World track champion Hayden Godfrey showed his versatility when he sprinted to his maiden victory in the RaboPlus national club road cycling title near Nelson today.
Godfrey, who won the omnium title at the world championships last year, went with the telling break on the penultimate lap of the 176km race before outsprinting young Wellington rider Jack Bauer to take the championship in the hills in Upper Moutere.
This made it a clean sweep of road titles for the Subway Avanti team after Gordon McAuley won the national championships earlier in the year.
Godfrey (Christchurch) got some key help from team-mate Sam Horgan before he used all his experience to roll over Bauer to claim the win, while Horgan took out the under-23 honours.
“I’ve been second and third before but never been able to put it in the bag,” Godfrey said. “I was a bit unsure how I would go because I’ve putting my time into training and have not raced for a while.
“It’s great to win this for me and the Subway Avanti team. It gives us real confidence going into the Tour of Southland and then we are also racing in a category two tour in China.”
Godfrey needed his team’s help after an early break featuring Bauer (Port Nicholson Poneke), Alex McGregor (Cycling Otago), David Ayre and George Bennett (both Star & Garter) who opened a gap of nearly three minutes.
The peloton caught the break by mid-race and remained together until two laps to go when the pressure at the front split the race apart. A quality group of seven riders went clear on the penultimate lap including US based professional Heath Blackgrove, former Olympian Rick Reid, Alan Williams (Pegasus), Bauer and the Subway Avanti trio of Godfrey, Horgan and James Williamson.
Williamson had a mechanical and had to limp home, but still good enough to finish second in the under-23 race while Williams was dropped. Blackgrove attacked on the final lap before Bauer lead out the final sprint. Godfrey loomed up on his wheel and rolled over the top for the victory.
The Christchurch rider is unsure if he will remain with his focus on the road or return fully committed to the track.
“It is a case of wait and see right now. The UCI have hinted that the omnium might be added to the Olympic programme. If that’s the case then it would become my sole goal.
“For now I have been doing more road again. While it would be a pity to see the individual pursuit dropped, I think the Omnium would be a great event for the people to watch.”
Earlier Alex McCrory-Bowick (Counties Manukau) won the under-23 honours over 64kms.
Results, senior men, 176km: Hayden Godfrey (Subway Avanti) 4:28.32, 1; Jack Bauer (Port Nicholson Poneke) 4:28.33, 2; Robin Reid (Star & Garter) 4:28.34, 3; Heath Blackgrove (Timaru) 4:28.40, 4; Alan Williams (Pegasus) 4:29.49, 5.
Under-23, 176km: Sam Horgan (Subway Avanti) 4:28.51, 1; James Williamson (Subway Avanti) 4:30.42, 2; Daniel Barry (Star & Garter Tasman) 4:31.23, 3; Brad Carter (Hamilton City) same time 4; James McCoy (Papanui) same time, 5.
Under-17, 64km: Alex McCrory-Bowick (Counties Manukau) 1:39.40, 1; Dion Smith (North Harbour) 1:39.41, 2; Nick Sutton (Stratford) 1:39.42, 3.