Roulston claims third New Zealand road national title

Oram claims under 23 championship en route to third overall

Hometown favourite Hayden Roulston rode down professional teammate George Bennett in the final 3km to claim his third victory in the New Zealand road national championships in Christchurch on Sunday.

Roulston overcame a 48=second deficit on the final of the 12 laps in the 180km elite men's race before the Radioshack-Nissan pair rode together to the finish. Roulston claimed the win to add to his titles won in 2006 and 2011.

Outstanding Auckland prospect James Oram, who had ridden bravely with Roulston in the latter stages, held on to be third overall and claim the under 23 honours.

It did not prove the fairytale finish for the country's most illustrious cyclist Julian Dean, who sprinted home the chase bunch to take the final place on the podium in his last race as a professional.

"I didn't know what to expect coming into it. I didn't feel like I was I super form, and I struggled in the beginning," Dean said. "Those young, small guys were really putting it to me and I struggled in the climbs but today's race almost paralleled my career - a lot of fighting, coming back to the front, getting dropped and coming back. I was happy with today.

"Taking the decision to retire here feels like the right thing, being able to share it with my family and a lot of other people, that was all anyone could ask for today."

Bennett, who finished third in the recently Tour de Vineyards, bridged up to the late break by Oram and Roman van Uden on the penultimate lap, before breaking clear on the final climb up the infamous Dyers Pass. He stretched his lead to 48 seconds but could not hold off the strength of Roulston and Oram on the final flat 21km to the finish.

"To be honest, I thought I had it but it was too long to the line from the hill," Bennett said. "They have changed the race course which makes it exceptionally hard for a bloke like me to win.

"I had everyone on the hill but then 21km solo when you are a little bloke like me and on a windy day, it was too far but it is a good result and I felt super good. If I was going to be beaten by anyone then it was good to be Roly, and it was a special moment to cross the line with him."

It proved a superb effort from Roulston, who said he was not confident of his chances late in the race. "The weather definitely drained a lot of energy from the riders today. The big break up the road early put a lot of pressure on the riders mentally," Roulston said.

"I was prepared to let George win the race, and I was only working with James Oram to help him win the under 23. He's a great kid, great potential for the future, but I just started to come good on the last 5km and decided I had the gas."

He also gave praise to the retiring Dean.

"Julian came here and wanted a good race so he's gone out on a high and that's awesome. The crowd was amazing, pretty mind-blowing to see so many people up on the hill."

An early break from a group of a dozen riders pushed to a five-minute buffer before they were reeled in and Van Uden and Oram edged to a 30-second advantage over Roulston who in turn had pushed clear from the main chase group that included Dean, Olympic medallist Jesse Sergent and defending overall winner Michael Vink.

While Van Uden faded, Oram pushed on with Roulston before Bennett and Michael Torkler joined the leaders. Bennett showed his renowned prowess up the climb, but the change to a final lap on the flat played into the hands of the powerful Roulston.

The race began on an emotional moment with Dean given the honour of leading off the peloton with his two young sons Tanner and Val joining him in his final race. Dean heads to Europe on Tuesday to begin his new career as team management with the WorldTour team Orica GreenEdge.

Full Results

Elite and U23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hayden Roulston4:37:18 
2George Bennett0:00:00 
3James Oram0:00:11 
4Julian Dean0:00:50 
5Jesse Sergent  
6Michael Torckler  
7Michael Vink  
8Tim Rush  
9Roman Van Uden0:03:38 
10Alex Frame0:03:58 
11Dion Smith  
12Jack Bauer  
13Michael Northey  
14Hamish Schreurs  
15Taylor Gunman  
16Scott Thomas  
17Nick Lovegrove  
18James Early  
19Joseph Cooper0:04:10 
20Samuel Horgan0:09:07 
DNFBrodie Catterick  
DNFMitchell Podmore  
DNFThomas Ashley  
DNFNathan Tew  
DNFMatthew Zenovich  
DNFTom Vessey  
DNFKieran Hambrook  
DNFKristoff Ford  
DNFChad Adair  
DNFJames Williamson  
DNFDean Fulton  
DNFSean Hambrook  
DNFHardy Michel  
DNFRichard Lawson  
DNFJosh Atkins  
DNFDarcy Ellerm-Norton  
DNFBradley Tuhi  
DNFBen Wortelboer  
DNFThomas Hubbard  
DNFSam Friend  
DNFDylan Kennett  
DNFTayla Harrison  
DNFSimon Acker  
DNFFraser Gough  
DNFBen Robertson  
DNFNick Miller  
DNFJason Christie  
DNFGregory Henderson  
DNFJacob Grieve  
DNFRobin Reid  
DNFJeremy Inglis  
DNFSam Steele  
DNFDaniel Molyneux  
DNFSam Bewley  
DNFCarl Jones  
DNFAndrew Hagan  
DNFMichael Naylor  
DNFGreg Taylor  
DNFJason Allen  
DNFNick Clark  
DNFJames Mccoy  
DNFGordon Mccauley  
DNFMorgan Smith  
DNFJoshua Aldridge  
DNFAlexander Ray  
DNFMatthew Talbot  
DNFMarc Ryan  
DNFJosh Page  
DNFWestley Gough  
DNFAnthony Chapman  
DNFJames Canny  
DNFTom Francis  
DNFThomas Scully  
DNFPaul Odlin  

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