Hayden Roulston's attack pays off in road race
Hayden Roulston knew the threat Jack Bauer posed only too well after losing a sprint to the Takaka professional in the 2010 national road race championship.
He was determined not to do that in yesterday's race and even reminded Bauer of the 2010 race before riding to his fourth national title.
"I said to Jack, "I have to attack you mate because last time I took you to the line, you beat me'," Roulston said yesterday.
While Roulston and Bauer are the two best road cyclists in the country at the moment and rode like it on the 183.7km Cashmere course, they couldn't shake unheralded Christchurch triathlete Tom Davison. The triumvirate rode the last 100km of the race alone.
Roulston was expected to sit back early and then power home in his usual style, but the Trek Factory rider went early and took the race to the strong field.
His early moves and the initial speed in the 12-lap race ensured only the strongest riders would feature.
Roulston said this was easily the favourite of his four national titles.
"It's very, very difficult winning the race, but winning it again and again, it becomes harder every year."
"I raced totally different from how I normally race here; this time I decided to go from the start and make those guys chase me."
He caught Bauer off-guard, though the Garmin-Sharp rider rode impressively to join him. A near-inconsolable Bauer admitted the move surprised him and was distraught not to win.
"Anything but a win here is pointless, eh," he said.
"It's a bit disappointing after a real hard day. I just had nothing in the kick. Rolly led out and I just completely cramped up as he went ... full credit to him though, to take the title for about the100th time."
Roulston heaped praise on a few riders who helped him yesterday in tough conditions.
Trek team-mate Jesse Sergent played a major role and Roulston had help from Scotty Brown's Jason Allen and Marc Ryan.
Roulston told The Press earlier in the week he felt like a marked man. To still get the win and be able to take the national champions jersey back with him to Europe with that in mind was extra pleasing.
"It's very, very hard. I had some mates in the peleton, but it's pretty easy for everyone to gang up."
Davison was almost as happy as Roulston to have held on so long with the top pair and his smile was the biggest on the podium.
"It's just unbelievable," he said.
"Coming around the last corner with those two guys is just a dream come true. I mean, I've watched them in the Tour de France and to be riding along with them is just unbelievable."
Ashburton's Jason Christie was fourth ahead of 2012 winner James Williamson.
Waikato-Bay of Plenty's Hayden McCormick out-sprinted Auckland pair Dion Smith and James Oram to win the under-23 title.
- © Fairfax NZ News