The 19-year-old Bigla-KATUSHA rider, Niamh Fisher-Black, who finished third in the time trial at the national championships on Friday, topped off this performance by securing the national road title in a thrilling finale. Niamh was part of a chasing pack that managed to reel in a lone escapee, who at one point had carved out a four minute lead over the chasers. However, in the end, the Bigla-KATUSHA rider was too strong for her competitors and triumphed at the finish line. She also took the U23 title.
Fisher-Black, 19, was part of a four-strong chasing bunch that caught solo breakaway leader Kate McCarthy within 2kms of the finish of the 108km women’s race in to Cambridge, and then out-kicked her rivals to claim overall honours as she embarks on her first year as a professional for Bigla Katusha in Europe.
Earlier Kate McCarthy, from Waikato BOP, took things into her own hands with a break on the Maungakawa climb, to take a two-minute lead over a chasing quartet of Fisher-Black, Kate McIlroy, time trial winners Ella Harris and Teresa Adam.
McCarthy’s advantage was 1min30sec at the start of two 9km town loops, which slowly came down until the chasers caught her with 2km remaining.
Fisher-Black showed her sprinting prowess to open a gap into the final corner to hold off Harris and Adam.
“There were some big time gaps over the hill and at one stage I thought we might not catch,” said Fisher-Black. “The four of us knew we had to put our heads down to catch her. It didn’t come quickly but coming into the finish circuit we knew we had it.
“It was a pretty surreal feeling to put the hands up going over the line. It is amazing.
“It is crazy – my first year as a professional and to wear a Bigla Katasha national jersey is going to be very cool. I am going to be very proud to wear it.”
Cover photo c. Elko Media / Dave Morrison