Canterbury’s Paul Odlin upset the field to win the men’s time trial at the RaboDirect Elite National Championships in Christchurch today.
Odlin clocked 49 minutes 35 seconds for the 40km journey near Lincoln College to finish 21 seconds ahead of his Subway Pro Cycling teammate Sam Horgan with favourite Jesse Sergent third.
BikeNZ’s leading women’s track pursuit team of Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen and Alison Shanks filled the podium positions in the women’s contest over 25kms, while Canterbury’s Michael Vink made it two wins in three years in the under-23 event.
Odlin, a father of two, mixes work with his passion, as a cycling coach in Christchurch, and he gave his clients the perfect lesson in time trialling today.
He was runner-up four years ago but went one better with a gutsy performance today.
“I’m fortunate to coach and be able to integrate my training into my work which is great,” Odlin said. “And I am so grateful for the support I get from Subway Pro Cycling team with the bike, the support and the input from guys like Hayden Godfrey.
“I had some of my clients out supporting me today which was great.”
The Cantabrian pushed hard over the first half but had to fight the demons on the return leg of the 40km test.
“I felt really good going out. I knew it would be hard coming back so took that into my planning. I struggled though but everyone did. It was a matter of digging deep and hanging on.
“It’s quite a thrill to win this title for sure.”
Odlin said the one-two finish for his Subway Pro Cycling team is a real boost ahead of Sunday’s men’s road race.
“This shows that Subway are here and going to be a force. This result gives us some confidence for Sunday and I am sure as a team we will have a good race.”
Ellis, competing for Mid South Canterbury, won the bragging rights over her team pursuit colleagues in the women’s battle.
There was only 29 seconds separating the trio with Ellis winning in 35:21, from Nielsen second in 35:48 and Shanks third in 35:50.
The trio head to Invercargill later tomorrow to prepare for a week of training on the track.
Vink showed he is in strong form again with an excellent effort to win in 49:48 from Mid South Canterbury’s Jason Christie in 50:30.
This reversed the placings from last year when Christie edged out the talented young Christchurch rider.
Talented Hawkes Bay junior Fraser Gough, a silver medallist on the track at the junior world championship last year, finished third in 50:39.
Vink has a chance of the double when he lines up to defend his under-23 road title on Sunday.
The focus switches to the road with the 123km women’s road race tomorrow comprising eight laps around the Hoon Hay circuit starting at noon with the winner expected by 3.30pm.
The men’s elite and under-23 race over 186kms is on Sunday comprising 12 laps with the winner expected by 2.45pm.
The races include the testing climb up the Cashmere Hills on each lap.
Results, RaboDirect Elite National Championships, Time Trial:
Elite men, 40km: Paul Odlin (Subway Pro Cycling, Canterbury) 49:35, 1; Sam Horgan (Subway Pro cycling, Canterbury) 49:56, 2; Jesse Sergent (East Coast North Island) 50:03, 3.
Elite women, 25km: Lauren Ellis (Mid South Canterburty) 35:21, 1; Jaime Nielsen (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 35:48, 2; Alison Shanks (Otago) 35:50, 3.
Under 23 men: Michael Vink (Mico Protrain, Canterbury) 49:48, 1; Jason Christie (Mid South Canterbury) 50:30, 2; Fraser Gough (East Coast North Island) 50:39, 3.