Te Awamutu teenager Hayden McCormick was the best of the New Zealand riders over a challenging time trial course at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in the Netherlands today.
McCormick, a medallist in last month’s junior track world championships in Invercargill, finished 23rd from 66 starters in the junior men’s individual time trial.
He started conservatively to be 30th through the first time check in the 26.6km course before pushing strongly to move to 18th at the second time check, only 21 seconds down on the eventual winner.
McCormick, who will also ride the road race later in the week, found the 1200m climb on the 12 per cent gradient of the famed Cauberg Hill testing as he slipped slightly back to a solid 23rd placing in 36:45.52. He finished just over a minute back from winner Oskar Svendsen from Norway.
Fellow kiwi Nick Bain (Auckland) was 39th in 37:44.37.
North Harbour rider James Oram suffered a mechanical problem near the end of his ride that cost him some spots in the under-23 race. Last year’s silver medallist in the junior division at the world championships had to settle for 37th place. Riding up the Cauberg Hill, his chain jammed in his derailleur and got stuck when he back-pedalled to free it. The BikeNZ support staff had to initiate a quick change, with Oram completing the final 1.5km of the 36km test on his road bike.
The 19 year old, the third youngest rider in the field, is based in the USA this year with the Bontrager Livestrong team.
Fellow kiwi Jason Christie, based in Belgium this year with a professional team, was 45th in 48:45.78.
The elite action is underway tomorrow when Linda Villumsen competes in the elite women’s individual pursuit.
The testing terrain of this course presents a challenge for the diminutive kiwi, who is at her best on technical circuits. The Orica-AIS professional is aiming for her fourth straight medal in this discipline after bronze medals in Mendrisio 2010 and Melbourne 2011 and a silver medal in Copenhagen last year.
Olympic silver medallist and GreenEdge teammate Judith Arndt (GER) will defend her title in her final year of competition in the sport, while Great Britain’s Emma Pooley is also expected to challenge after managing sixth in London.
The trio have shared all the medals over the last two world championships in the time trial.
Olympic gold medallist Kristin Armstrong (USA) retired after London while surprise bronze medallist Olga Zabelinskaya, who pipped Villumsen by 1.8s, is also not competing.
The elite men’s time trial is on Thursday (NZ time) with London Olympic medallists Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley riding for New Zealand.