PureBlack Racing misses out on the Pink Jersey and finishes 3rd on the Team GC - Dion Smith Finds Himself Taking Turns with the Big Guns

PureBlack Racing Tour of Southland

Saturday 3rd October: PureBlack Racing fought hard today only to have everything stripped from them today when they missed a breakaway that completely changed the leaderboard of the Tour of Southland.

In the final stage of the tour, Dion Smith jumped at the chance to get into a breakaway with eventual stage winner, veteran rider Hayden Roulsten (Calder Stewart), and eventual U23 Pink Jersey winner, Michael Vink (Calder Stewart).

Gordon McCaughly (Barry Stewart Builders – Gordon McCauley Coaching) and Mike Northey (Node4-Subaru) bridged their way across to the breakaway, setting a fast pace early increasing their lead throughout the stage.

Dion, PureBlack Racing’s youngest rider who has raced with power and tenacity throughout the tour, finished in 4th place after a tough day taking turns with the big guys in the field.

“It was crazy mixing it up with the big guys,” said Dion, “I couldn’t take the turns with them and it really shows why they are on the ProTour.”

Dion did well to stick with the breakaway of experienced and strong riders even though he struggled hold on. “Coming into the last stages of the race Vink hit is wheel, and when Roly [Roulsten] attacked I had nothing left.”

Dion finished the stage in 4th place and moved into 7th on the overall individual GC just two seconds behind Taylor. The result also catapulted him to 3rd in the U23 category.

“Dion covered the move extremely well, it was an uphill battle but it was great to have someone there,” said Director Sportif, John “Harry” Harris.

“Both Dion and Taylor have proved that we have the younger guys coming through the ranks and next year we can come back even stronger,” said Harry.

Taylor is obviously devastated about losing the pink jersey and missing out on the break that would have secured his position but that is the nature of cycling; things can change even over such a short stage.

“Taylor got exposed today, Roly set a ProTour pace and we all fought hard today,” said Harry.

PureBlack Racing finished 3rd overall in the Team GC behind. The winner of the Tour of Southland was Mike Northey with Hayden Roulsten finishing in second.

Although Taylor missed out on the U23 Pink Jersey, he still held the title for seven out of the eight stages which is still a sizeable achievement.

“We have proved this year that we are an emerging team,” said Harry, “And with the young guys like Taylor and Dion really stepping up, they are proving that we can continue to cause some serious drama going into next year.”

PureBlack Racing have arrived back home after the tough week and will now prepare for the National Criterium Championships that are being held on Friday 9th November in Takapuna.