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 Fisher-Black 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 under-23 titles in both road and time trial.

Dunedin professional rider Ella Harris, who won both female under-23 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 top-30 ranked professional George Bennett hoping for the road title that has eluded him after finishing runner-up in both the time trial and road race last year.

Tokyo Olympic-bound track riders competing include the in-form 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 off-road 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 in-form Sharlotte Lucas, and cycling professional Olivia Ray, chasing a hat-trick 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 under-19 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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