In an incredible display of cycling power, Nicky Samuels has won the National Road Cycling Championships yesterday with Kate McIlroy in third as triathletes stamped their class on the event in Christchurch.
In a season that has also seen Teresa Adam win the K1 and Tour de Vineyards, Samuels and McIlroy further emphasised the quality of bike riding skills within the triathlon ranks.
Nicky Samuels was delighted with her victory, and was even more pleased she was able to ease into the race before the action hotted up late on.
“You need to learn all about the course and tactics and see what the other athletes are doing; the first couple of laps really were about that a bit of a warm up.
“When we were down to four and to catch the two up front and when they couldn’t hang on up the hill, with just four of us I knew there was a chance. You are always thinking that with four there are only 3 spots on the podium so you are toying with that but then when one of the girls got a bit tired and clipped a pedal going around the last round-a-bout it was such a shame but that left the three spots for the podium and a chance to stay away.”
Samuels believes the win sets her up for a great year.
“It just shows that despite not doing much cycling work in my programme my cycling strength is still there, even though I have been doing a lot of running. I’m happy with today, this is definitely a base training phase and is a good hit out, a good solid session like this will work wonders for later in the season.”
National Coach Greg Fraine said the day was as much about decisions made during racing as it was results.
“We are over the moon, really all we wanted to see the decision making process through the race and proof that the right decisions were being made, and first and third is confirmation of that, it is fantastic.
“We are not surprised with the results though; we know how good these two are. We are getting data on a daily basis from all of our athletes and with my cycling background I know how good they are and how they will stack up in cycling so we knew they were capable of it and it was around how they did things.”
Fraine wasn’t getting carried away with the results but was able to put them into a triathlon context.
“It is good training; it is a good base and gives them a focus. We have come off a long season and have a long season ahead of us so it is the first step on the way to London in 2012. The fact they are making good decisions is the biggest thing out of this, knowing we have the strength in our athletes to dominate on the bike.
“This is not an indictment on cycling but shows more what fulltime quality athletes can do. These two girls are professional athletes; they don’t do anything else other than sport. To come up against a number of young girls here that are putting themselves out there on the US and European circuit just shows what can be done.”
Kate McIlroy was thrilled with her podium finish too.
“It is always great to mix it up with the cyclists, Nicky is obviously a really strong cyclist and my cycling is coming on so I am happy to be on the podium today, the last few laps were really hard and I was just hanging on so yeah, I am really happy.
“Once Nicky went on the last hill I honestly really had no legs, we tried to peg her back but she was gone and it was a matter of fighting out for second and third and then hoping the bunch behind weren’t able to pull us in. Nicky rode really well and I am just happy to be on the podium.”
Full results at: www.bikenz.org.nz