Jesse Sergent is quickly becoming one of New Zealand's most accomplished road and track cyclists, but his resume is still lacking one thing - a national title. The Olympic and world championship track medallist is hoping to rectify that when he lines up a this weekend's national championships being held in the south island city of Christchurch.
Garmin-Cervelo neo-pro Jack Bauer is the pre-race favourite to claim his second road race honours on Sunday with Sergent among a group of challengers that also includes European professional Jeremy Yates, US-based pros Jeremy Vennell and Patrick Bevin from Team Bissell, in-form Southlander Tom Scully who is returning to the Garmin development team, and former PureBlack riders Tim Gudsell and Scott Lyttle.
Sergent is preparing for a massive year ahead which will likely culminate in a berth at the London Olympics. His best chance for a national title will come in the individual time trial, an event that the chrono specialist has surprisingly been unable to capture.
Sergent was second in the time trial at the nationals last year, finishing 28 seconds behind fellow Olympian Westley Gough, who will be racing in the Track World Cup in Beijing this weekend.
Sergent's only other podium at the nationals was third in the under-23 time trial won by Michael Vink in 2010.
The New Zealander won three individual time trials for Radioshack last year with prologue victories at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, the Eneco Tour and Tour du Poitiou Charentes. He went on to the overall stage honours in Belgium and French stage races to complete a remarkable debut year in the WorldTour.