Under-23 riders dominated the New Zealand Elite and Under 23 Women’s Road Championship in Napier on Saturday, with highly regarded Marlborough rider Georgia Christie (nee Catterick) going solo as the race returned to the city for five laps of the urban circuit, including the daunting climb of Napier Hill, and was never caught. Christie crossed the line in 3:13:34 for the 109km journey, finishing 12 seconds clear of the chasers, with under-23 riders claiming the first four placings, headed by Deborah Paine (Waikato Bay of Plenty) and Vantage elite track rider Michaela Drummond (West Coast North Island) completing the podium. Drummond’s national track teammate Holly Edmondston out-kicked the other elite riders in the remains of the peloton to claim the elite honours in 3:14:04 in a photo finish ahead of Canterbury’s Sharlotte Lucas and defending champion Georgia Williams of Auckland.ADVERTISEMENT “I can’t believe it. I am overwhelmed,” said Christie. It proved a day of outstanding tactics from the Mike Greer Homes women’s team after Libby Arbuckle, who was awarded the King of the Mountain jersey, made an early break as the peloton traversed the hills on the rural loop in the Puketapu hills behind Taradale. Christie, who has ridden strongly for US pro Team Illuminate in 2017 and 2018, has made her name mostly in time trials, winning the under-23 honours in this discipline last year. Today she bridged up to Arbuckle and Vantage elite track rider Kirstie James before going it alone when the race returned for the gruelling climbs of Napier hill.
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