World Tour professionals Patrick Bevin and Georgia Williams have claimed the BDO Time Trial honours on the first day of the Vantage Elite and Under-23 Road National Championships in Napier.
The pair will get to wear the national champions jerseys in time trials on all the World Tour races throughout Europe this year.
Bevin, who was eighth in the time trial at the 2018 world championships, scored the first major win for his new CCC Team, which morphed out of the former BMC Racing World Tour team.
The 27-year-old had a ding-dong battle with defending champion and Commonwealth Games medallist Hamish Bond, with only one second separating the pair after the first of two laps of the challenging 20km course, with strong winds and two climbs before returning to the finish at Church Road Winery.
However a mechanical on the second lap cost Bond any chance, with Bevin producing a negative split second lap to win in 50:45.73, which was nearly two minutes faster than Bond who managed to re-attach his chain but it cost him any chance of defending his title. Fellow Waikato Bay of Plenty rider Hayden McCormick finished third just over 2min behind the winner.
“I am super happy to take this one. It is the first race of the year in a brand-new World Tour team, so to put one on the board is great for me personally, great for my new team and an honour to take the New Zealand jersey back to Europe for the time trials this year.
“I wanted to be strong today and 40kms is a long way. I wanted to make sure I had plenty left in the tank and I came in quite a bit quicker for the second lap.
“It is a great honour. To be a time trial specialist and honour that silver fern is a source of pride throughout the year.
“We hope to take the silver fern to the Tour de France and the back half of the year the focus is the Yorkshire Worlds. I was top-10 in Austria and the course suits me better this year and over the next 18 months I want to look at Yorkshire and the Tokyo Olympics as two big goals.”
Williams, who rides for the Mitchelton-Scott professional team on the World Tour, successfully defended her time trial title in another battle against 2016 winner Rushlee Buchanan, who was also runner-up last year.
Buchanan, now focussing on the track with the UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge later this month, showed plenty of fight. Williams led by 19 seconds at the halfway mark with Buchanan storming home to set the time to beat 29:02. However Williams fought her way to the line in 28:50 to be 12 seconds ahead of her rival.
“I am stoked, so happy and relieved. It is always harder to come in as the defending champ but to defend one jersey and have that ticked off, then I am really happy,” said Williams who will defend her road race title on Saturday.
“It was super-tough out there in the wind. I went a bit hard and got excited with the tail wind and I struggled out the back of the course up the hill into the wind.
“It is super-special to wear the New Zealand jersey during World Tour races. I got so many compliments in Europe that it was the best-looking jersey so I am keen to show it off again this year.
“Going into world champs I had no pressure of expectation coming off an injury and a rushed eight-week build-up. To get that result at the worlds just off the top-10 was a boost to the confidence and it is something I want to concentrate on this year and on to next year to Tokyo. The time trial at Tokyo is a huge goal for me.”
Buchanan’s fellow Vantage New Zealand elite track teammates Holly Edmondston and Kirstie James finished third and fourth respectively.
Auckland’s Jenna Merrick won the under-23 honours, pacing herself best as the only rider under 13 minutes for the second half of the 20km test in windy conditions. She clocked 30:18 to win by just four seconds from Georgia Christie and a further three seconds to Libby Arbuckle.
It proved a triumph for the Mike Greer Homes women’s team who had a clean-sweep of the podium, and an outstanding start of 2019 for Merrick, who had the misfortune to miss out on the world junior track and road championships late last year after an accident on a final training ride before she was meant to fly out to Europe.
Auckland’s James Fouche, who will defend his under-23 road title on Sunday, claimed the time trial honours in emphatic fashion. Fouche, who rode for the Team Wiggins continental pro team in Europe in 2018, won in 52:54.46. He was 20 seconds up after the first 20km lap and extended that to 1m10s over Auckland’s Ben Hamilton with Otago’s Kees Duyvesteyn third.
The focus shifts to the Vantage road races with the elite and under-23 women’s road race over 109kms starting at 10am on Saturday with the men’s race over 166kms from 8.30am on Sunday.
Results, BDO Time Trials:
Females, Under-23, 20kms: Jenna Merrick (Mike Greer Homes) 30:18.42, 1; Georgia Christie (Mike Greer Homes) 30:22.84, 2; Libby Arbuckle (Mike Greer Homes) 30:25.65, 3; Mikayla Harvey (Southland) 30:37.99, 4; Bryony Botha (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 30:50.24, 5.
Elite, 20km: Georgia Williams (Mitchelton Scott) 28:50.72, 1; Rushlee Buchanan (Waikato BOP) 29:02.53, 2; Holly Edmondston (Velo Project) 30:41.46, 3; Kirstie James (Southland) 3:55.73, 4; Bronwyn McGregor (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 30:59.70, 5.
Males, Under-23, 40kms: James Fouche (Auckland) 52:54.46, 1; Ben Hamilton (Auckland) 54:05.68, 2; Kees Duyvesteyn (Otago) 54:17.87, 3; Ethan Batt (Tasman) 54:49.78, 4; Joel Yates (Skoda Fruzio) 55:01.57, 5.
Elite, 40kms: Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) 50:45.73, 1; Hamish Bond (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 52:37.72, 2; Hayden McCormick (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 52:49.20, 3; George Bennett (Team Jumbo) 53:13.80, 4; Jake Marryatt (Canterbury) 53:35.55, 5.