Hayden Roulston netted his fourth New Zealand national road race championship. The Trek Factory Racing rider beat Garmin-Sharp’s Jack Bauer in a sprint à deux in Christchurch on Sunday.
"It feels the best of the four wins to be honest," said Roulston, who became the first national winner for his re-named Trek Factory Racing team and won wearing the team's new black jersey.
"It is very difficult to win this race once, let alone winning it again and again,” he said happily after his win.
Roulston, a Christchurch native, was part of a three-man breakaway that rode away after six of the twelve laps. As well as Roulston and Bauer, the break also included 23-year old triathlete Tom Davison. The wind reigned on the 185 kilometre circuit around the Cashmere Hills and it made for a real hard race where only twelve riders manage to finish.
"I think this year was the hardest. I raced different to how I usually race at championships. This time I decided to go from the start and make those guys chase me. I hit 306 watts today - that's a massive, massive day for four and a half hours. We were all wondering with 40 kilometers to go if we would even make it to the finish it was that brutal of a race.”
The three riders worked well together until the final 400 meters. It came down to a sprint between Bauer and Roulston. The Garmin-Sharp rider could not add a second title to his 2010 victory.
"I am exhausted," Bauer said. "Anything but the win here is disappointing especially after a hard, hard day. I just had nothing left and completely cramped up when he [Roulston] went.
Roulston’s title means Trek Factory Racing has five national road race champions on the team for 2014. Stijn Devolder of Belgium, Luxembourg Bob Jungels, Croatian Robert Kiserlovski and new Austrian signing Riccardo Zoidl will also wear their national colours this year.