Patrick Bevin has quickly shown his new employers his worth.
The emerging Kiwi cyclist has celebrated his entry to the World Tour ranks with a national title.
Wearing the Cannondale green for the first time, Bevin yesterday won the men's time trial on the opening day of the road cycling nationals in Hawkes Bay.
"You come into a team like Cannondale at the bottom and it's nice to say 'hey guys, we're here'," Bevin said. "It was a big goal early in the season and it takes a bit of pressure off Sunday [the men's road race], to be honest."
He completed the testing 40km course in a time of 52m 21.20s, more than a minute clear of Tom Scully, with 2013 champion Joe Cooper almost another 30 seconds further back in third.
Bevin was challenged by Cooper and fellow World Tour professional Jesse Sergent on the first lap, but managed the windy conditions better than his more experienced rivals.
"I knew it was a course that suited me and as the wind picked up, it would suit me more," Bevin said.
"The wind was horrendous and it came up. The second lap, I had some issues with the wind. Coming around that second time was brutal and it became a challenge just to stay on the bike and keep as much momentum as I could."
"If you had a bad day today and you come up that climb for the last time, you could lose 20 or 30 seconds, so it was about being fairly conservative and riding the course where you could," he said.
Bevin will now be considered one of the favourites to win the road race and complete a rare double.
Rushlee Buchanan added the national women's time trial title to her burgeoning list of cycling accomplishments.
She edged two-time defending champion Jaime Nielsen by just over a second with 34m 14.6s in the 23.2km test against the clock to add the time trial title to her national honours in the road race and criterium.
"I definitely didn't expect to win and then I saw my father screaming with maybe 200m to go and I thought it must be pretty close," she said.
She rode 7km further than Nielsen, her track cycling teammate, after taking a wrong turn and riding the men's course before restarting.
"Unfortunately when we started someone wasn't paying attention too much and it was a bit confusing, and we went the wrong way."
"I had to calm down and use that anger and frustration and put it into the pedals," she said.
"I knew I was going to be a little bit faster on the down hills and through the corners so I had to focus on that."