Josh Tarling and Lizzie Holden were crowned elite national time-trial champions at Croft Motor Circuit on the first day of the British National Road Championships, while Maddie Leech and local rider Josh Charlton took the under-23 titles.
Josh Tarling (Ineos Grenadiers) rode a blisteringly quick time-trial to be crowned the elite men’s national champion in his first year in the elite ranks. The 19-year-old clocked a time of 48:50.43 on the 41.1km course, starting and finishing in the pit lane at Croft Circuit in Darlington, becoming the youngest ever elite men’s national time-trial champion.
Tarling beat off competition from fellow WorldTeam rider Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) who finished a minute behind on 49:53.24. The 2018 national road champion and Tarling’s teammate Connor Swift managed to claim third place in 50:00.56.
On his win, Tarling said: “It's a bit weird to have won! Weird, but super happy. Super cool to have won against some big hitters and really nice that I get to wear this in some cool races now. I think it was important not to go too hard at the start. I didn't want to go too easy when I felt good.
“It’d be really nice to get another jersey in the circuit on Friday. I podiumed last year so it would be nice. Crits are always fun and it's just fight for an hour.”
Lizzie Holden (UAE Team ADQ) took first place in the elite women’s time-trial, bettering her third place finish at last year’s event. Holden clocked a time of 37:02.14 to take the coveted red, white and blue jersey and the national title, while a shocked Anna Morris (WardPerformanceUK.com) claimed second place in 37:16.21. Elinor Barker (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) finished in third on 37:18.78 after a brilliant ride.
Speaking after her win, Holden said: “It feels really special. I always looked up to those in the national jersey, and I guess now I have one of my own. It doesn't feel real yet. This was something I wanted to aim for because I've been close before, but part of me was like I don't know if I can actually do it. I just did what I could do and thankfully it paid off.
“I’m a bit nervous for the road race, obviously racing without a team, and I'll just be on my own so that will be hard. It's a big field this year, which is really nice to see, to be honest. I remember some of my first nationals where there was maybe 60 girls and now there's like 130. I think it'll be a really hard race.”
Josh Charlton (Saint Piran) stormed to the under-23 men’s title, with the 20-year-old more than 20 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, clocking 33:45.36 on the 27.4km route. Max Walker (Trinity Racing) took a brilliant second place with 34:06.59, while Joshua Golliker (Groupama-FDJ La Conti) came in third on 34:18.26.
Charlton said: “It feels immense. I made it a goal since about this time last year, thinking about it and planning for it, and then it all comes together in 30 minutes – on the course, I felt amazing. I didn't think I was going to win here so it was definitely a big boost.”
Maddie Leech (Lifeplus Wahoo) was crowned the under-23 women’s national champion after clocking a quick time of 38:17.64 – just under a minute ahead of Lucy Gadd (Stade Rochelais Charente-Marit). Gadd took the silver in a time of 39:17.36, while Flora Perkins claimed third in 39:33.418.
Leech said: “It’s really nice to have won the title. I just gave everything I had left and yeah, I felt strong in the last half, so I just kept squeezing, and it paid off.
“With the road race coming up, it is going to be tough, I'm not going to lie. It's very hilly, probably not my forte, but I gave it a good portion, probably just be trying to survive!”
The championships continue on Friday in Redcar with the circuit races, followed by the road races on Sunday in Saltburn. Flag-to-flag coverage of the circuit and road races will be streamed live on the British Cycling YouTube channel, GCN and discovery+.
Circuit races, Friday 23 June:
- Women’s race – 18:30
- Men’s race – 20:00
Road races, Sunday 25 June:
- Women’s race – 09:00
- Men’s race – 13:45