NELSON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 3: Hamish Bond wins the Solo race at the Abel Tasman Cycle Classic. Saturday 3 December 2016, Nelson, New Zealand. (Photo by: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport Limited)

Hamish Bond claims Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge title

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Rowing champion Hamish Bond has won the first ever Abel Tasman Cycle Classic by dominating a field of more than 600 riders at the course which began and ended at Saxton Fields today.

Hamish completed the 158km course in three hours 51 minutes and 51 seconds.

He won by more than five minutes from Ollie Jones and a Paul Odlin.

Warwick Spence was the first local home in 4.09.48 with Nelson’s Tour de France rider George Bennett a further minute back in sixth.

Hamish says he found the course beautiful but admitted to having one too many coffees this morning which may have spurred him to make an early break just 15km into the race.

“I had to work hard to try to break the spirit of the riders who were chasing.

“It wasn’t the plan to do it so early but I ended up riding about 145km by myself.”

Hamish says he knew he was making good time but was always cautious of a counter-attack.

“I knew the workrate I was doing was pretty good and someone told me out on the road that there were five guys chasing but I thought they’d have to work hard to get me.”

Hamish says he would be keen to return to the new event next year.

“I thought it was a great event, and it’s something that should grow on what they’ve done this year.”

Hamish was presented with a yellow jersey for his victory and enjoyed a bit of chocolate ice cream to celebrate his win.

His next focus will be the national championships.