Peter Kennaugh and Lizzie Armitstead took the road race titles at today’s British Cycling National Road Championships in Lincolnshire.
Peter Kennaugh took his second successive British men’s road title in a remarkable race while Lizzie Armitstead delivered a stunning solo effort to win the women’s title.
Team Sky’s Kennaugh finally distanced a courageous Mark Cavendish on the ninth and final climb of Michaelgate in Lincoln. Ian Stannard completed the podium behind Cavendish.
After crosswinds saw the peloton ripped apart in the early stages, Kennaugh and Team Sky colleague Stannard escaped leaving Mark Cavendish, Luke Rowe, Scott Thwaites and Adam Blythe in pursuit.
Thwaites and Blythe dropped back before Luke Rowe decided to work with Cavendish to shut down the gap on his Team Sky associates with only three laps remaining.
They cut down the 40-second gap on the duo and bridged on Michaelgate – the eighth of nine ascents of the cobbles.
On the final 13-kilometre lap Stannard burst free but was caught before Kennaugh and Cavendish accelerated away leaving Rowe and 2012 champion Stannard to contest bronze.
It was fittingly left for the final climb of Michaelgate for the title to be decided and although Cavendish kept with Kennaugh the 26-year-old eventually pulled away to become the first British male to win back-to-back road titles since Roger Hammond in 2003 and 2004.
Team Wiggins’ Owain Doull impressed to finish seventh and with it take the under-23 men’s championship.
“The atmosphere is incredible and something I’ll never forget,” Kennaugh said.
“Obviously last year it meant everything – it was the first time – I’d been on the podium about four times before that so I really enjoyed this last year.
“I’m over the moon just to stay in white with my white bike and my white accessories!
“It means a lot to me and it gives you that extra motivation with that added pressure of carrying the jersey in the pro peloton – you can’t just get away with sitting at the back and stuff. You’re easily spotted.
“It’s good for the motivation – it’s good for the morale going forward for the rest of the year.”
Armitstead won her third British road title – after victories in 2011 and 2013 – with a solo attack on the penultimate climb of the famous Michaelgate. Alice Barnes, just 19 years of age, was second with Laura Trott third.
No rider was able to match Armitstead’s effort on the fourth of five times up the cobbled climb and the Boels Dolmans Cycling Team rider completed the last lap alone before crossing the finish line to the backdrop of Lincoln Cathedral.
“It means I get to be proud of being British in all the races that I do,” Armitstead said of being able to wear the British champion’s jersey.
“It means a lot – it means new kit for a start! I go to the Giro on Friday so it will be a quick turnaround for them.
“I had some good people around me before the start who told me to believe in myself and I listened.
“It was a difficult race. The longer the race went on the better I started to feel.”
Team Betch NL Superior-Brentjens rider Alice Barnes took a superb second, in her first elite road championships, to win the under-23 women’s champion title with defending champion Laura Trott, of Matrix Fitness, third.
While Armitstead savoured the win, behind her the race for silver and bronze came down to the final corners as Alice Barnes showed her huge potential in holding off the challenge of defending champion Laura Trott.
Highlights of the championships will be broadcast on ITV4 at 6pm on Monday 29 June.
Women’s Top Ten
1 Lizzie Armitstead 02.51.14
2 Alice Barnes U23 @1.52
3 Laura Trott
4 Molly Weaver U23
5 Nikki Harris @2.01
6 Katie Archibald U23
7 Hannah Barnes U23
8 Lucy Coldwell
9 Sharon Laws
10 Hayley Simmonds
Men Top Ten
1 Peter Kennaugh 04.27.33
2 Mark Cavendish MBE @0.05
3 Ian Stannard @0.39
4 Luke Rowe
5 Scott Thwaites @3.00
6 Adam Blythe
7 Owain Doull U23 @6.29
8 Yanto Barker
9 Steve Lampier
10 Jonathon Mould
15 Sam Lowe U23 @8.26
18 Matt Gibson U23 @8.45