Cycling: Aaron Gate wins NZ time trial nationals by the barest margins over George Bennett

The New Zealand time trial nationals have had a dramatic finish with Aaron Gate pipping George Bennet by the bearest of margins but their was a strange twist.  

On the 44km course in Cambridge, Gate edged Bennett by just 0.7 seconds and incredibly third place finisher Michael Vink was only a second back from Bennett in a tightly fought time-trial but Gate wasn't the fastest time on the day. 

Jumbo-Visma development rider Finn Fisher-Black had the ride of the day but because he was entered in the under-23 classification Fisher-Black was ineligible to win the elite title.

The 19-year-old produced a stunning ride to win the under-23 event and was nine seconds quicker than Gate. 

"It's good for me and nice to know I can compete with these guys," Fisher-Black says. "Hopefully next year I'll be allowed to compete with the elite guys."

Gate had a clear plan heading into the time-trial, an event he hasn't ridden at the nationals since 2009. 

"Time trials are never an enjoyable experience but I went out hard, I knew I had too and I guess I paced it perfectly when it came down to less than a second," he says. "I wanted to go out hard and knew time would be made up on those tough climbs and into the head wind." 

"I broke it down into segments and went as hard as I could in the first part. 

"I paid the price a bit on the way back but the tailwind kicked in to keep my speed up even when I was hurting."

In the women's event, Georgia Williams, who missed last years event with injury, scored her third elite time trial title in four years in a super-strong performance, finishing 21 seconds faster than Tokyo-bound track rider Jaime Nielsen.

Williams is extremely happy with the result especially given it wasn't on her radar until a last minute change of schedule.

"I am pretty happy with that," Willaims says. "I was pretty committed to remaining in Europe for the winter but I had a last-minute escape and such a good decision to come home for the summer. I am so lucky.

The attention now turns to the road race on Sunday as riders now battle for the prestigious black jersey.