Rushlee Buchanan has won a dramatic women's time trial to open the road cycling nationals in Hawke's Bay.

The reigning national criterium champion has edged her New Zealand track team-mate Jaime Nielsen by two seconds.

Nielsen was the two-time defending champion and as a right was the last rider down the start ramp in the 23.2km test again the clock.

But she had to wait for Buchanan to finish the time trial after her team-mate took a wrong turn and rode on the men's course for seven kilometres before restarting.

Advertisement

Buchanan managed to overcome the disruption to time her lap to perfection and claim the New Zealand champion's jersey.

Buchanan will start as one of the favourites for tomorrow's road race.