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Linda Villumsen takes two Silver Medals in the NZ National Championships

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Linda Villumsen came away with two Silver Medals from the New Zealand National Road Championships in Christchurch, South Island, this weekend. The Danish-born 28-year-old was narrowly beaten in Saturday’s Road Race by 2010 champion Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedHealthcare), having finished just 28 seconds slower than Jaime Nielsen (Waikato BoP) in Friday’s Time Trial.


Villumsen completed the flat, 25km, out and back Time Trial course in a time of 34 minutes 56 seconds in the deceptively windy conditions, but was just unable to match last year’s Silver Medallist Nielsen. Reta Trotman (Cycling Otago) was third.

“I’m obviously a bit disappointed that I didn’t win, but I had a bit of stress before the start with a punctured disc,” said Villumsen afterwards. “Then had repair work right up to the start, pretty much, but my legs weren’t really feeling so good either.

“I couldn’t really make it work on the way back, but I suppose that happens,” she explained. “And some of the other girls – Jaime especially – have been training real hard for this, and that pays off on a day like this. She was just better on the day.

“The only hard thing is the wind. It’s a bit weird for that because it’s not really windy, but it’s quite windy out there on the course,” Villumsen added. “It’s the same course as we did last year, and the times were a bit worse than last year, I think, because of the wind direction.

“It’s a flat course, not too technical, just one way out and one way back.”


Saturday’s 120.5km Road Race saw Villumsen alongside Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Emily Collins but, having put in a strong chase that brought back the breakaway that included Buchanan, was unable to match the US-based rider in the sprint.

“It was a bit of a strange race actually,” Villumsen explained. “We only had 21 riders so everybody was looking at each other a bit, and at the big riders, and a couple of riders managed to sneak out early and got four or five minutes.”

With such a small peloton it was not too difficult for the breakaway to establish itself, but it proved very difficult to chase the strong riders down in the closing laps of the race.

“[Buchanan] was out all day – from the third lap – with a couple of other riders out front, and we just caught them in the last kilometres,” Villumsen explained. “In the last three laps or so we really put a chase on, with all of us just riding full on until we caught them, and she was just able to stay on my wheel and also pass me in the finish. She had an incredible ride today.”


Along with Villumsen’s Silver Medal, Collins took fourth place – her best ever finish at the National Championships – in a strong showing for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling.

“It’s not too bad, but we would have liked to have a jersey,” Villumsen said.

Unfortunately, as the only Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider in the Australian National Road Race, Peta Mullens suffered cramp in the final lap and finished in 15th place. The 25-year-old Victorian was part of the 11-rider leading group going into the closing stages of the 102km race, but was unable to add to the Silver Medal she won in Thursday’s Criterium Championships, as Orica-AIS’ Gracie Elvin retained her title.


Result New Zealand National Time Trial
1. Jaime Nielsen (Waikato BoP)
2. Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Reta Trotman (Cycling Otago)

Result New Zealand National Road Race
1. Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedHealthcare)
2. Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Reta Trotman (Cycling Otago)
4. Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

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