Hamish Bond was simply the best against the clock on the first day of the BDO New Zealand Road Cycling Championships in Napier. Bond took his first elite national title in the time trial well ahead of Michael Vink and Jason Christie who took second and third place respectively. Georgia Williams finally claimed her first national title as she won the women’s race ahead of Rushlee Buchanan and Bronwyn MacGregor.
The Church Road Winery played host to the time trial for the third year in succession as the elite & U23 riders, both men and women, took on the same rolling 20km course with the elite and U23 men taking on an extra lap of the course.
In the absence of 2017 national time trial champion Jaime Nielsen a new champion awaited and both Georgia Williams and Rushlee Buchanan had their hands up to take the title. Buchanan came into the championships with a previous victory against the clock in Napier back in 2016, but Georgia Williams was looking to overturn a history of second place finishes . The field of 13 elite riders saw strong rides particularly from Bronwyn MacGregor, Sharlotte Lucas and Hannah van Kampen who were embroiled in a tough battle for medals, with 17 seconds separating the trio who all went under 31mins for the course.
But at the top of the standings Rushlee Buchanan and Georgia Williams were a class above, with the two of them the only ones to go under 30mins. Rushlee Buchanan, third last year, stopped the clock in a time of 29.16mins, an average speed of 41kph, but it was Georgia Williams, second last year, who stepped up and found that bit extra to finish in 29.02mins, an average of 41.33kph. Williams’ winning time was a whole 53 seconds faster than her silver medal winning time of 2017.
The U23 race saw Georgia Catterick claim the gold for Tasman in a time of just over 30 minutes. Her time of 30.07mins would have been good enough for bronze in the elite level race and saw her win the U23 title by 40 seconds from Mikayla Harvey, with Libby Arbuckle taking bronze in a time of 31.08mins.
The 15 strong line up for the elite men’s race was without World Tour defending champion Jack Bauer, but with both Jason Christie – second last year – and third placed Hamish Bond both present the race was set to be intense.
But Hamish Bond was in storming form, putting a full 1.29mins into Michael Vink who time trialled his way to the silver medal. Bond’s time of 50.48mins averaged an impressive 47.24kph for the course and was a stake in the ground for selection for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast later this year. Bond bettered his 2017 time of 53.06mins and Bauer’s 2017 winning time of 51.54mins by a considerable margin in what can only be described as a truly emphatic display.
The battle for second place was very strong between Michael Vink and Jason Christie, with Vink taking the silver medal by a narrow 9 second margin. Jason Christie in turn was 21 seconds ahead of Sam Horgan, with Paul Odlin completing the top 5. Christie’s ride was a case of what might have been though. After 17km of racing Christie, who was in pursuit of Bond, came off his bike. He managed to remount and claim a hard earned third place but he will be disappointed not to have climbed up the podium.
Ian Talbot claimed the gold medal in the U23 race with a time of 53.52mins, an average of 44.55kph. He was the only U23 rider to go under the 54 minute margin, with Jake Marryatt second in 54.10mins and James Fouche third in 54.27mins.