World championship medallist Linda Villumsen set an allcomers' record to claim her first New Zealand title at the national road cycling championships near Christchurch today.
Villumsen blitzed the field to win the elite women's time trial over 25kms at Lincoln, taking more than a minute off the course record in the process.
It proved a record-setting day with outstanding 21-year-old Cantabrian Michael Vink retaining his under-23 honours over 40kms in a time that would have comfortably won the elite men's title.
That went to Wellington rider Joseph Cooper, who celebrated the first national title for his new Australian-based UCI Continental team, Genesys Wealth Advisors.
Villumsen, who has won medals at the world championships for the past four years, was in a class of her own today. On a flat and open course not suited to the Olympian, she clocked 33 minutes 38 seconds. This was 1min 15secs inside the previous best time for the course set by Sonia Waddell as well as 27 seconds under the New Zealand best time set by Kirsty Robb in 1998.
"I didn't expect it so it was a good little bonus. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself coming into this because, at this time of the year, I can have a very good day or a very bad day," Villumsen said.
"My goal was just to feel comfortable on the bike and at halfway I counted where the others were and saw I had picked up time and thought I have to keep it going.
"It is really pleasing. I am taking a different approach this year so this is a pleasing start to the year."
Villumsen, who is basing herself in New Zealand rather than Europe, says she has no expectations around tomorrow's road race given her current training load.
"Getting my first New Zealand title is special and something I will treasure. It does take some pressure off expectations tomorrow."
Fellow Olympian Jaime Nielsen was second in 34:57 with Georgia Williams third in 35:30.
Vink, who won the overall road race honours last year as well as his third time trial win in the under-23 category, was in outstanding form today.
Riding off last in hot conditions with a light southerly, Vink stormed through the turn point at 20kms in 26:18, nearly 1min 30secs ahead of the next fastest rider.
He cleared out to win in 49:17, which was 31 seconds under the previous best time he set in winning last year and 25 seconds under the previous best time set by Jason Christie two years ago.
World junior time trial medallist James Oram was second in 50:15 with Taylor Gunman third in 51:48.
"That's a pleasing start to the weekend," said Vink. "I have worked really hard to prepare for this and it felt really good today.
"Now I need to rest up and get ready for the road race on Sunday which I am looking forward to."
Wellington's Cooper surprised some with victory in elite men's race. Second off, the Wellington rider posted a slick time of 26:36s at the turn in the 40km time trial, bettered only by defending champion Paul Odlin.
Cooper powered home in 49:37 and waited while the rest of the field tried to match him. Odlin slowed on the homeward journey to post 49:52 which meant Cooper had won his first national title, while Olympian Westley Gough was third.
Tomorrow is the women's road race starting at 4pm with the men's road race on Sunday set to start at 10am.
Results from the national road cycling championships in Christchurch today:
Elite men's time trial, 40km: Joseph Cooper (Wellington, Genesys Wealth advisors) 49:37, 1; Paul Odlin (Canterbury) 49:52, 2; Westley Gough (East Coast North Island) 50:40, 3.
Elite women's time trial, 25km: Linda Villumsen (Auckland) 33:38, 1 (record); Jaime Nielsen (Waikato BOP) 34:57, 2; Georgia Williams (Auckland, Kiwi Velo) 35:30, 3.
Men under-23, 40km: Michael Vink (Christchurch, Scotty Browns) 49:17, 1; James Oram (Auckland) 50:15, 2; Taylor Gunman (Auckland, Kiwi Velo) 51:48, 3.