Dion Smith takes King of the Mountains jersey for New Zealand
09 July 2018 06:35
Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Dion Smith became the first New Zealander to wear any of the Tour de France leaders' jerseys when he took the lead in the 'King of the Mountains' competition on stage 2 on Sunday. Smith will now wear the famous polka-dot jersey – or, in this case, skinsuit – on Monday's stage 3 team time trial, during which friends and family watching on from back home will easily be able to pick out the 25-year-old from Taupaki, near Auckland. "Someone had to do it," Smith smiled as it sank in that he was the first rider from his country to wear any of the Tour's jerseys. "New Zealand's a pretty small country, and cycling there's a small sport, so it will be really good for the younger generation coming through back home. It's really cool."ADVERTISEMENT Smith took the single point available towards the jersey competition on the fourth-category climb of the Côte de Pouzauges after 28km, as part of an early three-man breakaway alongside Direct Energie's Sylvain Chavanel and Michael Gogl (Trek-Segafredo). "It was the team's number-one objective: to get a jersey," Smith told Cyclingnews. "At the same time, I wanted to go for it. Obviously you never know if you're going to be faster than the other guys in the break, but I knew I had a good sprint. Obviously Chavanel's super-strong, too, so I was a little bit nervous, to be honest. But it was nice to get it. "I knew I had to stay on Chavanel, as I knew he was fast, strong and experienced, and then I just waited until the last moment, and managed to get the kick on him, and that was that," Smith explained about the moment he did enough to take one of professional cycling's most iconic jerseys.
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