Tim Rush (Cycling Timaru) claimed the win in the senior men's road race at the Vittoria Club Road National Championships. Rush finished over a minute ahead of second placed rider Simon Anderson (Pegasus Cycling) and three minutes ahead of Joshua Kuysten (Forestland Wheelers) who took the sprint for third.
Tim Rush (Cycling Timaru) took a convincing win in the senior division of the Vittoria Club Road National Championships in Alexandra. Rush crossed the line solo, more than a minute ahead of second placed Simon Anderson (Pegasus Cycling Club), with Joshua Kuysten (Forestland Wheelers) taking third, a further two minutes back.
The senior men and under 23 men started together on their pursuit of separate national titles, with seven laps of a challenging 20 kilometre circuit ahead of them. With a thick layer of frost around, one might have expected the race to get underway slowly as the riders tried to warm up. However, this was not the case for Tim Chapman (Cycling Otago) and Nicholas Ross (Pegasus Cycling Club) as they went on the attack virtually from the gun, building up a substantial lead over the combined peloton behind them.
There were a number of attempts to bridge across to them from the peloton behind, but the first to stick was under 23 rider, and eventual overall race winner, Callum Gordon, who made his move on the third lap of seven.
A lap later, Rush decided it was time to try and bring back the three leaders, and attacked with a group of three other riders to bridge to the lead. “We all worked well but struggled to pull back much time. I think it was the start of the sixth lap when the break I was with wasn’t up to much and I rode from them trying to bridge to the front that had been there most of the day. By now the wind had picked up and was bloody hard work along the top section of the course,” said Rush.
Gordon had left his breakaway companions for dead at this point, and Rush picked them off one by one, first catching Ross, then Chapman, and leaving them to the peloton behind. Rush was now in a strong position to take out the senior title, but he was not planning on letting Gordon have an easy ride to the overall race win. “I tried to take time out of Callum [Gordon] but he was on a mission and I didn’t eat much out of his lead. So I just kept trucking along to hold off the bunch,” said Rush.
Rush hit the final climb some two and a half minutes down on Gordon, but far more importantly, he was still around a minute ahead of his closest competition in the senior division as he raced to a well-deserved victory at the top of the hill.
Behind him, Anderson and under 23 rider Anton O’Connell (Cycling Southland) had pushed hard to keep clear of the bunch as well, with Anderson taking second in the senior division, with Kuysten just managing to hold off Andrew Hagan (Port Nicholson Poneke Cycling Club) for third place a further two minutes later.