American cyclist Carter Jones will take a 17-second lead into the final stage of the Tour of Southland after a strong individual time trial in Winton this morning.
Jones, riding for Bissell Pro Cycling, finished the 13km time trial in 17m38s, extending the narrow four-second advantage he held overnight.
Going into the stage with the slimmest of leads over Node 4-Subaru's Mike Northey, Jones produced a powerful performance to put him in the box seat as the field prepare to tackle the Tour's final stage - 87km trek from Winton to Invercargill this afternoon.
Northey also put in a strong time trial to hold onto second, while Taylor Gunman of Pure Black Racing retained third place.
Calder Stewart's Michael Vink clocked the fastest time trial of the morning, with a time of 17m28s.
If Jones can close out the victory this afternoon, he will become only the third international rider to win the Tour in its 56-year history.