Lachlan Dickson timed his run to perfection to take out the under 19 boys road race in an exciting finish on the third and final day of the Vantage Age Group Road National Championships in Pleasant Point, near Timaru.

The pinnacle national road cycling event for age group riders attracted 545 riders from 33 clubs around New Zealand for the three-day competition that began with an individual time trial on Friday and road races on Saturday and Sunday.

The road races, sponsored by South Canterbury Toyota took in a 21km loop of rolling South Canterbury countryside, with women completing four laps and the men five laps.

Dickson hid himself well inside the confines of the large peloton for the entirety of the 105km slog around a challenging course, with no mention of him from the commentators on his way to his first national road title.

A large portion of the race was dominated by a group of six riders, who were eventually picked off one by one by the chasing pack. Hamilton’s Drew Christensen, part of the breakaway, was joined by Counties Manukau’s Josh Kench and the two of them made a concerted effort to not make it a bunch sprint for the line. When the race turned from home, a couple of chasers took off from the front of the peloton and the bunch came back together.

As the large crowd packing the finishing straight found its voice, it was Counties Manukau’s Lachie Dickson who emerged victorious in the desperate sprint to the line. Kiaan Watts (Te Awamutu), who joins Dickson in the Cycling New Zealand team to the upcoming junior world track championships, was second, while Auckland’s Ewart Bower was rewarded with third place after chasing down the last breakaway.  

The impressive Ally Wollaston (Te Awamutu), another rider heading to the junior track world championships, either covered every move or was part of every move, on her way to winning the under 19 women’s road race. She was not without a challenge though as she was joined by Leeston’s Henrietta Christie, Hannah Bartram (Pegasus) and the Counties Manukau pairing of Ella Wyllie and Stella Nightingale in a core group who emerged as the front runners, trading attacks throughout the 84km course.

The five lapped off all the way into the final kilometre when, rather oddly, they almost came to a standstill as none of them fancied a long sprint to the line. As they inched closer to the 200m, it was Bartram who jumped first, on the right, but Wollaston snuck up the inside to take it on the line. Bartram was well rewarded for her efforts, taking silver, while Nightingale rounded off the podium ahead of Wyllie and Christie.

Southland rider Corbin Strong added another title to his growing palmares, leading time trial winner Kees Duyvesten and Andrew Bidwell (Tasman) across the into claim the under 23 race, while Annamarie Lipp (Canterbury TC) took out the women’s race.

Former Oceania under-23 time trial champion, Jake Marryatt took the honours in the senior men’s race, while Kate McIlroy, whose name will be familiar to many after representing New Zealand in triathlon, cycling and running, won the women’s race.  

In the final masters races of the event, local rider Chris Karton took advantage of his local knowledge to complete the back-to-back double, adding road race gold to his time trial win from Friday in a repeat performance of last year’s national championships in Carterton. Counties Manukau’s Sam Gardiner took the masters two race.

The event, organised and sanctioned by Cycling New Zealand, is hosted by Cycling South Canterbury and generously sponsored and supported by Vantage Windows & Doors, South Canterbury Toyota, Placemakers Timaru & Twizel / Pink Batts, Trust Aoraki and Alpine Energy.

Results

Men:
Under 19: Lachlan Dickson (Counties Manukau) 2:36:49s, 1; Kiaan Watts (Te Awamutu) 2:36:50s, 2; Ewart Bower (Auckland) 2:36:50s, 3. Under 23: Corbin Strong (Southland) 2:32:06s, 1; Kees Duyvesten (Otago) same time, 2; Andrew Bidwell (Tasman) 2:32:06st, 3. Senior: Jake Marryatt (Canterbury TT) 2:33:09, 1; Glenn Haden (Wanganui) 2:33:10s, 2; Logan Griffin (Te Awamutu) 2:33:11s, 3. Masters 1: Chris Karton (South Canterbury) 2:50:56s, 1; Brett Grieve (NZ Army) 2:50:56s, 2; Marc Prutton (Canterbury TT) 2:51:00s, 3. Masters 2: Sam Gardiner (Counties Manukau) 2:46:19, 1; Glenn Rewi (Papanui) 2:47:47s, 2; Stuart Holder (Counties Manukau) 2:47:47, 3.

Women:
Under 19: Ally Wollaston (Te Awamutu) 2:30:34s, 1; Hannah Bartram (Pegasus) same time, 2; Stella Nightingale (Counties Manukau) 2:30:35s, 3. Under 23: Annamarie Lipp (Canterbury TC) 2:30:20s, 1; Emma Smith (Leeston) 2:30:39s, 2; Kate Smith (Canterbury TC) 2:31:41s, 3. Senior: Kate McIlroy (Port Nicholson/Poneke) 2:30:20s, 1; Amy Hollamby (South Canterbury) same time, 2; Alicia Evans (Counties Manukau) st, 3. Masters 1: Erin Wolland (Cycling CHB) 02:38:37s, 1.

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