Nicky Samuels thought so little of her chances of winning the national road cycling championships in Christchurch today she planned on a training run immediately after she finished.

The triathlete with Olympic ambitions had hoped to jump straight off her bike and go for a short run, but the victory podium, media attention and medal presentation put an end to that.

Whangarei-born Samuels was as surprised as most of the cycling specialists about her win, but did concede to being "pretty happy".

"My focus is on April and qualifying for the Olympics, but this was a good hit out like I needed and of course it's nice to win."


The 28-year-old pulled away in the eighth and final lap of the 123km race to beat Courteney Lowe by 12 seconds with fellow triathlete Kate McIlroy a further two seconds back.

Samuels said it wasn't until she'd broken away on the final lap of the tough Cashmere course that she even thought about winning - and even that break was an accident.

"I was sitting down for most of the hills, trying to use them for strength training," she said. "I stood up for a few pedals and I heard over the PA that I was apparently putting in an attack. I thought, 'well, if they think that's an attack, I better put a few more big pedals in'."

Samuels had only entered the event as a training ride and said her main goal for the race was just to get a hard workout. She didn't get that early and said she found the slow pace of the race "a bit boring" before the first successful breakaway.

Samuels' main focus is the ITU world championship triathlon race in Sydney in April, where she and McIlroy hope to qualify for the London Olympics.

That's why Samuels had planned on the training run at the conclusion of the race. Her coach, BikeNZ high performance director Mark Elliott, would have been quick to forgive his star pupil for missing the run as he was the man presenting the medals.

Runner-up Lowe said she was hoping to prove too strong for the two triathletes, but cramped up going up the climb for the eighth time.

"I'm a bit disappointed - cyclists never like losing to triathletes or coming second at all for that matter."

The 182km men's race is tomorrow.