Cycling: Shane Archbold beats George Bennett to win road race national championship

Timaru cyclist Shane Archbold celebrates his win.
Timaru cyclist Shane Archbold celebrates his win. Photo credit: Getty

Timaru cyclist Shane Archbold has won the men's road race title at the NZ road cycling championships in Cambridge for the first time. 

Archbold - known as the 'Flying Mullet' - beat compatriot George Bennett to the line in a thrilling finish to the 174km course.

Bennett had led for 80km of the race, but he was overtaken by Archbold in the final kilometres. 

Archbold broke down in tears after the race, as he's spent much of the last three years off his bike battling a series of injuries.

"The title is not something I ever thought would happen especially after the last few years with so many injuries," said Archbold.

"I did not think I could get to George but the race is never over. It burns me to chase down George. I would never have put myself in that position with someone on my wheel but I went solo and did it.

"I knew he would be tired. It is a long day out there for him and I had to give it a crack.

"I've never given nationals a good go because it’s been too early but I had to this year with the later date and with some racing in the legs."

For Bennett, it was a tough pill to swallow after also finishing second in the men's time-trial behind Hamish Bond. 

Meanwhile  19-year-old Niamh Fisher-Black broke clear in the final 100 metres to win the 108km women's race ahead of Ella Harris and time-trial champion Teresa Adam, who was the leading elite rider.

Waikato-Bay of Plenty rider Kate McCarthy led by as much as four minutes before being caught in the closing kilometres.

"There were some big time gaps over the hill and at one stage I thought we might not catch," said Fisher-Black. 

"It was a pretty surreal feeling to put the hands up going over the line. It is amazing."