Team Wiggins rider James Fouche has won the New Zealand national road jersey and will sport the black jersey when racing for the British UCI Continental outfit this year.
In winning today’s race in Napier, the 20-year-old also successfully retained his Under-23 road title, and earlier this week took victory in the time trial for the same age group.
Fouche attacked on the Napier Hill climb with two and a half laps remaining of the nine-lap closing circuit to ride away to victory.
He said afterwards: “I am thankful that Team Wiggins has re-signed me and it is cool to be able to thank them by taking the national jersey back to race for them this year.”
The Auckland rider had been one of the main protagonists of the day’s race, getting into a decisive 12-man break.
“I thought the key for me was to get an early break because I am not one of the best on the climbs,” he said.
“It worked out really well although I was sceptical to go with three laps left but I just went with it.
“I thought it would be a tester and I was surprised to open up the lead. I was not sure I could hold it.
“I’ve been doing quite a bit of training on the hills so I guess it paid off today and the race played into my hands.”
Another under-23 rider, Kees Duyvesteyn of Otago, finished second, just ahead of EF Education First-Drapac rider Tom Scully, who praised Fouche afterwards.
“It was a long day out there but I was impressed that the group were motivated and all committed to the break and took it to the rest,” he said.
“I told them to work hard for 10 minutes to establish the break and from there it worked well.
“James was very impressive and it shows good signs for the future. It was incredible when James went on the climb and put the sword in.
“It was too much for me. He is an impressive, strong young ride,” he added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.