Roulston takes emotional solo win in Christchurch

Second national title for HTC rider

Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist Hayden Roulston made the start to the racing season he had hoped for by winning his second RaboDirect New Zealand national road race championship in Christchurch on Sunday.

"It's a very emotional win for me," Roulston said. "I feel like I did a lot of the hard work today."

The HTC Colombia professional reckons he is in the leanest and best shape of his life and needed all his stamina to beat arguably the classiest field ever assembled in the event's 77-year history.

After trailing a breakaway group that grew to about a dozen riders past the halfway stage on the 186km course by around five minutes, Roulston embarked on a solo chase.

His affinity with the arduous Dyers Pass Road hill climb enabled him to make inroads on the pacesetters who included RadioShack professional and world pursuit medallist Jesse Sergent (Feilding), Roman van Uden (Pure Black Racing) and Tasman's 1996 champion Robin Reid.

With two laps to go, Roulston encouraged last year's pacesetter Christchurch's Michael Vink to join him on a breakaway and he would guide him to the line. Vink, who joins Lance Armstrong's Trek Livestrong development team this year, eventually finished fourth overall and claimed the coveted Under 23 champion's jersey.

"He's one of the brightest riding hopes in the country, and he's proved it again this year," Roulston said of the 19-year-old.

Roulston finished in a time of four hours, 43 minutes and 29 seconds, with Melbourne-based Team Sky professional Greg Henderson second and Jeremy Yates (Team Mico Revolution) third, both 29 seconds behind.

Roulston said he needed to be in great shape because "there's always a huge weight of expectation on me racing in New Zealand".

He said the biggest payoff is the chance to wear the champion's national jersey on the ProTour around the globe for the next 12 months, starting in a few days time with the Tour Down Under in South Australia.

Henderson, who will also race in Tour Down Under, made a bold showing, peeling off from the peloton with two laps to go to chase down Roulston.

"I was making some time on the flat but I was getting tagged off on the climb. I was lucky (Tim) Gudsell, (Jack) Bauer and (Jeremy) Yates came with me and we unloaded about 15 other guys.

"But Roly's in terrific condition, and the best man won today."

Yates, who went into the race feeling off-colour from a sore throat, said a win had not been within his reach so it was fantastic to finish third.

"It was a messy race and there were panic stations in the pack, but I kept my cool."

The event was held in warm, breezy conditions, and organisers were thrilled with the turnout with supporters packing every vantage point, especially on the hill climb.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hayden Roulston4:43:29 
2Gregory Henderson0:00:29 
3Jeremy Yates  
4Tim Gudsell0:00:52 
5Robin Reid0:03:46 
6Sam Bewley0:05:22 
7Jesse Sergent0:05:23 
8Jack Bauer0:05:25 
9Roman Van Uden0:08:57 
10Michael Northey  
11Matt Sillars0:09:49 
12Scott Lyttle  
13Justin Kerr  
14Peter Latham  
15Julian Dean  
16Andy Hagen0:12:23 
17Eliot Crowther0:16:30 
DNFMark Langlands  
DNFJoseph Cooper  
DNFBrad Carter  
DNFRyan Wills  
DNFMatt Robinson  
DNFDaniel Molyneux  
DNFJason Allen  
DNFGary Carleton  
DNFClinton Avery  
DNFMarc Ryan  
DNFGreg Taylor  
DNFChris Kendall  
DNFBen Olesen  
DNFJames Early  
DNFBrock Roberts  
DNFBrad Tilby  
DNFDavid Ayre  
DNFChris Nicholson  
DNFNick Rice  
DNFJeremy Vennell  
DNFLogan Mort  
DNFAndrew Widdup  
DNFShem Rodger  
DNFRichard Rollinson  
DNFJohnathon Gee  
DNFMike Crawford  
DNFIan Smallman  
DNFMathew Gorter  
DNFPaul Odlin  
DNFNicholas Lovegrove  
DNFSamuel Horgan  
DNFWestley Gough  
DNFScott Wilder  
DNFMatt Shallcrass  
Under 23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Vink4:43:59 
2James Williamson0:03:49 
3James Mccoy0:03:50 
4George Bennett0:03:51 
5Jason Christie0:09:20 
6Alexander Ray0:16:00 
DNFJosh Atkins  
DNFKieran Hambrook  
DNFThomas Hubbard  
DNFNelson Shaw  
DNFCameron Karwowski  
DNFDarcy Ellerm-Norton  
DNFBrehan Cairns  
DNFNicholas Hand  
DNFTaylor Gunman  
DNFRuaraidh Mcleod  
DNFLogan Somers-Edgar  
DNFMathew Wheatcroft  
DNFFinn Brazier  
DNFPatrick Bevan  
DNFSean Joyce  
DNFAndrew Van Der Heyden  
DNFDillon Bennett  
DNFScott Thomas  
DNFThomas Delany  
DNFSteven Furminger  
DNFDan Seagar  
DNFColin Cornberg  
DNFAndy Mcnab  
DNFJoshua Aldridge  
DNFSam Lindsay  
DNFAlex Mcgregor  
DNSThomas Scully  
DNSLouis Crosby  

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