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Phipps wins Tour of Southland stage

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/11/2016
Sam Phipps of Rotorua finishes first during stage two of the 2016 Tour of Southland on November 01, 2016 in Invercargill, New Zealand. © Dianne Manson/Getty Images Sam Phipps of Rotorua finishes first during stage two of the 2016 Tour of Southland on November 01, 2016 in Invercargill, New Zealand.

Rotorua's Sam Phipps has achieved a career highlight by winning stage two of cycling's Tour of Southland.

The Team Skoda Racing rider, a protege of top New Zealand professional Julian Dean, gapped his fellow breakaway riders on the foreshore of Lake Te Anau on Tuesday.

He went to claim line honours after the 150km stage from Riverton to Te Anau.

"This has been the biggest dream of my cycling career - to win a stage on the Tour of Southland," Phipps said.

"It hasn't sunk in yet - it will take a while - but I'm stoked."

Phipps was part of a nine-strong break which had built a 2min 40sec lead by the time they reached the sausage capital of Tuatapere.

However, as the leaders approached the shadow of the Blackmount hill climb, it looked as their advantage would not be enough over the final 20km haul from Manapouri.

Phipps jumped off the front of the break bunch, with Alex Frame finishing second and taking the yellow jersey from Kia Motors-Ascot Park Hotel team-mate Travis McCabe.

Phipps paid credit to the effort by Frame, a 2015 world team pursuit champion, throughout the stage.

"He was the strongest in there by far; he was pulling some big turns," he said.

"If it wasn't for him it would have been hard to stay away, so full credit to him,."

In general classification, Frame has a 42s lead over American McCabe, with under-23 leader Ayden Toovey of Australia sitting third 4s further back.

Stage three on Wednesday will take the field from Mossburn to Queenstown's Coronet Peak.

The 138km stage, which features a 9km climb to the hilltop finish, is expected to be a turning point in the race.

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