Domestic Bliss On The Roads Of Northumberland For Jessica Roberts & Connor Swift In The 2018 National Road Race Championships In Stamfordham.
Fending off the Continental based Stars of the Road around the infamous 22-mile Ryals loop in Northumberland, Jessica Roberts [Team Breeze] and Connor Swift [Madison-Genesis] took emotional wins across the line in Stamfordham as blistering temperatures melted the road surfaces in a hotly contested race that brought glory to the Domestic Scene in both the Men’s & Women’s races.
A strong field of Women were amongst the 87 starters including Olympic Track & Road rider Dani Rowe [WaowDeals Pro Cycling], Hannah Barnes [CANYON-SRAM Racing] & Lizzy Banks [Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling Team].
It was another Continental rider that lit the torch in the early stages as Dani Christmas [Bizkaia Durango-Euskadi Murias] set about an early break along with former Women’s Road Series winner Nikki Juniper [NJC-Biemme-Echelon] and ever active Illi Gardner [YRDP] building a lead of around 30s before returning to the fold.
The Peloton were together as the riders tackled the Ryals for a second time.
Through Matfen Juniper moved off the front again, this time joined by Hannah Payton & Anna Christian [Trek-Drops] along with Natalie Grinczer [WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling]. A 30s gap opened up as the riders passed the line for the penultimate time with 36km remaining.
Down to half-a-lap remaining, the 4 leaders were in-sight of the peloton as Dani Rowe [WaowDeals Pro Cycling Team] reeled them back into the fold.
Rowe attacked in hope of the Jersey, the speed of the peloton increased and a single line formed in pursuit.
Defending U23 Champion & newly crowned U23 Time Trial Champion Mel Lowther [Storey Racing] counter-attacks.
Roberts bridged across to Lowther gaining a small gap, as the peloton were kept at bay up & over the Ryals and the final push, with 7 kms remaining and a 22s advantage.
With only a few kilometres remaining Emma Grant [Team Tibco Silicon Valley] tried chasing the leading duo down, Anna Henderson [Cycle Team OnForm] joined her.
The gap halved & nineteen-year-old Roberts began to sense that Lowther was unable to sustain the pace and decided to give it 100% commitment – taking it all the way to the line for not one, but two National Jerseys.
Rowe came a close second with Roberts team-mate Eleanor Dickinson [Team Breeze] third. Finishing 3rd on the U23 Podium Anna Kay [Storey Racing] who finished fourth overall with 5th place going to another Team Breeze rider Megan Barker.
Jessica Roberts reaction to winning both the U23 & Senior Titles. “Yes, I’m really, really happy. I didn’t expect that. In that final 1km I just went for it, gave it my all – and it payed off. Yeh, I’m over the Moon.”
A big target for Dani Rowe this year, competing at the Nationals, got put into jeopardy crashing heavily on the penultimate OVO Energy Women’s Tour. Although finishing the final stage and a 2nd on the podium said afterwards “Probably never been so gutted to be second – to be honest. I really wanted the Jersey, but like I said I think I did everything I could today. I tried to make it as hard as I could, unfortunately nothing was kind-a sticking – but I was trying to hurt everyone else’s legs as much as I could.
I knew I had a good sprint, I wasn’t too bothered if it came down to a sprint. Obviously, Jess counter attacked myself-actually on the back half of the circuit.
The gap was coming down, but the finish line came a little bit too soon unfortunately”.
Gold – 1 69 Jessica Roberts (U23) Team Breeze 2:43:23
Silver – 2 92 Danielle Rowe WaowDeals Pro Cycling Team +1
Bronze – 3 66 Eleanor Dickinson (U23) Team Breeze st
4 58 Anna Kay (U23) Storey Racing st
5 63 Megan Barker (U23) Team Breeze st
6 91 Elizabeth Banks Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling Team st
7 2 Emily Wadsworth (U23) 100% ME st
8 12 Henrietta Colborne (U23) Bizkaia Durango-Euskadi Murias st
9 39 Alice Cobb Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling T st
10 77 Laura Massey Torelli-Brother st
11 17 Hannah Barnes CANYON // SRAM RACING st
12 94 Elinor Barker Wiggle High5 st
13 11 Dani Christmas Bizkaia Durango-Euskadi Murias st
14 37 Rachel Langdon Gray Goat Mobile Bullseye Total st
15 87 Abigail Van Twisk (U23) Trek-Drops +6
16 45 Jennifer Powell NJC – Biemme – Echelon st
17 76 Jennifer George Torelli-Brother +8
18 22 Anna Henderson (U23) Cycle Team OnForm st
19 25 Alicia Speake Cycle Team OnForm +11
20 59 Melissa Lowther (U23) Storey Racing +15
21 73 Emma Grant Team TIBCO â€“ Silicon Valley B +21
22 78 Sophie Wright (U23) Torelli-Brother st
23 84 Hannah Payton Trek-Drops st
24 65 Abigail Dentus (U23) Team Breeze st
25 80 Anna Christian Trek-Drops st
26 100 Illi Gardner (U23) YRDP st
27 15 Hannah Larbalestier Boompods EDCO NRG st
28 8 Georgina Panchaud Bianchi Dama st
29 60 Chanel Mason Storey Racing st
30 71 Annabel Fisher Team Jadan Weldtite-Vive le Vel st
A gutsy move by Connor Swift [Madison-Genesis] paid dividends with 13km remaining on the final small circuit of the National Road Championships. Time-trialling himself along the last half of the course – looked at one point – as if former National Champion Adam Blythe [Aqua Blue Sport] was going to get across from what was effectively the remnants of the days big break. Blythe got to within whiskers of contesting the sprint-finish but just ran out of gas in the dying kilometres to finish second – 22s back.
Team Sky had a representative in the move finishing third overall with Owain Doull and the other big name, Ben Swift [UAE Team Emirates], were part of a strong Domestic field of 17 riders that held over a three-minute gap throughout the race.
Jon Mould [JLT Condor] was the first to attack from the gun getting a 10s gap in the first couple of kilometres. Reeled back, there were many attacks from a very active peloton – early on.
A group of seventeen riders eventually settled at the head of the race including Charlie Tanfield [Canyon Eisberg] winner of the Time Trial Championships a few days earlier. Track Team-mate Daniel Bigham [Ribble Cycling] & Matt Holmes [Madison-Genesis].
As the kilometres came down a bit of urgency to close the riders down split the peloton into five or six groups with several Sky riders finding them selves towards the rear of the chase. Stannard was the closest to the front that led the only real challenge coming from much further back to bridge the gap joining up with Mark Donovan [Team WIGGINS] & Tom Stewart [JLT Condor] and got to with-in 50s at one point.Robert Scott [Team WIGGINS] finished fourth, to claim the U23 Title as he sprinted across the line with Fred Wright [100%] a close 2nd, finishing fifth. Gabriel Cullaigh [Team WIGGINS] finished 7th some thirty seconds behind to finish third on the U23 Podium.
Only 38 riders from the 146 starters finished the race, succumbing to the fast pace & increasing temperatures on this hot, glorious day in Northumberland as the crowd applauded all those that were pulled on the final lap including Mark Cavendish [Dimension Data].
Gold – 1 71 Connor Swift Madison Genesis 4:19:06
Silver – 2 12 Adam Blythe Aqua Blue Sport +22
Bronze – 3 130 Owain Doull Team Sky +25
4 145 Robert Scott (U23) Team Wiggins st
5 10 Fred Wright (U23) 100% ME st
6 72 Ben Hetherington Memil CCN Pro Cycling +27
7 137 Gabriel Cullaigh (U23) Team Wiggins +34
8 149 Ben Swift UAE Team Emirates +59
9 146 Joey Walker (U23) Team Wiggins st
10 18 Dexter Gardias Canyon Eisberg st
11 13 Mark Christian Aqua Blue Sport st
12 53 Alistair Slater JLT Condor st
13 69 George Pym Madison Genesis st
14 89 Daniel Bigham Ribble Cycling +1:03
15 65 Matthew Holmes Madison Genesis +1:13
16 26 Charlie Tanfield (U23) Canyon Eisberg +4:24
17 54 Thomas Stewart JLT Condor st
18 138 Mark Donovan (U23) Team Wiggins st
19 134 Ian Stannard Team Sky +4:27
20 162 Alexandar Richardson 0 +7:52
21 27 Andrew Tennant Canyon Eisberg +8:16
22 141 Dylan Kerfoot-Robson (U23) Team Wiggins st
23 85 Peter Williams One Pro Cycling st
24 4 Matthew Bostock (U23) 100% ME st
25 126 Julian Varley (U23) Team KTM UK +8:18
26 28 Ben Turner (U23) Corendon-Circus st
27 80 Michael Mottram Morvelo Basso RT st
28 153 Joshua Hunt Vitus Pro Cycling st
29 19 Matthew Nowell (U23) Canyon Eisberg st
30 83 Christopher Latham One Pro Cycling st
31 95 Zeb Kyffin (U23) Ribble Cycling st
32 24 Maximilian Stedman (U23) Canyon Eisberg st
33 158 Mark McNally Wanty – Groupe Gobert st
34 51 Thomas Moses JLT Condor +8:22
35 60 James Shaw (U23) Lotto Soudal +8:25
36 64 Richard Handley Madison Genesis +8:36
37 81 Thomas Baylis (U23) One Pro Cycling +8:40
38 142 Thomas Pidcock (U23) Team Wiggins +8:44
2017 – Lizzie Deignan – U23 Melissa Lowther – Steve Cummings – U23 Chris Lawless
2016 – Hannah Barnes – U23 Alice Barnes – Adam Blythe – U23 Tao Geoghegan Hart
2015 – Lizzie Deignan – U23 Alice Barnes – Pete Kennaugh – U23 Owain Doull
2014 – Laura Kenny – U23 Laura Kenny – Pete Kennaugh – U23 Ed Laverack
2013 – Lizzie Deignan – U23 Laura Kenny – Mark Cavendish – U23 Simon Yates
2012 – Sharon Laws – U23 Katie Colclough – Ian Stannard – U23 Mike Cuming
2011 – Lizzie Deignan – U23 Laura Trott – Sir Bradley Wiggins – U23 Scott Thwaites
2010 – Emma Pooley – U23 Lizzie Deignan – Geraint Thomas – U23 Andrew Fenn
2009 – Nicole Cooke – U23 Lizzie Deignan – Kristian House – U23 Peter Kennaugh
2008 – Nicole Cooke – U23 Joanna Rowsell – Rob Hayles – U23 Peter Kennaugh
2007 – Nicole Cooke – U23 Nikki Harris – David Millar – U23 Rob Partridge
2006 – Nicole Cooke – None – Hamish Haynes – U23 Peter Bissell
2005 – Nicole Cooke – None – Russell Downing – U23 Ben Greenwood
2004 – Nicole Cooke – None – Roger Hammond – U23 Dan Fleeman
2003 – Nicole Cooke – None – Roger Hammond – U23 Keiran Page
2002 – Nicole Cooke – None – Julian Winn – U23 Jamie Alberts
2001 – Nicole Cooke – None – Jeremy Hunt – U23 James Shaw
2000 – Ceris Gilfillan – None – John Tanner – U23 Neil Swithenbank