Emily Collins has won the New Zealand National Criterium Championships, in her home city of Auckland, on the country’s North Island. Despite being marked heavily throughout the 30-minute race, around a 1.1km downtown Takapuna circuit, the 23-year-old capped an attacking performance with a sprint victory over Sophie Williamson from Alexandra, with Karen Fulton of Nelson third.
“I’m over the moon to win the New Zealand Criterium Nationals tonight!” Collins exclaimed. “I went in with a pretty relaxed attitude after coming off a nice off season break, but after a three weeks solid training and preparation from Noosa, plus a bit of motor pacing with my old man, I managed to feel pretty good out there!
“I was keen to be aggressive and make things tough from the go,” the 23-year-old explained. “I was pretty heavily marked, so it proved a bit difficult to create a gap. Sophie Williamson was the key contester and made things nice and heated throughout! I ended up deciding that my best chances would be to hold off for a sprint kick, so I tucked in for the final laps, but stuck in the top-three in a good position.
“A solo rider took a flier the final lap and no one chased, so I decided to go for it with three-quarters of a lap to go,” she continued. “I managed to almost close before the chasing peloton reconnected, and I luckily hung in for a good kick to take the win.”
Collins took Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s first ever road victory, in the Omloop van het Hageland, in Belgium, back in early March, and is rounding off an excellent 2013 season as she finishes the year with the form in which she started it.
“I’m very pleased to win this on home soil,” she smiled. “I’m an Auckland girl so was great to have some favourite supporters out edging me on! I’m thrilled to get another National title for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling!”
1. Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
2. Sophie Williamson (Alexandra)
3. Karen Fulton (Nelson)