UHC’s Buchanan wins historic fourth New Zealand road title

Olympian Rushlee Buchanan created history on Saturday in becoming the first woman to win the New Zealand elite road championship four times.

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A day after claiming bronze in the women’s individual time trial behind winner Jaime Nielsen, Olympian Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedHealthcare) created history in Napier, New Zealand on Saturday when she became the first woman to win the New Zealand elite road championship four times.

After completing 112km, the North Island native outsprinted fellow Rio Olympic track rider Georgia Williams, who took second in the ITT on Friday, and triathlete-turned-cyclist Kate McIlroy in an exciting sprint finish along the Napier foreshore.

The United Healthcare rider successfully defended the title she won last year in Napier after wins in 2010 and 2014 to move one championship clear of three-time winners Cath Cheatley and Melissa Holt.

“I knew I wasn’t the best climber out there and had to save my energy when I could and dig very, very deep when Kate and Georgia were putting the hammer down,” Buchanan said. “I backed myself for the sprint finish. I knew I had the better jump and that played into my hands.

“It has not sunk in yet but to win the 2917 national championship is awesome. Number four is pretty amazing to put myself in the history books. For me I just want to represent the jersey well on the international stage and do the New Zealand proud the whole year.”

McIlroy, who will move to the Specialized Women’s professional cycling team in Australia this year, was pleased with her first serious efforts in the sport, after an injury-plagued final year in triathlon for the London Olympian.

“I came here wanting to see where I stood racing against these girls who are pretty classy and experienced so to come third, I am pretty happy,” McIlroy said. “The key was getting in the break up the hill and I managed to jump on to Georgia’s wheel.

“I am new to road cycling and hope to learn from my experiences this year and see how it goes. I am now working fulltime and fitting cycling around a job. I still love racing and until I lose that competitive spirit I will keep going.”

Hawkes Bay rider Amanda Jamieson managed to pip long-time leader Michaela Drummond (Manawatu/Mike Greer Homes) to claim the first women’s under-23 road championship title.


  • 1. Rushlee BUCHANAN, 3:23:28
  • 2. Georgia WILLIAMS, +0:00
  • 3. Kate MCILROY, +0:04
  • 4. Sharlotte LUCAS, +0:57
  • 5. Jaime NIELSEN, +1:05
  • 6. Amanda JAMIESON, +1:05
  • 7. Michaela DRUMMOND, +1:05
  • 8. Lydia RIPPON, +1:05
  • 9. Madeleine PARK, +1:05
  • 10. Elizabeth STANNARD, +1:05
  • 11. Georgia CATTERICK, +1:05
  • 12. Ella HARRIS, +1:05
  • 13. Racquel SHEATH, +1:05
  • 14. Laura NEWMAN-WATT, +1:05
  • 15. Grace ANDERSON, +4:31
  • 16. Jade REGAN, +7:38
  • 17. Kirsty MCCALLUM, +7:38
  • 18. Olivia RAY, +7:38
  • 19. Ruby LIVINGSTONE, +7:47
  • 20. Natalie KERWIN, +7:47
  • 21. Karen FULTON, +7:47
  • 22. Kerri-anne PAGE, +7:55
  • 23. Alicia EVANS, +8:11
  • 24. Helen BAILLIE-STRONG, +18:32
  • 25. Michaele KERR, +18:32
  • 26. Rebecca KINGSFORD, +20:47
  • 27. Josephine MELDGAARD, DNF
  • 28. Hannah VAN KAMPEN, DNF
  • 29. Kirstie JAMES, DNF
  • 30. Kate WIGHTMAN, DNF
  • 31. Ione JOHNSON, DNF
  • 32. Mikayla HARVEY, DNF
  • 33. Deborah PAINE, DNF
  • 34. Nina WOLLASTON, DNF
  • 35. Renee WOOTTON, DNF
  • 36. Rylee MCMULLEN, DNF

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