Peloton Watch
  Georgia Christie wins New Zealand road national title  
  January 5th 2019  
  Georgia Christie celebrates winning the women's road race. Photo: John Cowpland  
  In a sign of the talent coming through in New Zealand under 23 riders dominated the women's road race at the New Zealand Vantage Elite and Under-23 Road National Championships in Napier, Saturday January 5.

A brave solo move by Georgia Christie delivered her the title with a brave solo move as she upstaged a number of more favourited elite riders to claim the under 23 crowns. The top five riders in the combined race all came from the under 23 category with Deborah Paine taking silver just ahead of the peloton and Michaela Drummond winning the bunch sprint to claim bronze.

"I can't believe it. I am overwhelmed," said Christie.

"I tried to use the tailwind as much as possible – just get down and go hard. I was dying up the last climb and was holding on for dear life and resting on the downhill. It was as hard as I could go up the last climb."

The early stages of the race on the rural lap were dominated by several moves that all proved short lived until Libby Arbuckle made a move with the peloton relenting and allowing the gap to grow to close to a minute.

Towards the end of the rural lap with the gap falling Kirstie James (Cycling Southland) bridged across before going solo, before being joined by Christie on the first lap of the city circuits, with James distanced it was all on Christie for forged ahead steadily building an advantage.

With the gap reaching nearly three minutes attacks started from the peloton, with the first major move to make an impact coming from four time champion Rushlee Buchanan was the first to make a major move with three laps to go before defending champion Georgia Williams went to the front increasing the pace. Buchanan's time out front was short lived with the gap rapidly falling under the pressure of Williams.

As Christie started two laps to go, she held just over a minute advantage, though a combination of tiring legs and increased pace in the peloton saw the gap fall to under 15 seconds as the bell sounded.

Sensing an opportunity ahead of the final climb Deborah Paine (Waikato Bay of Plenty) attacked with the bunch not reacting and as the pace slowed Christie's advantage was back to 30 seconds. By then the bunch had left it too late as Christie celebrated across the line.

The medals in the elite category went to Holly Edmondston (fifth overall), Sharlotte Lucas (sixth overall) and Georgia Williams (seventh overall).

Results - Under 23  |  Elite
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