Rushlee Buchanan has added the national women's time trial title to her burgeoning list of cycling accomplishments.

And she did it in dramatic fashion on day one of the road cycling nationals in Hawke's Bay.

Buchanan edged two-time defending champion Jaime Nielsen by little over a second 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 200 metres to go and I thought it must be pretty close," Buchanan said.


She rode seven kilometres further than Nielsen, her track cycling team-mate, 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," Buchanan said.

"I had to calm down and use that anger and frustration and put it into the pedals," she said.

"I knew that I was going to be a little bit faster on the downhills and through the corners so I had to focus on that."

As the two-time defending champion, it was Nielsen's right to start last, an honour she unknowingly gave up when Buchanan was allowed to restart.

But she doesn't begrudge the organisers.

"Putting myself in her position, it would have been really gutting to go the wrong way and not have a shot at it," Nielsen said.

"She [Buchanan] probably had a bit of anger in her to get through the race."

Rushlee Buchanan harnessed that anger to perfection to ensure the New Zealand champion's jersey will be heading to the United Healthcare team, who world time trial champion Linda Villumsen also rides for.

"She [Villumsen] is not here so I guess I had to do her proud and do the team justice," Buchanan said.

"They'll be really happy and it's an honour to wear the silver fern overseas."