Megan Barker powered to her first senior national title and Ollie Wood cruised to a solo victory on the second day of the British National Road Championships in Redcar.
Megan Barker (Team Inspired) outsprinted junior rider Cat Ferguson (Shibden Hope Tech Apex) and Maddie Leech (Lifeplus Wahoo) to claim the title in a hotly-contested circuit race.
A number of riders made attacks in the first few laps with Frankie Hall (Loughborough Lightning) leading the charge with some very aggressive racing, injecting pace into the race and making the peloton work hard from the off. Leech continued to make frequent attacks as the bunch splintered the best from the rest.
Katie Archibald (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team) counter-attacked as she attempted to get away, but DAS-Handsling reeled her back in and controlled the front of the race. Ferguson also had a go but was unable to get away from DAS-Handsling’s control.
With just a few laps remaining, Archibald attacked and finally managed to make it stick, racking up a sizeable margin in the closing stages of the race. The victory looked to be hers, but she unfortunately slid out in a corner, ending her race.
At the same time, the chasing bunch were involved in a huge crash as a touch of wheels saw a large group riders go down and caused the race to be paused.
The race started up again for 10 more laps, where the pace was extremely high as riders fought for those all-important podium places.
Coming onto the final straight, Leech went long and sprinted with Barker and Ferguson on her wheel. Barker launched her attack and showed incredible speed to hold off Ferguson, while Leech claimed her second medal of the championships after her under-23 win in the time-trial.
Speaking after her win, Barker said: “It's my first senior national title, so I'm really happy and I've always wanted to win, so I'm finally able to say that!
“It’s really nice for both Elinor and I to have won something! We have another race on Sunday and I think that suits her even more so hopefully we might get another medal and make it a proper Barker occasion!”
Despite the delayed start and some light rain adding to the nerves, it was a lightning fast start to the men’s race, with Wednesday’s elite time-trial champion Josh Tarling (Ineos Grenadiers) again showing his strength.
After an early attack from reigning champion Matt Bostock (Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy), it was the newly-crowned North West and Yorkshire regional road champion Ollie Wood who was the first to break clear, quickly establishing a 20-second lead.
With the peloton unable to organise an effective chase Wood continued to press ahead, and despite the work of Tarling, Bostock and Sam Watson (Groupama-FDJ), he extended his lead as the race’s conclusion came into view.
A chasing group spearheaded by Welshman Joe Holt (TEKKERZ CC) at last showed some impetus, but with the rain continuing to fall their progress was halted by a crash on the first corner of the course.
As Wood time-trialled his way to victory and crossed the line with his arms aloft, the bunch sprint for the remaining podium places saw Bostock take second and Tim Shoreman (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli) third, with local favourite Harry Tanfield agonisingly missing out in fourth.
Wood said: “It feels really good. Absolutely not the plan to break away, it just happened and I just thought I'd roll with it, and then it stuck to the end. I definitely could feel everyone behind me and the people in Redcar definitely turned out tonight.
“I don't think I can remember the last time I won a race like that with a gap and you can just sort of cruise down the finish line and just take it and look at everyone's faces, everyone's loving it as well as much as me.”
The British National Road Championships conclude on Sunday with the road races in Saltburn, with flag-to-flag coverage available once again through the British Cycling YouTube channel, GCN+ and discovery+.
- Women’s race – 09:00
- Men’s race – 13:45