Jason Christie rallies to claim national road cycling championship

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NZN

Tasman rider Jason Christie has shaken off the lingering effects of a crash on Friday to win the national road cycling championship in Napier.

Christie won the four-way sprint to the line to pull on the champion’s jersey.
Source: 1 NEWS

Christie, who won the title in 2016 and finished second last year, stormed home to take the title from Cambridge's Hayden McCormick.

Michael Torckler finished third while George Bennett - returning from abdominal surgery - was fourth.

Christie, 27, bided his time as a chasing group of three ran down solo leader Torckler late on the final lap, then out-sprinted his rivals for victory.

Torckler had jumped off the front of the lead group two laps from home and opened up a 30sec advantage on Bennett, who was caught by McCormick and Christie with a lap remaining.

Christie, who took bronze in Friday's time trial despite a nasty crash, admitted it had been a struggle to bounce back for the 171km road race.

"I crashed pretty heavy on Friday, and it hasn't been so pleasant the last couple of days," he said.

"I also had the vomiting bug a week ago which also knocked me around a bit as well.

"It's amazing really. I did not think I would have a chance today. But I rode smart and put myself in a position to win," Christie said.

"I think it was probably the best field ever for these championships and so to win it is pretty special."

Bennett, who rides for the Lotto NL Jumbo World Tour team, had come into the race hoping that recent surgery to cure long-term side stitch issues would prove a success.

"I changed my mind as the race went on and I felt quite good. I thought I had a chance," Bennett said.

"I thought Michael had gone too hard up the climb and thought I had a chance. But it was not to be as the young boys had the legs.

"However I had no issues with stitch at all and it is so early in the season for me. There's a lot to be satisfied with from today."

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