"I said I wanted to come here and take the jersey back," Bevin said in a statement released by his team. "It’s a hard race to really target and it’s the first race of the year, but I’ve really progressed with my time trialling in the past couple of seasons. It’s become a real focus so to carry the silver fern in Europe is going to be a huge honour."
Bevin scorched around the course at an average speed of 47.291kph, running out a convincing winner in the event. Silver medallist Hamish Bond was the only rider to finish within two minutes of the CCC rider, coming in 1:52 behind. Hadyen McCormick took bronze, at 2:04.
The 40km course was described by Bevin as being "super honest" but he was quicker on the second lap than the first, and from the midway point his eventual victory was never in doubt.
"I wanted to be around the 50-minute mark as that is what has won it in the past," Bevin said. "It’s a course that is very dependent on conditions, you can probably get a two or three minute split on a good day versus a bad day so you never really know."
Bevin is now entering his fourth season at WorldTour level, having stepped up to the top division with Cannondale in 2016. He joined BMC Racing Team at the beginning of last season and remains in the set-up following its merger with Polish Pro Continental squad CCC.
He enjoyed a solid 2018 campaign. He was part of BMC’s winning effort in the team time trial at the Tour de France, and placed 4th overall at the Tour of Britain in September. The New Zealander will hope to return to the Grande Boucle in 2019, though more immediate appointments are Sunday’s national road race championship and the forthcoming Tour Down Under.
"I’m lucky in that I have a time trial-focused program this year, so I will do a lot of the week-long stage races up until the Tour de France, if all goes well,"Bevin said. "It would be really cool to ride with the silver fern at the Tour de France, and then the second half of the year will be focused on the World Championships in Yorkshire.
"I had a good Worlds in Austria last year and it was a real step up for me. It’s all about keeping that progression going with my time trialling and I have the opportunity now to have that as my focus."