Lauren Murphy could hardly believe just what she had achieved after waltzing to a superb victory at the National Junior Road Race Championships.
The Liv Cycling racer is no stranger to the national event, but not even she expected just what was in store in Wallingford as she cruised to a victory she had given everything and more to.
There was also success for Louis Rose-Davies, winning the men's equivalent race in the Championships.
But his was a less straightforward venture, only taking the lead in the final kilometre as the top five were separated by five seconds.
Murphy leads from the front
For the first time this year the National Road Race Championship for Junior Women was run as a standalone race with the field of 68 riders taking on a slightly shorter version of the course.
The race stayed together on the short course but on the first climb of Flint Hill, Murphy started to ease away from the group.
It wasn’t a big lead at first – not more than 20 or 30 metres the first time up the hill and, unlike the men, the bunch stayed pretty much intact at the head of affairs – although riders were being shelled out of the back
Only 43 would finish but the attrition behind her was of no concern to Murphy who just rode away from the field on the final lap – the gap going out to just under two minutes with a kilometre to go.
Local rider Madeleine Gammons took second as the 36 riders still in the peloton charged over the line – with Ellie Russell of Team Backstedt/Hotchillee taking third.
Emotional Murphy speechless in disbelief
Murphy said: “I honestly couldn’t believe it. When I went away and I knew I had 20 seconds for a good 10km, I thought they are going to catch me at some point.
"So the next thing I knew they came up and said I had 55 seconds I thought there is no point sitting there waiting so I went for it and then kept going.
“I realised when I had a minute and 40 seconds I might do it. And then I realised I had a minute and a half. I thought I could fall off and I‘d still win.
“I was doing quite well and I think they might have sat up after and then it got harder from that. I thought I was going to be sick with about 40k to go, so the fact that I made it… I don’t have any words.
“I’ve being doing the National Championships for ten years now and I only ever got worse as the years went on - I just kept dropping further and further down and I finally thought I’ve got a chance this year I just had to give it everything and it paid off.”
Rose-Davies leaves it late in Wallingford
The 2017 Junior Men’s Road Race National Championships rolled out of Wallingford and onto four circuits of a rolling course.
On the second of the short laps through Crowmarsh Gifford, South Stoke and Woodcote, a couple of small groups got away, including a trio of Edmund Bishop of VC Meudon, Louie Priddle of Mid-Devon CC and Timothy Torrie of HMT with JLT Condor.
The two groups came together and maintained their lead onto the penultimate short lap, but as they headed towards the first of the two long laps, the group was down to six.
On the run-in to the finish It was Tom Pidcock of PH-MAS/Paul Milne/Oldfield Cycles who led, having bridged across with a chasing group after the final long lap.
He had a comfortable lead with a couple of kilometres to go, but it was Rose-Davies of Canyon UK who took the initiative in the final kilometre and powered past on the run-in to take a solo win by just three seconds.
Late break proves its worth
“I tried to save as much energy as I could," said Rose-Davies. "With 60km to go the break was going straight up the road, so me and Olly decided to go.
"A break came across first time up the steep hill and we sort of rode together and then the second time up the hill there was a sort of selection and that was it until the last few kilometres.
“In the last 2km Tom (Pidcock) attacked and the rest of the group struggled to catch him up. When we caught him up I decided to attack from behind and swung across the road so they couldn’t get on my wheel and I did everything I could to try and stay ahead.”
"The last few hundred metres I saw Tom going and I knew how fast he can be in the last few metres so I had to keep pushing on.”
1. Lauren Murphy (Liv Cycling Club-Epic Coaching) 2:14:33
2. Madeleine Gammons (Team Vision Innovative Leisure) @ 1:29
3. Ellie Russell (Team Backstedt/Hotchillee) same time
4. Jessica Woodworth (Cycle Team OnForm) st
5. Rhona Callander (Team Jaden-Weldtite) st
6. Anna Kay (EDCO Continental) st
7. Kara Perryman (Hargroves-Ridely-Monetzuma) st
8. Victoria Lovett (i-team Cyclists Club) st
9. Isabel Ellis (Team Backstedt/Hotchillee) st
10. Lorna Bowler (Team Backstedt/Hotchillee) st
1. Louis Rose-Davies (Canyon UK) 2:40:42
2. Thomas Pidcock (PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield Cycles) @ 0:03
3. Oliver Robinson (Thanet RC Race Team) same time
4. Daniel Tulett (Specialized Racing) st
5. Sean Flynn (Edinburgh RC) st
6. Matthew Shaw (Wheelbase Cabtech Junior RT) st
7. Michael Parry (Verulam – reallymoving.com) @ 1:20
8. Matthew Ellis (Steven Poole Plant Hire/Raleigh) @1:28
9. Josh Copley (Catford CC Equipe/Banks) same time
10. Timothy Torrie (HMT with JLT Condor) st