Reigning world junior road race champion Lucy Garner added the British Junior Women’s Road Race Championship to her palmares when she pipped rival Elinor Barker to the line after a gruelling 48-mile title race in South Wales.
With numbers bolstered by the decision to allow senior women to compete alongside their junior counterparts in the National Championship race, a field of 36 set off from Brynmawr on a fast, largely flat course – but one with a sting in the tail.
After running out along the Heads of the Valleys road the course turned on to minor roads through Penpergwm before joining the A40 for two loops of an 8 mile section of dual carriageway before returning through Penpergwm and back to Brynmawr.
The field had stayed together for most of the race with occasional attempts to slip away from the front of the race coming to nothing. With 5km to go, though the road turns dramatically upwards on to a gruelling 4km climb towards Brynmar that would see the gap from the front to the back of the field grow to 8 minutes.
Barker (Scott Contessa Epic) made a bid for glory but it was Senior rider Kimberley Ashton (Abergavenny RC) who made the decisive move – attacking in the early part of the climb and never looking in danger. She took the win in the open senior event, 10 seconds ahead of Tracy Best (Squadra Donne-Shutt VR) as they entered the market square in Brynmawr.
Barker, meanwhile, was joined by Garner (Node 4-Giordana) and Barker’s team-mate Amy Roberts and it was Garner who proved the strongest, holding off Barker and Roberts on the run in to the line, opening up a 1 second gap on the Welsh duo. Barker had the consolation of winning the Welsh Championship title.
Speaking to British Cycling afterwards, Garner confirmed things had gone according to plan, adding “It was pretty hard out there, really – the last finishing climb was a bit of a drag. I just tried to follow the wheels and save as much energy as possible. [At the bottom of the climb] there were quite a lot of attacks going on and Elinor Barker tried quite hard to get away and I had to make sure that I followed the wheels – it was hard though!”
And reflecting on removing a rainbow jersey to pull on a red, white and blue one “It’s really nice. They all mean so much. It’s really nice to have got it.”
1 Lucy Garner (Node 4-Giordana) 2:09:57
2 Elinor Barker (Scott Contessa Epic) @ 1sec
3 Amy Roberts (Scott Contessa Epic) @ same time
4 Molly Weaver (Scott Contessa Epic) @ 9sec
5 Sky Draper BC Private Member @10sec
6 Ellie Gilham VC St Raphael @ 11sec
Welsh Junior Championship:
1 Elinor Barker (Scott Contessa Epic) 2:09:58
2 Amy Roberts (Scott Contessa Epic) @ same time
3 Rebecca Hunt (Scott Contessa Epic) @ 13sec
4 Amy Hill (Abergavenny RC) @1:00
Women’s Road Race:
1 Kimberley Ashton (Abergavenny RC) 2:09:35
2 Tracy Best (Donna Shutt) @ 10sec
3 Karla Boddy High Wycombe CC RT @28sec
4 Claire Galloway (For Viored) @30sec
5 Tamina Oliver (Abergavenny RC) @38sec
6 Lowri Bunn (Abergavenny RC) @1:00
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.