The New Zealand national champion jersey is set to be on display at some of Europe's biggest cycling races, after Shane Archbold claimed an emotional victory in the men's road race in Cambridge today.

Archbold hunted down fellow World Tour rider George Bennett in a stunning finish, with Bennett's attempted 80 kilometre escape being caught by a rampaging Archbold in the final kilometres, and the powerful Archbold comfortably winning the sprint finish.

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For the 31-year-old, his first national title was an incredibly emotional victory, having spent nearly a year out of the sport in 2017, and dropping out of the World Tour after a torrid time with injuries.

"I was so happy for George and it hurt me to ride him down, but after the last three years I've had I really needed this," said a teary Archbold after the victory.

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"I reckon 200 people have told me in the past few days 'The course is pretty hard Shane – the course is pretty hard'. I guess they were referring to my stature, my size, but the only thing I was thinking was 'put me in the race, give me a bit of luck and anything's possible'."

Anything's possible – except the chances of a climber winning on the Cambridge course, according to Bennett.

The Jumbo-Visma star looked a chance of an incredible solo victory after attacking on the race's early climbs alongside Michael Torckler, before going solo with nearly 50 kilometres to go.

With a lead of three minutes as he moved into the final 30 kilometres, and with a disjointed chase behind, it looked as if Bennett could produce "a Landis" of his own. However, his lead was cut to a minute with nine kilometres remaining, and as Archbold attacked away from fellow chasers Dylan Kennett and Aaron Gate, Bennett ran out of power, and he was never going to beat the sprinter in the final straight.

"In the end, it just wasn't good enough," reflected Bennett.

"There was nothing I could do, my glutes had just given out by then, I couldn't sit down any more, couldn't do anything. I'm disappointed, but on the other hand, Shane's a good friend of mine.

"In the end, we did have an exciting race, but it's pretty much impossible for the climbers to win."

Archbold will be the first New Zealand champion to be based in Europe since 2014, and with his role as a lead-out rider in the sprints, the black and white fern should be visible in major races, including a likely Grand Tour – potentially even the Tour de France alongside sprint teammate Sam Bennett.

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"Nothing changes for me apart from the clothing I'll be wearing, I've still got a job to do," said Archbold.

"I still won't get the opportunities - I don't deserve the opportunities - I know what my job is, I'm clear in that, but it will be great to do my job wearing the national champion's jersey."

The national jersey should also be seen in some high-level European women's races as well, after 20-year-old Niamh Fisher-Black, who rides for Swiss team Bigla-Katusha, took out the women's road race. Much like in the men's race, a long-range attacker was caught in the final kilometres as Kate McCarthy was hauled in, and the promising Fisher-Black outsprinted Ella Harris and Teresa Adam to take the victory.