Archibald takes his first Scottish National Road Race victory while George doubles up.
A talented field of over 20 women lined up in the humid and damp conditions to contest the title of the Scottish National Women’s Road Race Champion. With 5 circuits of a punchy course around the Angus and Perthshire Glens, starting and finishing near Loch of Lintrathen, followed by a steep kicker leading eventually to the finish on the Blackwater reservoir dam wall this championship was not going to be any easy medal to win. Right from the outset attacks were thick and fast as riders vied for position. Jennifer Hudson - Brother.UK Fusion RT, drove hard up the long climb on the circuit on the opening lap, splintering the field behind her. By the start of lap 2 a group of 11 riders had formed in the front of the race, with another 6 in hot pursuit, the rest of the field blown apart as the race continued at a pace.
The front group now contained all the pre-race favourites, these included defending champion Jennifer George - Torelli_Assure_Madison, along with Jennifer Hudson, Anna Ewing - Veloclub Edinburg, Anna Shackley -Team 22, Beth Harley-Jepson -Edinburgh RC, Beth Morrow - Edinburgh RC, Becky Storie -Synergy Cycles, Eimear Nicholls - Kingdom Gas, Anna Anderson - Glasgow Nightingale CC, Sharon Bird - Edinburgh RC and Louise Woolrich - Velo Sport Jersey.
Harriet Wilson tried hard to close the gap from the chasing group and made some in roads in the closing stages picking up riders shelled from the front group, but found herself unable to get on.
On the final climb up to the Blackwater reservoir, George made her move attacking on the steep incline, only Shackley and Harley-Jepson could respond. As the trio rounded the corner onto the dam, the race was still wide open. The thrilling finale of this race would be decided by an exciting sprint for the finish. George made her move with just a few hundred meters to go, Harley-Jepson tried her hardest to get on terms with the rider but George crossed the line delighted to have retained her title for another year, the journey from her London home, well rewarded, whilst Harley-Jepson had just enough in the tank to take silver ahead of Shackley.
The men’s race was a much bigger affair with over 60 riders keen to make their claim on the National title.
John Archibald - Ribble Pro Cycling, was the man to watch, his recent form has seen him take 3rd in the British National Road Race Championships and solo to victory in the Elite men’s road race series in the last few weeks.
As the race started the first of their 5 laps of the reservoir, Archibald kept the pressure high, soon splitting the field wide apart, testing those who were strong enough to come with him. By the end of the first lap, 5 riders formed the breakaway group that undoubtedly the day’s winner would emerge from.With 3 Wheelbase CabTech Castelli riders in the break, namely Fraser Martin, Finn Crockett and Joe Reilly, Archibald was a marked man. Moriarty Bikes rider Richard McDonald also made the cut. The 5 worked well, extending their lead gradually over the diminishing chasing group behind. After 50 miles the race headed out to complete two bigger circuits of the surrounding landscape, taking them to the highest point of the day. Martin was soon keen to lose the company of Archibald and attacked as they began the final 25 miles.
Archibald took his chance and counter attacked and found himself in the familiar position of time trailing in the front of the race, with his 4 companions struggling to keep on terms with him.
Archibald went on to take his first National road race title with a comfortable victory, crossing the line nearly 4 minutes ahead of Martin, who came home in second having left everything out on the road a good 3 minutes ahead of third spot. McDonald and Crockett poured some excitement into the closing stages of the race, sprinting it out in the final meters for that bronze. McDonald just squeezing out his rival Crockett to claim the final medal of the day.
Many thanks to the volunteers and organisational skills of Angus Wilson and the Dundee Thistle members for putting on a well marshalled event that ran smoothly with no incidents despite the challenging weather to start.