Local cyclist Tim Rush took a sixth place finish in the elite field of the Christchurch National Road Championships at the weekend.
Two U23 riders finished ahead of Rush which meant he placed 8th across the line, but was the best of the non-professional riders.
Many of the competition's favourites struggled with the frenetic pace and the heat which soared to about 30 degrees throughout the 182km, four hour contest.
The 22-year-old's race plan was to stick with the leaders from the outset, anticipating that the field would split at the first of the 10 gruelling hill climbs up Dyers Pass Rd in Cashmere.
Tour of Southland winner Mike Northey and his teammate Roman Van Uden set the pace, leading for a number of laps while Rush stuck in the second group with a number of strong professional riders with the peloton remaining four minutes behind for most of the race.
Mark Ryan stepped on the gas in the 10th lap, pulling his team mates George Bennett, Hayden Roulston and James Omran up through the field.
The rigorous course eventually took its toll on Northey and Van Uden forcing them to fall back.
Bennett, Roulston and Omran jockeyed for the front three positions whilst Rush stayed with the second group working solidly throughout.
The Oamaruvian's group was then joined by Tour de France rider Julian Dean, who was having his last race as a professional.
Rush finished with a bunch which included Dean, Michael Vink (2012 Elite Road Race winner), Michael Thorkey (NZ Professional rider) and Jesse Sergent (2012 NZ Track Champion).