Ian Stannard and Sharon Laws were crowned National Road Race Champions after a great day of action around Ampleforth in North Yorkshire on Sunday.
Above: Stannard solos to victory in Ampleforth after attacking from a group of three.
Sky Pro Cycling rider Stannard, 25 and from Buckinghamshire, took the win around a minute ahead of his nearest rival at the end of the 114-mile race, having left his breakaway rivals with around 20 miles to go.
The decisive move came early in the race when a group of five riders broke away including Stannard, his Sky team-mate Alex Dowsett, Raleigh-GAC duo Russell Hampton and Graham Briggs as well as Endura MTB Racing’s Oli Beckingsale.
The gap grew to more than six minutes at one point, and as the pace was kept high it proved too much for Beckingsale and Briggs who dropped back to the bunch.
Above: Stannard piling on the pressure with teammate Alex Dowsett and Raleigh GAC's Russell Hampton.
The ferocity of Stannard’s attack caused Dowsett to drop back, and although he caught back up with Hampton it was already too late to latch on to Stannard’s wheel.
Above: Stannard gets free of his fellow escapees in the race winning attack.
By the line Stannard was just over a minute ahead, while 23-year-old Dowsett took second to secure a one-two for Sky, and Hampton came in just behind in third.
Above: Ian Stannard resplendent in the national champion's jersey.
In the women’s race 37-year-old Laws from Cheltenham led a 1-2-3 for the AA Drink-Leontien.nl team, with Lizzie Armitstead taking second, just ahead of Emma Pooley at the end of the 107-kilometre event based around Ampleforth.
Above: Laws crosses the line in delight.
Laws escaped from the bunch with Armitstead and Pooley as well as Nikki Harris (Young Telenet) early in the race, and they quickly established a big lead over the chasing bunch who were struggling to maintain the same pace.
Above: The breakaway group of (left to right) Armitstead, Harris, Laws and Pooley.
With four minutes’ lead, the group were being chased by Sarah Storey (Escentual For Viored), and although she never made contact with the leaders managed to maintain a gap of around a minute.
But with a lap and a half (around 15 miles) to go Laws attacked and ploughed up the road powerfully on a climb, quickly establishing a lead of around a minute. Armitstead and Pooley responded, but the injection of pace proved a little too much for Harris who was left behind.
Above: Behind Laws, Pooley and Armistead distance Harris to ensure a 1-2-3 for the AA Drink Leontien.nl
By the line Laws had a lead of more than a minute, while Armitstead took second from Pooley. Around three minutes further back Harris took fourth ahead of Storey, while the remains of the bunch were led in by former champion Nicole Cooke (Team Faren Honda), around five minutes back.
Above: Newly crowned champion Laws celebrates a great team effort.
Ian Stannard: “It’s nice to win this today, the idea was to keep the championship jersey in our team and I’m looking forward to wearing it in the Pro peloton”.
“The Nationals can be a funny race, you have to be out in front and expect to grind it out all day in a small break. Me and Alex got in that early break and that’s what we did, it worked out exactly as I thought it would”.
Alex Dowsett: “I’m over the moon for Stannard, he’s one of the hardest workers, not just in our team but the pro peloton. We had him and Ben Swift marked out as potential winners today and the team were committed to work hard and keep the jersey”.
“For me personally I’m pleased to be on my way back from injury, it’s been a very rough few months. I’m getting there but the climbs were hard today probably because I was trying to follow Stannard up them”.
Asked about Team Sky and Team GB’s chances in the Tour de France and Olympics Alex told BC, “Well I’m not selected for either, but I think we’ve got the strongest contender ever for the Tour in Brad Wiggins, and also he could do a good ride in the Olympic Time Trial”.
And what about your mate Mark Cavendish in the Tour, do you think SKY are capable of the two pronged approach in supporting Wiggins for general classification and Cavendish for the sprints?
“We saw it in the World Championships last year and how well the GB team rode for Cav. If Sky didn’t think they were capable of the two pronged approach then they wouldn’t have taken him on. I train with Mark quite a bit and I can tell you I’ve never seem him going as well as he is at the moment. We are in for a very exciting few months”.
Russell Hampton: “I was against two of the best guys in the country today, I tried my best but it was very hard. Stannard, Dowsett and me are all Essex boys, I’ve know them both a long time so knew I was in good company when that early break formed. Stannard deserves this win, he rides for others all the time and today is his chance in the spotlight, I’m delighted for him”.
“I’ve been training specifically for today with lots of hard road miles, I missed the Tour Series crits on purpose to help my preparation for today. We are only half way through the season and I’m looking for good performances in the big road events and the Tour of Britain”.
Sharon Laws: “I’m really happy that I’ll get the chance to wear the national champions jersey for the next year,” said Sharon Laws afterwards. “I was disappointed not to be selected for the British Olympic road race team, but today’s win helps with that disappointment.”
Lizzie Armitstead: “This was a team effort, and it’s great to get the 1-2-3. Our plan was to have one of our team win the event, and we’ve achieved that so I’m really happy. I’m delighted for Sharon to get the win. She attacked really strongly and that proved enough to win the title.”
You can watch highlights of the National Road Race Championships on ITV4 on Saturday 30 June 2012 from 10.20am-11.25am.
1. Ian Stannard Sky Pro Cycling 4:48:43
2. Alex Dowsett Sky Pro Cycling @ 1:14
3. Russell Hampton Team Raleigh - GAC @ 1:24
4. Ben Swift Sky Pro Cycling @ 7:45
5. Jeremy Hunt Sky Pro Cycling @ 7:59
6. David Clarke Node4 - Giordana Racing @ st
7. Luke Rowe Sky Pro Cycling @ st
8. Jonathan McEvoy Endura Racing @ 8:02
9. Simon Richardson Team IG - Sigma Sport @ 8:05
10. Michael Cuming Rapha Condor Sharp @ 8:07
11. Matthew Holmes Team Raleigh - GAC @ 8:09
12. Robert Partridge Endura Racing @ 8.10
13. Peter Williams Node4 - Giordana Racing @ st
14. Yanto Barker Team UK Youth @ st
15. Joshua Edmondson Team Colpack @ 8.15
16. Mark McNally An Post - M.Donnelly @ 8.16
17. Liam Holohan Team Raleigh - GAC @ 8:22
18. Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh - GAC @ st
19. Richard Handley Rapha Condor Sharp @ 8:31
20. Ben Greenwood Vanillabikes.com @ 9:00
21. Samuel Harrison 100% Me @ 9:57
22. Thomas Last Team IG - Sigma Sport @ 11:35
23. Adam Yates UVCA Troyes @ 11:39
24. Russell Downing Endura Racing @ st
25. Jack Kirk UVCA Troyes @ st
26. Luke Grivell-Mellor Rapha Condor Sharp @ st
27. Natan Edmondson SC Cene Valle Seriana @ 11:46
28. Chris Bartlett Marco Polo - Donckers Koffie @ 11:50
29. Kit Gilham Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes @ 12:03
30. Richard Cartland Team Corley Cycles @ 14:53
31. Grant Ferguson Boardman Elite @ 16:35
32. Gruff Lewis Team UK Youth @ 18:38
1. Michael Cuming Rapha Condor - Sharp
2. Matthew Holmes Team Raliegh - GAC
3. Joshua Edmondson Team Colpack
1. Sharon Laws AA Drink - Leontien.nl 3:11:50
2. Elizabeth Armitstead AA Drink - Leontien.nl @ 1:36
3. Emma Pooley AA Drink - Leontien.nl @ 1:41
4. Nikki Harris Young Telenet Fidea @ 2:43
5. Sarah Storey Escentual For VioRed @ 3:52
6. Nicole Cooke MBE Team Raen - Honda @ 9:02
7. Catherine Williamson Team Bizhub - SCF @ 9:04
8. Katie Colclough HTC - High Road @ st
9. Emma Trott Dolman Boels @ 9.44
10. Natalie Creswick Mulebar Girl @ 9:51
11. Sarah Byrne Cycle Premier -Kovert @ 10:08
12. Claire Galloway Escentual For VioRed @ 16:34
13. Penny Rowson Matrix Fitness - Prendas @ st
14. Annabel Simpson Matrix Fitness - Prendas @ 16:36
15. Gemma Neill Team Leslie Bike Shop @ 16:40
16. Rebecca Heath VC St Raphael @ 16:48
17. Corrine Hall Node4 - Giordana @ 18:03
18. Eileen Roe Team Ibis Cycles @ st
19. Laura Massey Abergavenny RC @ st
20. Hannah Barnes Team Ibis Cycles @ 18:09
21. Lowri Bunn Abergavenny RC @ 18:13
22. Delia Beddis Dirtwheels Cycles @ 18:14
23. Nicola Juniper Corvida Allpress @ 18:22
24. Kayleigh Brogan Team Ibis Cycles @ 18:28
25. Karla Boddy High Wycome Cycling Club @ 19:10
1. Katie Colclough HTC - High Road
2. Penny Rowson Matrix Fitness - Prendas
3. Annabel Simpson Matrix Fitness - Prendas
1. Michael Cuming Rapha Condor - Sharp
2. Matthew Holmes Team Raliegh - GAC
3. Joshua Edmondson Team Cplpack
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.