Community’s tour of duty
The SBS Bank Tour of Southland is well under way in the region, but the riders are not the only ones having fun.
Saint Theresa’s School principal Julian Ineson said the whole community was getting behind the event with schools performing haka and road-side cheering from the public.
As in previous years, Ineson will commentate for the tour, with two little helpers by his side.
He has been commentator for about 19 years and has been involved in the event in other ways for several years before that.
It was tradition for the Invercargill principal to bring students along as they learnt about perseverance, courage, respect and determination, Ineson said.
‘‘It’s an iconic event for Southland. They [the riders] are role models for the children, they get to meet and see them in person.
‘‘It’s about the community feel of the tour involving schools and the community.’’
Today, students Sophie Hika and Luke Reynolds will help, riding in the truck with Ineson and having their turn on the mic. ‘‘They’re very excited, they’re two very sporty kids ... it’s a great opportunity for them.’’
Luke was looking forward to meeting the riders and having a go on the mic.
‘‘I’m excited, not that I know what I’ll say.’’
Sophie said she wanted to ask the riders how long they had been racing and what training they did.
It would be motivation for her own sports, she said.
Organisers say it would be hard to predict winners for the event which kicked off on October 26 and finishes on November 4.
With only one previous winner in the field for the 61st edition of the event, Brad Evans, of Otago, the country’s best up-and-coming talent and overseas riders, including from Australia, United Sates, Canada, England, New Caledonia and Germany, will be looking to add their name to an illustrious list of past champions.
New Zealand cyclists Tino Tabak, Jack Swart, Brian Fowler and Hayden Roulston were all multiple winners of the Tour of Southland, while, in more recent times, Greg Henderson, Jack Bauer, Patrick Bevin, Dion Smith, George Bennett and many others have used the race as a springboard for launching significant professional careers overseas.
Tour pictures, page 18.
Saint Theresa’s School students Sophie Hika and Luke Reynolds, both 11, are set to help principal Julian Ineson with commentary.