Cycling: Michael Vink holds off Hamish Bond for Tour of Southland victory

Canterbury rider Michael Vink's has held off cross-code star Hamish Bond to win cycling's Tour of Southland for the first time in horrendous conditions.

Olympic rowing champion Bond blitzed the morning's time trial to put the pressure on Vink, before the afternoon's final stage into Invercargill.

That brought Bond to within 18 seconds of Vink, but the 26-year-old - who's finished runner-up the last two tours - held on to win by that same margin.

Commonwealth Games mountain biking champion Sam Gaze was a distant third, with Dylan Kennett winning the final 77km stage.

"It certainly feels like I've got the monkey off my back," he told Brendon Telfer on RadioLIVE's Saturday Sport. "But those thoughts always go through your mind over the last few days - is it going to happen again or will this be my year?

"To be wearing the yellow jersey on the final day and pulling it off is surreal."

Bond threw a cat among the pigeons with a stunning solo ride over the 13km individual time trial around Winton - a discipline he has made his specialty since swapping to the bike.

He clocked 15m 51.47s - 50 seconds clear of second-placed Kennett, with Vink another 24 seconds adrift.

"It was quite a short time trial, but with it being what I've worked on the most over the past two years, I had hoped to perform well, but I never hoped to  go that well," said Bond.

"I really laid it all on the line on that last stage. I threw the kitchen sink at him, but he was never more than 10 metres behind me."

The final stage that was expected to be a mere procession, became a little more competitive, but Vink had save enough to see victory through.

"I felt like I rode a good time trial," he said afterwards. "I rode within myself and I've got good legs for this afternoon.

"It doesn't really matter whether it's 18 seconds or two minutes, the tactics are the same."