4 Jan 2019

Cycling: Bevin looks to build on standout 2018

6:50 am on 4 January 2019

After a standout 2018 the New Zealand cyclist Paddy Bevin is also dreaming of a top three finish at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

That journey begins with his attempt to earn the right to wear the New Zealand champion's jersey in Europe this year with victory at the national road cycling champs which begin in Napier on Friday.

The 27-year-old Bevin enjoyed a breakthrough season for the BMC Racing Team on the UCI World Tour that culminated in a key role in the stage victory in the team time trial at the Tour de France.

He held the overall tour leaders green jersey during the Tour of Britain eventually finishing fourth and also finished eighth at the world time trial champs.

Patrick Bevin in the leader's green jersey at the Tour of Britain.

Patrick Bevin in the leader's green jersey at the Tour of Britain. Photo: Photosport

Bevin returned home last week buoyed with a new contract to the CCC Team, which has morphed out of BMC Racing, opening the door for him to shine in the time trial and on the road in key World Tour races.

"There are some big changes in the team but overall there are opportunities for guys like myself to really step up and see how far we can push it with a bit of breathing room that we didn't have this year," said Bevin.

"Both Yorkshire Worlds and Tokyo are what the next 18 months of my cycling career is all about and I am doing everything I can to put steps in place to achieve those goals with the resources and structure behind me to really push through to Tokyo.

"Eighth at the worlds was good but I felt there was plenty left. It was the first time I had ridden the Worlds, my first time I had ridden a big time trial full stop. I want to push onto Yorkshire in 2019 and through to Tokyo and to threaten medals there."

That starts with the time trial and road race at the national championships, which is always a challenge for European-based professionals in their off-season.

Paddy Bevin.

Paddy Bevin. Photo: Robert Jones

"The focus is on the time trial which is becoming my speciality. I have done what I can within the constraints coming out of Europe. I've only just got back from Europe and two weeks ago at our camp we changed all of our equipment.

"A national title has been a big goal for me. I've made no bones about my desire to win and I have trained as well as possible.

"It would mean a lot to take the Silver Fern over to race especially in the time trial. I wore it a couple of years ago but was not focussed on time trials then. I would love to take it back on the current trajectory and really do it proud."

He will back up in the road race which has attracted a strong field.

"There a good mix of us World Tour guys in the road race this time who are all pretty fit so it should be a really good race.

"We have a big target on the back when you wear a World Tour jersey - and you deserve it. I've been in the other camp and profited from it. The World Tour guys have really got in behind the event and wanting to race. I feel road cycling in New Zealand is in great place and there's a lot of pride in the Silver Fern and we would like to see it back in Europe full-time."

Bevin said his 2018 season has been an accumulation of experience in three seasons on the World Tour.

"For the first few years I was like a headless chook and I got stretched every which way. With more focus on the time trial there was more certainty around my race programme and I found some grounding with my training and with my lifestyle.

"That may sound ridiculous but you have to understand that even past year I would get phone calls on a Wednesday to fly out to race on Thursday to a completely different race than what I had planned for.

"Even the Tour de France I found out I was racing an hour before it went live in the media. I literally did not know.

The championships begin with the time trials on a course around the Church Road Winery with the elite and under-23 women competing over one lap of 20kms and the men over 40kms.

The elite and under-23 women's road race starts at 10am on Saturday over 109kms and the elite and under-23 men's road race from 8.30am on Sunday is 166kms.