Double Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond has won the inaugural Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge, defeating a field of quality riders that included Tour de France professional George Bennett.
Bond laid down the gauntlet early in the 158 km race and continued to power away to win by more than five minutes in a time of 3 hours 51 minutes and 51 seconds.
Second was Ollie Jones in 3 hours 57 minutes and 10 seconds, Paul Odlin was third, and Bennett came home sixth.
"I didn't really plan to go hard so early but I was feeling good and got stuck in about 10km out of town," explained Bond being overlooked at the World Rowing Awards.
"I kept the power on and was able to break away. Later a group of five was chasing and I figured if I could pull away a little more at that point then I could break their spirits. Thankfully I managed that.
"I did push really hard but I think that is an important part of becoming an elite cyclist and learning quickly. You have to make these huge efforts to understand where you are, what you are capable of as an athlete and of course, what areas you need to improve in going forward."
Bond averaged over 40km/h for the road race which started and finished at Nelson Airport after looping through Upper Moutere, Motueke and Mapua
Susie Wood was the top female rider, completing the course in 4 hours, 22 minutes and 2 seconds, less than a minute ahead of her main rival through the race, Indy Kraal.