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Roulston takes emotional solo win in Christchurch

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Elite men’s podium Greg Henderson, Hayden Roulston and Jeremy Yates.

Elite men’s podium Greg Henderson, Hayden Roulston and Jeremy Yates.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Michael Vink wins the U23 Men’s National Cycling Champs.

Michael Vink wins the U23 Men’s National Cycling Champs.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Hayden Roulston wins the 2011 Elite Men’s National Cycling Champs.

Hayden Roulston wins the 2011 Elite Men’s National Cycling Champs.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Greg Henderson (Sky) leads Jeremy Yates (Mico) on the penultimate lap.

Greg Henderson (Sky) leads Jeremy Yates (Mico) on the penultimate lap.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Hayden Roulston (HTC) and Michael Vink (Radioshack) are the two leaders with two laps remaining.

Hayden Roulston (HTC) and Michael Vink (Radioshack) are the two leaders with two laps remaining.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Julian Dean of Garmin Cervelo has lost contact with the leaders with three laps remaining.

Julian Dean of Garmin Cervelo has lost contact with the leaders with three laps remaining.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Roman van Uden is goes it alone one lap later.

Roman van Uden is goes it alone one lap later.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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The crowd lend a hand on the climb.

The crowd lend a hand on the climb.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Robin Reid of Tasman gets plenty of support as he leads the front group.

Robin Reid of Tasman gets plenty of support as he leads the front group.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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The Scotty Brown publicity vehicle takes a direct hit from a water bomb.

The Scotty Brown publicity vehicle takes a direct hit from a water bomb.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Riders descend Hackthorne Road.

Riders descend Hackthorne Road.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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The peloton follows 1:30 later.

The peloton follows 1:30 later.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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The break tackles the climb up Dyers Pass Road.

The break tackles the climb up Dyers Pass Road.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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A group of nine riders led by Jason Allen of Subway Pro Cycling give chase.

A group of nine riders led by Jason Allen of Subway Pro Cycling give chase.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Four riders have broken away on the first lap, led by Roman van Uden of Pure Black Racing.

Four riders have broken away on the first lap, led by Roman van Uden of Pure Black Racing.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)
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Michael Vink won the U23 race.

Michael Vink won the U23 race.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)

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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