Hayden Roulston defends national cycling title

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 15:38 12/01/2014
Hayden Roulston
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
TOP CYCLIST: Hayden Roulston has won the national road cycling championship.

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Hayden Roulston has defended his national road racing cycling title, outsprinting rival and 2010 winner Jack Bauer in Christchurch today.

Roulston put the pressure on early as he, Bauer and unheralded local triathlete Tom Davison raced the best part of the 183.7km race alone.

Most expected World Pro Tour riders Roulston and Bauer, who had four national road racing titles between them before today's race, to leave Davison but the plucky triathlete hung tough until the final sprint.

In 2010 Bauer beat Roulston and Julian Dean in a sprint finish to win the title, but former proved too strong today.

Bauer said he felt confident in a sprint, but started to cramp up when Roulston blasted for the line.

Roulston, the winner in 2006, 2011 and 2013, said this was his favourite win.

"It feels the best," he said shortly after the finish.

As the 33-year-old crossed the line, he gave himself a little fist-pump before finding Bauer and hugging his foe.

"It's very, very difficult winning the race, but winning it again and again, it becomes harder each year," Roulston said.

"And this was a very, very, very hard race."

Ashburton's Jason Christie finished fourth, two and half minutes behind Roulston ahead of 2012 winner James Williamson in fifth and Mike Northey in sixth.

Waikato Bay of Plenty's Hayden McCormick won a three-way sprint to the line to secure the under-23 title from Auckland pair Dion Smith and James Oram.

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