3 Nov 2009

Blackgrove leads tour of Southland

6:24 am on 3 November 2009

The US-based New Zealand cyclist Heath Blackgrove will take a 14 second lead into day two of the Tour of Southland.

It was a tumultuous opening day with a pile-up involving 40 riders on the second stage to the top of Bluff Hill, defending champion Hayden Roulston was forced out of the tour with a knee injury.

Roulston, who was bidding for a third straight win in the race, says he's gutted as this was probably his last chance to win the event.

Nelson's Jack Bauer, second in last week's national club championship, won the stage and he is now second overall behind Blackgrove.

It has been a busy night for team mechanics repairing damaged bikes and preparing replacement machinery for stage three, 165km from Invercargill to Gore via Riversdale.