Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) won a record-equalling sixth elite time trial title, while Alice Barnes (Canyon SRAM Racing) claimed her first at the HSBC UK | National Road Championships in Norfolk today.
Dowsett’s win in the elite men’s event – his first since 2016 – draws him level in the record books with Stuart Dangerfield, who won the last of his titles in 2005.
His triumph was far from a foregone conclusion, however, as Ribble Pro Cycling’s John Archibald pushed him all the way – the Scot’s time of 49:32.58 over the 25.4-mile Sandringham course looked good enough to take gold until Dowsett, the final rider, stopped the clock at 49:25.74 to take victory. 2017 champion Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data) finished third in a time of 49:53.47.
“For a few years this came quite easily, and I guess I took having the national stripes for granted, so I think I’ll enjoy wearing them more than any of the other times I’ve had them.
“Today was a fight – I think I was down after a third of the distance, then it was touch and go at two thirds. The calibre of riders coming through is huge, and I don’t know when my last national stripes will be, so I’m going to enjoy every moment.”
The top ten was completed by Owain Doull (Team Ineos), Dan Bigham (Ribble Pro Cycling), Scott Davies (Team Dimension Data), Ian Stannard (Team Ineos), Christopher Fennell (The Independent Pedaller), Rupert Graham (Spirit Tifosi) and Mark Christian (Team Wiggins Le Col).
Earlier in the day, Barnes ensured that the elite women’s title stayed in the family, recording a winning time of 36:12.250 to upgrade the silver she won behind sister Hannah last year.
Next fastest over the 16.5-mile course was 2015 and 2016 champion Hayley Simmonds (BTC City Ljubljana), who stopped the clock at 36:27.159, while Hannah Barnes (Canyon SRAM Racing) took bronze in 36:44.319.
Afterwards, Alice Barnes – for whom this is a first senior national title - said:
“I got back from the European Games last night – I was pretty gutted to come away from there with two fourth places. I misjudged my time trial there and I wanted to make up for that here.
“I’ve not won an elite title before so I’m really happy with that – I can’t wait to get my national champion’s skinsuit!”
Lizzie Banks (Bigla), Emma Lewis and Emily Meakin (both Independent Pedaler), Joscelin Lowden (Drops), Victoria Smith (AeroCoach), Dame Sarah Storey (Storey Racing) and Anna Morris (AeroLab Ward Wheelz) completed the top ten.
The first title of the day went to Charlie Quarterman (Zappi Racing Team) who took the men’s under-23 crown – improving on the silver medal he won last year.
Quarterman – the final rider out on the course – set a time of 32:01.56 to take victory, ensuring Ethan Hayter (VC Londres – 32:45.06) had to settle for silver and Ethan Vernon (Team Inspired – 33:56.05) bronze.
“You never really know how well you’re going in a time trial, but all I knew was that I had to go full gas the whole way. I think I did the ride of my life – I couldn’t be happier with that.”
The women’s under-23 category was the final one of the day to be decided, and it was won by Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm’s Anna Henderson.
The reigning national circuit champion recorded a time of 37:57.87 to narrowly beat Drops’ Elizabeth Holden (38:05.93) who claimed silver, and Pfeiffer Georgi (Team Sunweb) who took bronze with a time of 38:23.50.
“It’s great to have a standalone women’s under-23 race for the first time – there’s so much talent out there and to put on a good show and have such good competition was really good. I’m pretty new to time trialling, so it’s great to get a jersey.”
The championships continue on Sunday, when the men’s and women’s road races take place, starting and finishing in Norwich city centre.