Three new time trial winners claimed national honours at the Big Save Elite Road Cycling Championships in Napier today.
Taupo’s Patrick Bevin celebrated his move to World Tour team Cannondale Pro Cycling, with victory in the elite men’s time trial over lumpy terrain in testing conditions today.
Meanwhile Olympic track hopeful Rushlee Buchanan has kept her hopes of a road racing treble alive after her first time trial win on top of the New Zealand Criterium title she won last month.
There was a clean sweep by Waikato riders with Hayden McCormick claiming the under-23 honours to give his new ONE Pro Cycling its first international victory.
Strong winds made an already testing course tougher for today’s time trial based at the Church Road Winery and rolling over the hills near Taradale.
Buchanan had to recover from a restart, after she was sent the wrong way, to win the honours by just one second from her fellow Cycling New Zealand high performance track teammate Jaime Nielsen.
Nielsen (Waikato BOP), who was chasing her third straight national time trial win, was last to ride, coming home in 34:15.64 for the 23.2km journey.
But Buchanan and Marlborough’s Georgia Cattrick were given restarts and Nielsen had to wait before Buchanan edged her by one second.
"It’s great to win this for my United Healthcare team. While I’ve won the road race and the criterium, this was something I’ve always wanted," Buchanan said.
"The course suited me more than an open, flat course. It was so hard out there but I took out a fair bit of anger after having to restart."
Canterbury’s Sharlotte Lucas was third from Catterick, who had a top-25 finish at her first visit to the world championships last year.
Bevin, like Buchanan an accomplished and explosive road and track rider, showed his poise to dominate the elite men’s race over 40.5km.
He went through the first loop 24 seconds up on defending champion Joe Cooper (Avanti IsoWhey), but blasted the second lap to win in 52.20s.
Fellow Commonwealth Games track representative Tom Scully (Southland), in his first outing for UCI Pro Continental team Drapac, made the early running. Seventh through the first lap, Scully poured it on over the second lap to finish in 53:33.76.
It took until the penultimate ride from Bevin to dislodge him with Cooper finishing third in an impressive effort.
Behind him was new elite James Oram (Auckland), who joins Dion Smith and McCormick at ONE Pro Cycling, with Paul Odlin (Canterbury) and AG2R La Mondiale World Tour rider Jesse Sergent to follow.
"I’ve been working on my time trial and I knew this course would suit me," Bevin said. "I am thrilled to post the first international win for my new Cannondale team, it’s fantastic. That was so hard and at any stage I could have lost my advantage. "
While a time trial-road race double is rare, Bevin remains positive about his chances.
"Someone has to win the road race so why not me? It is such a hard course with so many options. If I can hang in there then I have a chance."
McCormick came out on top in a three-way battle in the under-23 race, winning in 55:56.89 with 14 seconds covering the first three riders. He finished ahead of Southland’s Liam Aitcheson and defending under-23 road champion Hamish Schreurs (Canterbury).
"I didn’t feel that well today but really battled through a tough course and big winds. It is going to be an exciting year moving to ONE Pro Cycling and have a couple of Kiwi friends with me. This was a great way to start," McCormick said.
Tomorrow is the 117km women’s road race with an initial 60km loop in the country near Taradale before returning for 4.5 laps of a 13km inner city course including the climb over Bluff Hill.
The elite and under-23 men’s race is on Sunday.