Canadian James Piccoli wins Tour of Southland

A pack of cyclists. (Christophe Ena/AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Canada’s James Piccoli won the Tour of Southland Saturday, becoming only the fourth overseas rider to win New Zealand’s premier cycling race in its 61-year-history.

The 26-year-old Montreal native finished second in the 13 kilometre (8 miles) individual time trial Saturday morning, then defended his 35 second overall lead in the 77 kilometre (48 miles) final stage in the afternoon.

Piccoli claimed the tour leader’s yellow jersey after the fifth stage from Invercargill to Gore on Friday. In a daring ride, Piccoli left the peleton on his own to chase down a breakaway group of six riders and finish fifth on the stage.

He had previously won the fourth stage up Bluff Hill, calling it "probably the steepest hill" he had ever raced up.

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