After concentrating on the Rio Olympics for the past few seasons, Regan Gough is finally able to put some effort into the road and he came good. Riding for the now youth-focused AnPost-Chain Reaction squad this year, Gough put in a sizzling ride on the Napier course to beat first year U23 James Fouche, who was twice 2nd in the Junior National time trial the last couple of seasons. Jake Marryatt continues his improvement in the Nationals by coming 3rd, just 22 seconds in arrears, after finishing 6th and 7th the past two seasons, respectively.
Gough has spent a considerable amount of effort on the velodrome but with the Olympics 3 years away once again, he has time to shift his eyes to the road. He is the current National Criterium Champion and he actually did well in the AnPost Ras last year finishing 26th after spending most of the year training for the Team Pursuit. It will be interesting to see how he does on a bigger European schedule with AnPost.
The big surprise from this race was U23 MTB XC World Champion Sam Gaze finishing 4th. He doesn't race on the road much these days but when he does, he can turn heads. Its his first proper time trial as a U23 and to finish 4th, it was pretty darn good but he will actually be an outside threat for the U23 RR, where his smaller body and big power could see a surprise result.
The U23 RR takes place on Sunday in Napier.