Star Kiwi cyclist Rushlee Buchanan added another title to her illustrious collection with victory in the Vantage Criterium National Championships in Auckland.  Buchanan, who has won a record four national road titles and the time trial honours, added her fourth national criterium success with an emphatic sprint on the streets of Takapuna.

The 29 year old Buchanan was thrilled with her efforts in her first race back following an arduous season with her UnitedHealthcare pro team in USA, as she amps up for a return to the Vantage Cycling New Zealand Elite Track Team.

Buchanan was hoping the 35 minute race around an exciting 1.9km circuit in downtown Takapuna would not come down to a sprint.  ”I was a bit nervous because it’s my first race back for the summer season and I knew all the track girls had good legs if it came down to a sprint,” Buchanan said.  “It is a pretty short race so it came down to a sprint and I had to position myself right for the sprint.”

“Every national title means the same to me. It is an awesome honour and especially when I get to wear the jersey overseas so much. I love wearing the silver fern overseas.”

Buchanan will return to the track programme in readiness for the upcoming Oceania Track Championships in Cambridge and then look to defend her national road honours in Napier in the New Year.

The race saw a number of nervous legs in the peloton with few breakaway attempts able to really establish over the course of the race.  The likes of Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath were among the principle animators on the front of the race in the early stages of the afternoon’s event.  But in the end it would all come down to a final bunch sprint finish.

Buchanan nestled behind a select group comprising her fellow elite track mates – defending champion Racquel Sheath, Bryony Botha and Michaela Drummond – in the final lap. She was able to drive strongly out of the final turn to score the win from Sheath and Drummond.

Elite women brief results:
Pos. Rider

1

Rushlee Buchanan

2

Racquel Sheath

3

Michaela Drummond

4

Bryony Botha

5

Lydia Rippon

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