Otago Daily Times

Nationals field biggest for years


THE biggest field in years will line up at the road National Championsh­ips in Cambridge, which start today.

There are 84 riders entered for the time trial today and 166 riders will contest the road races tomorrow and on Sunday.

The record numbers are also matched by quality, as winners of 30 national road titles are included in the field.

World Tour riders Shane Archbold and Niamh FisherBlac­k have remained in Europe with travel restrictio­ns and are unable to defend their elite road titles. However, Niamh’s brother Finn, who will ride for the glamour Jumbo Visma Developmen­t profession­al team this year, will defend his under23 titles in both road and time trial.

Dunedin profession­al rider

Ella Harris, who won both female under23 titles last year, has not recovered sufficient­ly from injury to compete.

The elite time trial champions, who are better known in other sports, will defend their titles, in Ironman New Zealand champion and record holder Teresa Adam and double Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond.

There are a host of quality riders with the men’s elite field including the world top30 ranked profession­al George Bennett hoping for the road title that has eluded him after finishing runnerup in both the time trial and road race last year.

Tokyo Olympicbou­nd track riders competing include the inform Aaron Gate, Campbell Stewart and Tom Sexton — all riding for Black Spoke Pro Cycling — plus Corbin Strong and Regan Gough will appear.

Mountain bikers Ben Oliver and Anton Cooper are included, both targeting their offroad nationals at the end of the month in Christchur­ch.

The women’s fields include World Tour rider Georgia Williams, the 2018 road and time trial winner, and the inform Sharlotte Lucas, and cycling profession­al Olivia Ray, chasing a hattrick of wins after the national criterium and Gravel & Tar victories. There are also a strong group of Olympic track riders using their race as preparatio­ns towards Tokyo.

There will be interest with the under19 category included in the championsh­ips, after previously previously being included with the Vantage Age Group Road National Championsh­ips later in the year. They will race over 80km (females) and 115km (males) in the road race tomorrow.

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