Te Awamutu teenager Hayden McCormick was the best of the New Zealand riders over a challenging time-trial course at the world road cycling championships in the Netherlands today.
McCormick, a medallist in last month's junior track world championships in Invercargill, finished 23rd from 66 starters in the junior men's individual time-trial.
He started conservatively to be 30th through the first time check in the 26.6km course before pushing strongly to move to 18th at the second time check, only 21s down on the eventual winner.
McCormick, who will also ride the road race later in the week, found the 1200m climb on the 12 percent gradient of the famed Cauberg Hill testing as he slipped slightly back to 23rd in 36 minutes 45.52 seconds. He finished just over a minute back from the winner, Oskar Svendsen from Norway.
Fellow New Zealander Nick Bain (Auckland) was 39th in 37:44.37.
North Harbour rider James Oram, 19, suffered a mechanical problem near the end of his ride that cost him some spots in the under-23 race. Last year's silver medallist in the junior division at the world championships, who is based in the US, had to settle for 37th place.
Jason Christie, based in Belgium this year, was 45th in 48:45.78.
The elite action is underway tomorrow when Linda Villumsen competes in the elite women's individual pursuit.
The testing terrain of this course presents a challenge for the diminutive kiwi, who is at her best on technical circuits. The Orica-AIS professional is aiming for her fourth successive medal.
Olympic silver medallist and GreenEdge teammate Judith Arndt of Germany will defend her title in her final year of competition in the sport, while Great Britain's Emma Pooley is also expected to challenge after managing sixth in London.
The trio have shared all the medals over the last two world championships in the time-trial.
Olympic gold medallist Kristin Armstrong retired after London while surprise bronze medallist Olga Zabelinskaya, who pipped Villumsen by 1.8s, is also not competing.
The elite men's time trial is on Thursday (NZT) with London Olympic medallists Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley riding for New Zealand.
- © Fairfax NZ News