunman.
It turned out to be a good race for the H&J Smith Outdoor World- sponsored Southland team with Pieter Bulling finishing 12th and Hamish Presbury coming home in 24th place in the main bunch.
Machejefski was delighted with Tomlinson's third-place effort and said the race suited him well with its sharp hill climbs. "He was targeting this race. It's hilly terrain for the whole race. It was a good team ride. "He wouldn't have got there without the team riding so well with him . . . we were hoping for a top-five (placing). That was our goal for this round."
Young Invercargill rider Marcel Baird was part of the Cycling Southland team for the first time in the Benchmark Series yesterday and made a pleasing debut.
The next Benchmark Series race is not until August and Machejefski said there would be an opportunity for many emerging Southland cycling talents to compete in the team with leading Southland talents Cameron Karwowski and Presbury both riding overseas then.