BISSELL’s six man squad including Jeremy Vennell, Patrick Bevin, Chris Baldwin, Carter Jones, Michael Torkler, and Julian Kyer faced the cold and windy conditions which are typical for the Tour of Southland on Saturday's opening prologue. The team time trial was contested on a 2.62 mile loop in the city of Invercargill. BISSELL had a safe start to finish seventh and only lost seven seconds to the fastest finishing team.
Sunday’s stage 1 was a 98.61 mile course from Invercargill to Lumsden. Riders got a respite from the blustery conditions and were greeted by the sunshine. BISSELL’s plan for the day was to ride for Paddy Bevin who finished second here last year. Seven escapees got away early, and Torkler took position at the front of the peloton to hold the leaders in check. He maintained a manageable gap to the seven man break, and with 20k to go BISSELL worked to close the gap. The group was all together with a few kilometers remaining and Jones, Vennell, and Baldwin led Bevin to the finish. Baldwin towed Bevin into the final corner where Paddy patiently waiting to unload his sprint. Bevin timed his sprint perfectly to take the win. Mitchell reflects on the race, “great team day. There are five or six strong teams here so it will be hard racing all week.” With the ten second time bonus for the stage win, Paddy becomes the overall leader and is also is the best U23 rider.
Stage 2 is a 85.74 mile course with the grueling uphill finish to the top of Bluff Hill.