Gate grabs another title in Timaru

Aaron Gate added to his array of titles to claim the Cycling New Zealand elite road title in Timaru on Saturday.

The remarkable Gate, who won on the track at the UCI Nations Cup in Adelaide last week, returned to the road, prevailing in a frantic finish to the 196km battle in miserable conditions.

The 33-year-old cyclist, a finalist in the Halberg Awards this week, was in a select chasing group that caught the leaders on the final climb 6km from the finish.

Gate produced a finish reminiscent of his winning sprint at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, edging the bunch that included WorldTour riders Corbin Strong, Laurence Pithie, George Bennett, Reuben Thompson and time trial winner Logan Currie.

"I was aggressive from the start," Gate said.

"I knew there was going to be guys biding their time, nervous with the distance. You can’t let races like this get away from you and be over before it started.

"I took it up and did all I could at the start. I was in every move, except the one that looked like it had got away. But we managed with a good group of six of us to bring that back.

"That left a group of 10 and I had to follow the right moves and not leave the numbers of WorldTour guys get ground on us.

"I didn’t want to leave it to a sprint but it didn’t work out, so had to time it to perfection in the last corner."

There was some strong racing from the start with Bennett, Thompson, Gravel & Tar winner Josh Burnett and Ryan Christensen opening a 2min advantage.

They were closed down by the group of Pithie, Strong, Currie and Gate.

There was some cat-and-mouse action among the lead group before Luke Mudgway, Thompson and Burnett opened a telling advantage coming into the final lap.

The strong chasing group caught the break on the last climb, and Gate used his sprinting ability to edge out the rest.

The under-23 title was won by Southland rider Marshall Erwood in 4h 36min 50sec, 33sec ahead of Lucas Murphy (Hamilton) and Lewis Bower (Auckland).

Canterbury rider Kirsty Watts made it a double, winning the women’s under-19 road race after claiming the time trial on Thursday. She went clear to win in 2hr 46sec, nearly 30sec ahead of Elena Worrall (Counties-Manukau) and Finella Guttmann (Southland).

— Staff reporter