Like the secret agents who bear the same names, Jack Bauer and Hamish Bond cut a swath through their opposition at the New Zealand Road Cycling Championships in Napier today.
Bauer, sporting the colours of his new Quick-Step Floors professional team for the first time, claimed the elite men's time trial honours, while Olympic and World Champion rower Bond finished on the podium in his first venture into championship cycling.
Olympian Jaime Nielsen claimed her third elite women's time trial title, while the under-23 honours went to another Rio rider, Regan Gough and on the women's side, Wanaka's Mikayla Harvey on a challenging and windy circuit.
It proved an outstanding performance from Bauer in his first time trial at the national championships. He was just three seconds clear of former under-23 time trial winner Jason Christie after the first of two laps of a demanding course. Bauer proved too strong on the second loop to win in 51:54, with the Mid-Canterbury rider 21 seconds back in second place.
"That was so hard. That course was tough with the climb, and I had forgotten about how dead the New Zealand roads are with the big chip, and added to that the wind was quite strong," Bauer said.
"I am so thrilled to win this national title and to be able to take the national jersey back to Europe for my new team. I had no expectations today as it was more of a 40km hit-out for my major goal of the road championship on Sunday."
Bauer said he is excited at the prospects ahead with his move to Quick-Step Floors, the Belgian-based pro team who boast some of cycling's biggest names.
"They have given me all the support I needed for these championships. It is a big opportunity for me and some big expectations as well from a team that expects to win race. To give them a second jersey on Sunday would be nice."
There was considerable interest in the performance of Bond, who has made a switch to cycling with aplomb after his rowing exploits in Rio, finishing highly in the Tour of Southland. Despite a fall in training and a bout of gastro, Bond managed to finish third in 53:05, after trailling Bauer by 24 seconds after one lap.
"I came here to learn really. I was hoping to do a little better to be honest but I am new to all of this. That took more out of me than I expected, so now I need to recover for the road race on Sunday."
Nielsen grabbed her third time trial national title after a powerful opening 10kms and then held on over the more technical second half of the lap.
Nielsen had an advantage of over a minute after 10kms on fellow Rio Olympic team pursuiter Georgia Williams but that margin was whittled down to 24 seconds at the finish with the Waikato rider winning in 29:31.
Williams finished runner-up for a second time in 29:55 with defending champion Rushlee Buchanan, sporting the new colours of her US-based United Healthcare team, third in 30:25.
"I was a bit nervous today and there were some changes to the course. I went really hard but felt it in the latter stages of the race," Nielsen said.
"I was targeting this race after Rio and prepared really well for it. It's always an honour to win a national title and I am really pleased."
There was a stand-out effort from teenager Gough, from Waipukurau, who was pushed all the way to win the under-23 honours. The Rio team pursuiter was the only rider under 27 minutes for the first lap of the under-23 time trial, but he could not shake off the excellent efforts from Auckland's James Fouche and Canterbury's Jake Marryatt over the second lap.
Gough, who heads to Europe to ride for the An Post-Chain Reaction continental team this year, won in 54:00 with Fouche seconds back in runner-up, just two seconds ahead of Marryatt, both riders quicker than the winner over the second loop.
It proved even closer in the under-23 women where Harvey held off the charge from Marlborough's Georgia Cattrick and Auckland's Rylee McMullen.
McMullen set the standard in 31:33 until she was bettered by Harvey who clocked 31:19 as the third to last rider.
Top seed Catterick pushed hard but finished just two seconds slower to be content with runner-up.
Tomorrow is the women's road race over 112kms with Buchanan attempting to become the first women to claim the title four times.