Jeffers and Askey storm to national titles at Lloyds Bank National Circuit Championships

Jeffers and Askey storm to national titles at Lloyds Bank National Circuit Championships

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Emma Jeffers and Lewis Askey sealed their first elite national titles at the 2024 Lloyds Bank National Circuit Championships, with commanding performances in front of a bumper crowd in Darlington.

Riders battled it out over a race of 55 minutes plus five laps on the tight and technical town centre circuit, with the coveted national champion’s jersey up for grabs for the winners.

Women’s race 

The tight Darlington circuit saw riders jostling for position from the off, and within the first 10 minutes the formidable duo of Sophie Lewis (DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK) and Emma Jeffers (Liv AlUla Jayco) establish the first break of the race.

The pair were soon brought back, before Jenny Holl (Loughborough Lightning) then struck out on her own, but was reeled back too.

Quick to sense an opportunity, Lewis then made the first meaningful move of the race, building up an eight-second lead on the hesitant bunch behind. With Lewis eventually caught, a cagey race ensued, with no rider able to escape.

With the 45-minute mark approaching, Monica Greenwood (Team Coop-Hitec Products) spearheaded a group of three riders to get away, including Esther Wong (Shibden Apex RT) and Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Women breakthrough star Lucy Lee (DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK).

Women podium

With 50 minutes up the bunch was all back together as the riders approached the line, and with five laps to go Maddie Leech (Lifeplus Wahoo) and Amy Gornall (Pro-Noctis - 200º Coffee - Hargreaves Contracting Ltd) looked to seize the initiative. 

Despite their best efforts, the riders entered the final lap of the race all together, with many of the favourites well placed. With the finish line in sight Eilidh Shaw (Alba Development Road Team) found herself with a gap, but 19-year-old Jeffers was winding up for a huge final burst behind her, and passed Shaw with ease to cross the line with her arms in the air to take her first ever national title.

Isabel Darvill (Doltcini - O'Shea) was the strongest of the trailing bunch to take an impressive third place finish, with Greenwood fourth and Alice Colling (Shibden Apex RT) fifth.

Speaking afterwards, Jeffers said: 

“It feels amazing. Honestly it means everything, especially in the crit as that’s what made me fall in love with cycling. It’s really nice. I loved the course and the fans made it even better. I’m lost for words, I can’t believe it!”

  Lewis Askey

Open race

A field of 70 then lined up to contest the open championship, in a race packed with the country’s best emerging talent, and the Groupama – FDJ trio of Sam Watson, Lewis Askey and Noah Hobbs all made their presence felt towards the front of the race.

Watson quickly established a gap on the bunch with circuit race specialist Rob Scott (TEKKERZ CC), and the pair were soon joined by Askey to establish a dominant position in the race.

With the trio’s lead approaching 20 seconds, former champion Matt Bostock (Ribble Rebellion) sought to close the gap, but as the halfway point of the race neared the gap only extended further out to 36 seconds.


Eventually recognising the danger, the bunch stepped up the pace with big efforts from Max Rushby (Ribble Rebellion), Daniel Barnes (Spectra Racing) and Bostock, but their coordination was still lacking as the 50-minute mark approached.

After withstanding a first attack from Watson, Scott was powerless to defend a second burst from Askey, with the 2021 bronze medallist looking unstoppable as he powered ahead into a 13-second lead.

With Watson reluctant to close the gap on his teammate, he and Scott were soon back in the sights of the chasing bunch as the race entered its final five laps.

Despite enjoying a commanding lead, Askey continued to put the hammer down and eased to victory, and in the bunch sprint for the remaining Matt Walls and Hobbs took second and third to seal a memorable night for Groupama-FDJ in Darlington.

Open podium

Speaking after his victory, Askey said:

“It’s incredible. I really wanted to do well and this weekend and it’s perfect going into the weekend and shows the form is there. I’ve been feeling good the last few weeks and I really wanted to show what I could do today. To bring it home, it’s been a while, so feels great. It’s always incredible to win a race and to have a stripey jumper at the end of it makes it so special.”

The championships concludes on Sunday with the road races in Saltburn, with thousands expected to cheer on the riders as they scale the iconic Saltburn Bank climb. For those not able to make it to Tees Valley, all of the action will once again be available through the British Cycling YouTube channel and discovery+. Find out more here.

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