New Zealand cyclists enjoyed wins on both sides of the Atlantic over the weekend in preparation towards the Beijing Olympics.
Hayden Roulston led the BikeNZ endurance track team home to win the Grand Prix Etienne de Wilde in Belgium while Wanganui’s Catherine Cheatley took out the highly ranked CSC Invitation in the USA.
Leading Mountainbiker Kashi Leuchs, hoping for selection to his third Olympics, was 13th in the fourth round of the UCI World Cup crosscountry in Andorra.
The BikeNZ track team worked superbly together to set up Roulston who broke clear with four others on his way to winning the 175km race.
“This was a very good day overall for all of our guys and really good preparation for the track programme,” BikeNZ Performance Programme Manager, Andy Reid said.
The kiwis covered every break with Sam Bewley (Rotorua) and Mike Northey (North Shore) in the break that lasted for the first 70kms while Wes Gough (Waipukurau) and Roulston (Ashburton) got away in a group of 20, and were joined by Northey and Logan Hutchings (Tauranga) which proved to the winning break.
A group of four went clear near the finish with Roulston too strong to win while Hutchings finished sixth and Gough in the bunch.
“Marc Ryan and Jesse Sergent were very solid in the peleton with Marc in particular doing a good job to set things up for Roulston to go across to lead group.
“Sam finished at the back of the peloton and won the king of the mountain honours, while Northey hit the wall after a superb job working hard in both breaks.”
The group line up for the Memorial Phillippe Van Coningsloo in Belgium, which will be their toughest one day race so far, with further road races planned for the rest of the month before going into camp to prepare for Beijing.
Cheatley, still to be confirmed in the Beijing team, prevailed over one of the strongest fields assembled in the CSC Classic's 11 year history with a superb performance in Arlington, Virginia.
Cheatley, riding for her US Cheerwine team, was rewarded for her persistent attacking in the 40-lap criterion around a 1km course in downtown Arlington. She ended up in a three-rider break that nearly lapped the field.
Cheatley proved the strongest, winning ahead of Laura Kroepsch (ValuAct Capital) and Andrea Dvorak (Colavita-Sutter Home).
"I was in a break earlier and I knew if it was hard and I was hurting that everyone else was hurting too. I had just come back from a break and I went straight after,” Cheatley told Cycling News.
"I led on the homestretch for like 25 of the 30 laps we were away. And then Laura finally said, 'Can I get a prime too?' and I said sure, if you want to take the headwind.
“I love racing with this team. I know I can go in a break and try to make it work with a break but I also know that if it doesn’t work then we have a world class sprinter (Laura Van Gilder) in my team behind me.”
Leuchs produced a solid performance to finished 13th in the latest round of the mountainbike world cup at altitude in Andorra.
The Cannondale-Predestein team rider finished 4min 16sec behind winner Christioph Sauser (Switzerland), who ended the winning run of multi-world champion Julien Absalon, who finished just ahead of Leuchs.
Results, CSC Invitational, Arlington, Virginia, 40kms:
Catherine Cheatley (NZL) Cheerwine, 1, Laura Kroepsch (USA) ValuAct Capital, 2; Andrew Dvorak (USA) Colavita-Sutter Home, 3.
Grand Prix Etienne De Wilde, Gent, Belgium, 175km:
Hayden Roulston (NZL) 1, Bjorn Coomans (BEL) 2, Davy Commeyne (BEL) 3.
UCI Mountainbike World Cup, round 4, Andorra:
Christoph Sauser (Sui) Specialized Factory Racing, 1; Burry Stander (RSA) GT Bicycles at 0:09, 2; Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis at 0:18, 3; Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Cannondale-Vredestein at 4:16, 13.