By TRACEY ROXBURGH
Talk about a homecoming.
Yesterday, in arguably the most fitting result in the Tour of Southland to date, hometown boy and newly-minted pro cyclist Reuben Thompson, racing for Vet4Farms, showed the field how it’s done, winning the third stage which finished, for the first time, with a gruelling climb up The Remarkables access road.
Thomson, 19, fresh out of quarantine and the only Queenstown rider in the field, made a break about 2km from the finish and left the chasing pack in his dust, opening up a lead of about 80m before crossing the finish-line 28 seconds in front of Ollie Jones (Powernet).
After the race Thompson, who’s spent countless hours training on The Remarks road, says he knew it was going to be a tough uphill battle and expected other riders to drop back, meaning he was poised to take his chance.
The win means he’s now the overall Tour leader, on general classification, going in to today’s fourth stage, a 157km grunt from the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome, in Invercargill, to Bluff Hill.