National circuit champion Anna Henderson recovered from a late crash to take a remarkable victory in Barnsley in the HSBC UK | National Women’s Road Series.
A push with just two laps to go saw the Team OnForm rider take a tumble as the rain began to fall, with Jo Tindley and Ejay Harris looking to take advantage in the closing stages.
But Henderson, who took top spot in last week’s HSBC UK | National Circuit Championships, wasn’t done there.
Instead she got back on the bike and, as Storey Racing’s Harris also hit the deck, the door opened for Henderson to take a dramatic win ahead of second-placed Tindley in the penultimate race of the series.
Henderson wastes little time in hitting the front
It took just a couple of laps for the race to be stretched in Barnsley, with the peloton already into a number of groups as they were cheered around by a loud South Yorkshire crowd.
A lead group of three were already looking to make their mark too, with Henderson, Tindley and Harris moving immediately to the front – a place in the race they would not relinquish.
With three of the leading teams at the head of the race, chances of a significant chasing effort were slim – but not for a want of trying from a number of willing participants.
Among them was Megan Barker, having to do all the work before Beth Crumpton made her own break off the front to no avail.
"I've never clipped in so quickly in my life!"— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) July 20, 2018
When @annahendersonxo is down - she gets back up again.
Hear her thoughts after a remarkable comeback in the #WomensRoadSeries. pic.twitter.com/3chjLlK7AW
Front three keep pushing in bid for victory
By this stage the gap had settled at 38 seconds to the front three, showing no signs of coming down as the trio worked together well into the closing stages.
Indeed Crumpton broke clear by 11 seconds from the peloton but still 41 seconds separated her from the front of the race.
With 25 minutes of racing passed, the question then was who would be the first to attack of the front, extending their advantage to the minute mark with five laps of racing to go.
As the laps ticked down, none of Henderson, Tindley or Harris could make the significant move, while Chanel Mason looked to join her Storey Racing teammate as she made a break further back.
Felled Henderson produces perfect recovery
But not even she could do anything about the front three with Tindley – who finished second last time out – eyeing up a higher step on the podium on this occasion.
With just two laps to go it was Henderson who tried to seize the initiative only to crash at the bottom of Market Hill, a moment that looked to have ended her chance at the win.
Yet with Tindley and Harris still locking horns, Henderson returned to the saddle and pushed “harder than she ever has before” – a steely determination washing over her.
And it proved to be an inspired move, with Harris falling at the same point as her counterpart as Henderson swooped in and snatched the win and complete a memorable week on the roads.