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Bond swaps rowing pain for cycling gain

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/11/2016
© Joel Ford/Getty Images

Double Olympic gold medallist Hamish Bond doesn't know much about cycling, but he does know a lot about pain.

That knowledge, built up over the last 10 years as an elite rower, is proving useful as Bond tackles this week's Tour of Southland.

It's propelled him into second place overall after four days, 36 seconds behind Tour leader and teammate Michael Torckler, who won Wednesday's 138km third stage from Mossburn to Coronet Peak.

Torckler chased down a four-man breakaway to take the win, powering up the final gruelling 9km climb to beat Tim Rush by 29 seconds with Bond seven seconds further back in third.

Bond, who won Olympic gold with Eric Murray in the men's pair earlier this year in Rio, admits he's still got a lot to learn about cycling, particularly when it comes to racing in the peloton.

"I'm not a massive fan of it, to be honest - I'd rather just ride by myself," he said.

"I just try and stay out of trouble. I'm not the most confident on a bike, obviously I haven't ridden that much like these guys have done their whole lives.

"But I know how to suffer, I've been doing that for 10 years in the elite rowing programme, so I've got no problem with that."

Bond's Vantage Windows & Doors team includes three fellow rowers, two of whom also competed in Rio.

Brother Alistair and James Lassche were part of the lightweight four which finished fifth, while Alex Bardoul has represented New Zealand at junior and under-23 level.

Torckler and young Southland rider Josh Haggerty complete the line-up.

Despite their lack of cycling nous, Hamish Bond says the team are looking to defend Torckler's yellow jersey.

"We'll try - why wouldn't you? We're inexperienced, we've got three riders who've never done a tour before so our tactics and experience are somewhat lacking, but we'll try."

Bond, who finished 68th in his only Tour back in 2009, says Torckler's experience and patience are a big plus for the team.

"He knows we're inexperienced and don't really know what we're doing. He's very patient and I don't think he'll expect too much.

"We'll just do what we can, I guess."

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