Bevin, Nielsen take the REV road honours
Two of New Zealand's top cyclists took out the REV Cycle Festival road races in Cambridge on Saturday.
Taupo's Patrick Bevin and Hamilton's Jaime Nielsen won the men's and women's elite races in sprint finishes, having battled the tough course, humidity and their opponents.
Racing in the full 135km race, Bevin was part of a five-rider breakaway after attacking on French Pass.
The group held a slim 20-second lead throughout much of the 100km first lap, before coming into the king-making climb at Maungakawa Rd.
Sam Lindsay attacked the breakaway group on the climb, with Bevin battling to hang on while the other three riders fell away.
Bevin and Lindsay went over the top of Maungakawa ahead, with the other riders struggling up the 3km climb.
From there the duo kept up a high tempo into Cambridge, before Bevin won the sprint to the finish, winning in 3hr 23min 7sec, one second ahead of Lindsay.
Bevin said he was pushed hard by Lindsay, particularly in Maungakawa Rd, and struggled to deal with the heat and the difficult route.
"Sam's been in great form this summer and cycled really well on Saturday. I was really impressed with how he went," Bevin said.
"Obviously it was really pleasing to get the win, but it was a tough slog. It was a really hard ride.
"It's becoming one of New Zealand's premier road races."
Bevin said he has been mixing track and road cycling ahead of the track cycling nationals at the Avantidrome next month, and is aiming for a spot in the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team this year.
In the 100km women's race, Hamilton's Jaime Nielsen held off strong opposition including the New Zealand elite track cycling squad.
Coming into Cambridge, Nielsen was in a group with Linda Villumsen, Rushlee Buchanan, Georgia Williams and triathlete Kate McIlroy.
"We had to go around a roundabout before going into the final straight, and I managed to get around that in front of the pack which was great."
She sprinted to the finish to win in 2:36.30, one second ahead of McIlroy with Villumsen third. Georgia Williams was ahead of Buchanan.
"It was a good, fun, hard ride, which was great," Nielsen said.
"I was a bit surprised at how satisfied I was to actually win it, to be honest.
"Now I'm straight back into track training [today], and that will basically be all our focus heading into the track nationals next month."