Olympian Hamish Bond completes transition to road cycling with bronze medal finish in national time trials

Leading Kiwi road cyclist Jack Bauer has made the perfect start for his new professional team, winning the time trial at the national championships in Napier while newcomer and Olympic rower Hamish Bond has finished third.

The gold medal rower looked like a fish out of water at the starting gates, but once he was on the road, no one could stop him. Source: 1 NEWS

Sporting the colours of his Belgium-based Quick-Step Floors team for the first time, Bauer was a comfortable winner, completing a 40km course in 51 minutes 54 seconds.

He was 21sec clear of Canterbury rider Jason Christie, who will defend his road race title on Sunday.

Third place was another notable achievement for world class rower Hamish Bond, who is giving top-flight cycling a go in a year out of the boat.

Bond was more than a minute slower than Bauer but his effort was still a meritorious one, heading off a host of established Kiwi riders.

Bauer, who made his move in the second of two loops, was delighted in his debut time trial appearance at the national championships.

He said windy conditions and a tough course tested his mettle in a return to the bike following an injury-plagued 2016.

"I am so thrilled to win this national title and to be able to take the national jersey back to Europe for my new team," he said.

"I had no expectations today as it was more of a 40km hit-out for my major goal of the road championship."

There was considerable interest in the performance of Bond, who has impressed in his code switch, performing prominently in the Tour of Southland.

His performance on Friday belied a recent fall in training and a stomach bug.

"I came here to learn really. I was hoping to do a little better to be honest but I am new to all of this," he said.

"That took more out of me than I expected, so now I need to recover for the road race on Sunday."

Earlier, Olympian Jaime Nielsen claimed her third women's time trial title by a similar margin.

Her 29:31 time over the 20km course was 24sec quicker than Georgia Williams while defending champion Rushlee Buchanan was third.

Nielsen powered to a lead of more than a minute at the halfway point but that advantage was whittled down over the second half.

"I was a bit nervous today and there were some changes to the course. I went really hard but felt it in the latter stages of the race," Nielsen said.

The under-23 honours went to Rio Olympian Regan Gough and Wanaka's Mikayla Harvey.