The final day of the Tour of Southland on Saturday consisted of two stages, a 12.9km time trial in the morning followed by a leg-burning 90km ride in the afternoon.
The weather added to the already punishing schedule, the cyclists were battered by hailstones and freezing winds as the temperature fell to 2C.
Waimate rider Heath Blackgrove felt the strain from the previous stages in the time trial, the Texas resident suffered hamstring problems and eventually finished in 18th. Oamaru's Tim Rush finished in 31st place after a respectable performance.
In the final stage back to Invercargill, Blackgrove finished 50th shortly followed by Rush in 52nd.
Blackgrove's team found themselves on the back foot as a crash forced one of his teammates out of the Tour. The weakened Powernet team left Blackgrove without the support he needed having gone into the Tour as pre-race favourite.
Overall general classification results recorded Blackgrove in 9th position with Rush in 27th.
Rush finished 48th last year and 74th in 2010, the jump to 27th showed his vast improvement after just two years of competing.
The 22-year-old is looking forward to next year and racing overseas but first plans to recover from last week.
"It was tough trying to keep up with the pro riders but I've learnt a lot and I'd love to push to the next level and race in Australia next year," he said.
"You just feel dead when you finish but there's plenty of people feeling worse than me."
Rush would like to thank John Crombie and Rick and Janis Selse for their support.