Matt Bostock and Josie Nelson took sensational sprint wins in the circuit races on the second day of the British National Road Championships.
Josie Nelson (Team Coop-Hitec Products) won by the closest of margins in the women’s circuit race to claim her first British champion’s jersey, while crit specialist Matt Bostock (WiV Sungod) followed his 2022 Tour Series victory by claiming the men’s crown.
The evening races in Kirkcudbright saw the riders whip around a technical 1km circuit in the town centre for one hour plus five laps, with plenty of excitement for the local crowd.
In the women’s race, Nelson took it on the line in a sprint finish, just edging ahead of junior rider Emma Jeffers (JRC-INTERFLON Race Team) to win by a hair, while third place went to Flora Perkins (Le Col Wahoo).
A fast start saw riders instantly being strung out, with the front group putting on the pace for the entire race. A crash 20 minutes in wiped out four riders and led to a calm few laps with riders coming back together. Jeffers dominated early on, sitting in second position for much of the race.
Just before the halfway point, Frankie Hall (Loughborough Lightning) crashed to end her chances of getting on the podium. Jo Tindley (Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes presented by Heidi Kjeldsen), Jeffers, and Sammie Stuart (CAMS-Basso) continued to put out attacks in attempts to get away, but none were able to stick as the bunch clung on.
Tindley and Stuart were desperate to play to their strengths and avoid a sprint finish, but the peloton were able to keep the pace high.
Stuart led into the final kilometre, followed by Tindley who was at the front on the final bend onto the straight, but the power of the sprinters came through to make it a close finish.
Nelson and Jeffers were head and shoulders above the rest, and both launched themselves over the line, with Nelson proving victorious over the 17-year-old. Perkins took third, thanks to the help of her Le Col Wahoo teammates as Eluned King finished fourth.
Nelson said: “It’s really nice – it’s my first national champs jersey so it feels really special. At the end, I just did the lunge of my life!
"I’m really excited for the road race on Sunday and it’s good that it’s quite undulating. Hopefully I’ll be back on the podium on Sunday – that’s the aim.”
In the men’s race, a crash in the first lap saw riders become tentative, which gave a great opportunity for Bostock, Josh Tarling (Wales Racing Academy), Sam Watson (GROUPAMA – FDJ), and Bob Donaldson (Team Inspired) to get away from the bunch.
The four were able to keep up the speed but a flat tire ended Donaldson’s chances of getting on the podium. The trio worked nicely together and kept the pace high, getting a gap of 1:04 from the bunch.
The peloton continued to chase, with frequent attacks from youngster Callum Thornley (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli), but GROUPAMA – FDJ controlled the bunch well to ensure Watson could be in the top three. Coming into the final five laps, junior rider Tarling put in four solid efforts in attempts to make a solo breakaway, but none came to fruition.
The final bend onto the straight saw Tarling have nothing left, unable to sprint, while Bostock and Watson went hell for leather for the line, with Bostock proving the strongest. Watson managed the silver, while Tarling took the bronze.
The bunch sprint saw Leon Mazzone (Saint Piran) take fourth over Lewis Askey (GROUPAMA – FDJ).
Bostock said: “I’m honestly so happy, and also relieved. I knew I could do it – it was just putting pressure on myself to make it happen and obviously there’s a lot of variables in a crit and a lot of tactics so I’m just really happy.”
The championships continue on Sunday with the road races in Castle Douglas, starting with the women’s race at 9:00 on GCN+, discovery+ and the British Cycling YouTube channel. Find out more in our event preview here.