Jason Christie has called his victory in the elite men’s race at the BDO New Zealand Road Cycling Championships the biggest win he’s ever had after taking the title for the second time in three years. After crashing in the time trial on Friday – which he still placed third in – Christie relied on his sprint to take the win and reflected on what had been a tough build up to the race.
Asked how he felt after winning his second title in three years in Napier Jason Christie simply said, “Sore.”
“Under my leg, I crashed pretty heavily on Friday and it hasn’t been that pleasant the last couple of days.”
That crash took place while Christie was in full flight on his time trial rig heading in hot pursuit of Hamish Bond in the elite men’s time trial. Speaking of the crash Christie said, “It was like an S-bend descent. I got around the first corner alright and on the second corner there was quite a bit of tar, and apparently – I didn’t notice with my aero helmet on – it had been drizzling a little bit. I was obviously going a rapid speed down there and the next moment I’m into the gutter.”
Christie carried one or two scars from the crash to the start line today, knowing that he was still one of the riders to watch, but that combined with sickness a week previous served to make for a most unpleasant lead up to Napier. “It definitely knocked me around a bit, but then I had the vomiting bug about a week ago which knocked me around a bit, so it hasn’t been the best build up for nationals this year,” Jason said.
The race itself was very multi-faceted with so much going on throughout. Christie was initially caught on the back foot and forced to chase the large group that contained Tom Scully amongst others some 25km from the city circuit. “[It was] different to most other years. There was a group that went away about 25km before we came into town and there was a few good guys like Tom Scully etc; and I had to go across myself. I didn’t think I was going to make it across at one point it was that hard. Then I got there and everyone worked together well, that group was awesome so thanks to all those guys who were out in front. We basically just drilled it all day, and then a few guys came across and it split up towards the end.”
Crunch point came in the final three or four laps where George Bennett triggered the split in the lead group that would eventually draw out Hayden McCormick, Michael Torckler and Jason Christie. Even with Michael Torckler up the road in the final stages of the race Christie’s focus was clear. “Getting to the hill on the last lap I knew I just had to hold on to George Bennett. I didn’t know if it was going to be possible because I’d crashed, I was a bit slower, a bit injured. But I held on to him, I knew I could out-sprint everyone that was no big deal. I spent some time racing in America racing Crits last year and coming into the corners it was no problem. I led out and it was ok,” Christie said.
All in all the significance of the win is made all the sweeter given the difficulty of the build up and Friday’s crash. “Last year I really wanted to come back and win it having won the first year here, and coming second was quite disappointing in some ways. And after everything, building up to this it’s pretty special, it’s probably the biggest win I’ve ever had.”