Roulston claims third New Zealand road national title

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

Swipe to scroll horizontally
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 SergentRow 4 - Cell 2
6Michael TorcklerRow 5 - Cell 2
7Michael VinkRow 6 - Cell 2
8Tim RushRow 7 - Cell 2
9Roman Van Uden0:03:38
10Alex Frame0:03:58
11Dion SmithRow 10 - Cell 2
12Jack BauerRow 11 - Cell 2
13Michael NortheyRow 12 - Cell 2
14Hamish SchreursRow 13 - Cell 2
15Taylor GunmanRow 14 - Cell 2
16Scott ThomasRow 15 - Cell 2
17Nick LovegroveRow 16 - Cell 2
18James EarlyRow 17 - Cell 2
19Joseph Cooper0:04:10
20Samuel Horgan0:09:07
DNFBrodie CatterickRow 20 - Cell 2
DNFMitchell PodmoreRow 21 - Cell 2
DNFThomas AshleyRow 22 - Cell 2
DNFNathan TewRow 23 - Cell 2
DNFMatthew ZenovichRow 24 - Cell 2
DNFTom VesseyRow 25 - Cell 2
DNFKieran HambrookRow 26 - Cell 2
DNFKristoff FordRow 27 - Cell 2
DNFChad AdairRow 28 - Cell 2
DNFJames WilliamsonRow 29 - Cell 2
DNFDean FultonRow 30 - Cell 2
DNFSean HambrookRow 31 - Cell 2
DNFHardy MichelRow 32 - Cell 2
DNFRichard LawsonRow 33 - Cell 2
DNFJosh AtkinsRow 34 - Cell 2
DNFDarcy Ellerm-NortonRow 35 - Cell 2
DNFBradley TuhiRow 36 - Cell 2
DNFBen WortelboerRow 37 - Cell 2
DNFThomas HubbardRow 38 - Cell 2
DNFSam FriendRow 39 - Cell 2
DNFDylan KennettRow 40 - Cell 2
DNFTayla HarrisonRow 41 - Cell 2
DNFSimon AckerRow 42 - Cell 2
DNFFraser GoughRow 43 - Cell 2
DNFBen RobertsonRow 44 - Cell 2
DNFNick MillerRow 45 - Cell 2
DNFJason ChristieRow 46 - Cell 2
DNFGregory HendersonRow 47 - Cell 2
DNFJacob GrieveRow 48 - Cell 2
DNFRobin ReidRow 49 - Cell 2
DNFJeremy InglisRow 50 - Cell 2
DNFSam SteeleRow 51 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel MolyneuxRow 52 - Cell 2
DNFSam BewleyRow 53 - Cell 2
DNFCarl JonesRow 54 - Cell 2
DNFAndrew HaganRow 55 - Cell 2
DNFMichael NaylorRow 56 - Cell 2
DNFGreg TaylorRow 57 - Cell 2
DNFJason AllenRow 58 - Cell 2
DNFNick ClarkRow 59 - Cell 2
DNFJames MccoyRow 60 - Cell 2
DNFGordon MccauleyRow 61 - Cell 2
DNFMorgan SmithRow 62 - Cell 2
DNFJoshua AldridgeRow 63 - Cell 2
DNFAlexander RayRow 64 - Cell 2
DNFMatthew TalbotRow 65 - Cell 2
DNFMarc RyanRow 66 - Cell 2
DNFJosh PageRow 67 - Cell 2
DNFWestley GoughRow 68 - Cell 2
DNFAnthony ChapmanRow 69 - Cell 2
DNFJames CannyRow 70 - Cell 2
DNFTom FrancisRow 71 - Cell 2
DNFThomas ScullyRow 72 - Cell 2
DNFPaul OdlinRow 73 - Cell 2

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