SUBWAY® Pro Cycling’s Paul Odlin and Sam Horgan had an early impact at the RaboDirect National Road Cycling Championship’s road race in Christchurch yesterday.
The team mates, who finished first and second in the championship’s elite time trial on Friday, made the first key break of the day’s racing with Odlin striking out on his own to take the lead at the half way point of the gruelling 183 kilometre race.
Odlin and the break were eventually reeled and in and in the closing stages Michael Vink created New Zealand cycling history as the first rider to take out the under-23 national title and finish first across the line. As well as winning the race in four hours 38 minutes and nine seconds, he finished six seconds ahead of senior elite winner James Williamson from Central Otago. It completed a very successful weekend for the young Christchurch rider who also won the under-23 time trial on Friday.
SUBWAY® Pro Cycling General Manager Hayden Godfrey said he was very satisfied with the team’s efforts at the National Elite Championships and was happy to see 20 year old Vink defend the under-23 title he won last year and for Williamson to win his first national title.
“For SUBWAY® Pro Cycling to have two guys on the podium and claim another national title was great,” he said. “We stuck to our plan for the road race where we had two riders in the day’s key break but they just ran out of gas after feeling the effects of Friday’s time trial efforts.”
Only 13 riders from the starting field of 70 completing the race.
“It is a tough course and you have to be absolutely one hundred percent on your game to stay in contention,” Godfrey added. “There is nowhere to hide on Dyers Pass and climbing that hill 11 times really takes its toll. Michael and James both rode very well and deserved their wins.”
Jeremy Yates (Mico Protrain, East Coast North Island) was second in the elite race finishing one minute and 49 seconds behind Vink and Jeremy Vennell (Team Bissell, ECNI) was third 16 seconds after Yates.
Patrick Bevin (Team Bissell, Waikato Bay of Plenty) was second in the under-23 race, six seconds behind Vink, with Josh Atkins (Canterbury) coming third 16 seconds after Bevin.
Vink and Williamson have both ridden for SUBWAY® Pro Cycling in the past. The team now turns its attention to the New Zealand Cycle Classic in the Manawatu later this month.
Godfrey said he was pleased to have the year underway and is looking forward to a busy calendar of racing in New Zealand, Asia and Australia with a roster he says includes a strong mix of youth and experience.
Results, RaboDirect National Road cycling Championships, 183km:
Elite: James Williamson (PureBlack Racing, Southland) 4:38:15, 1; Jeremy Yates (Mico Protrain, East Coast North Island) at 1:49, 2; Jeremy Vennell (Team Bissell, ECNI) at 2:04, 3.
Under 23: Michael Vink (Mico Protrain, Canterbury) 4:38:09, 1; (course record); Patrick Bevin (Team Bissell, Waikato Bay of Plenty) at six seconds, 2; Josh Atkins (Canterbury) at 22 secs, 3. ________________________________________