Emily Collins (Wiggle-Honda) has won the New Zealand National Criterium Championships, in her home city of Auckland. Collins was heavily marked throughout the 30-minute race around a 1.1km circuit in downtown Takapuna. The 23-year-old won the sprint ahead of Sophie Williamson from Alexandra with Karen Fulton of Nelson third.
This is the first national title for Collins who has two top ten finishes in the national road race to her name. "I went in with a pretty relaxed attitude after coming off a nice off-season break" said Collins.
"I'm over the moon to win the New Zealand Criterium Nationals tonight."
Collins took Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's first ever road victory, the Omloop van het Hageland in Belgium, back in early March and is finishing the year with the form in which she started.
The short circuit created a fast and ferocious pace. "I was keen to be aggressive and make things tough from the go" said Collins.
"I was pretty heavily marked, so it proved a bit difficult to create a gap."
Collins saw that her best oppotunity for victory would be from a sprint finish. "I ended up deciding that my best chance would be to hold off for a sprint kick, so I tucked in for the final laps" she said. Collins chased down a solo rider who had gone in the final lap but had enough left in her legs to take out the win.
"I'm very pleased to win this on home soil," she said. "I'm an Auckland girl so it was great to have some supporters out edging me on. I'm thrilled to get another national title for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling."