Kristian House (Rapha Condor) took his first British title in the elite men's road race in Abergavenny on Sunday when he out sprinted Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo Test Team), Peter Kennaugh (100% ME) and Chris Froome (Barloworld) to take the gold medal.
The Rapha Condor team largely races in the UK, and House beat a quality field that included ten ProTour riders to pull on the red, white and blue jersey as British champion.
Lloyd was very disappointed to finish second as he had done before in 2007 when he finished behind David Millar. Kennaugh won the bronze medal and also struck gold as the first under-23 rider across the line. Today there was none of the controversy that surrounded the women's event on Saturday with the youngster from the Isle of Mann receiving both medals.
A Brave Froome had given everything to win the 120km event but tailed off from the leading group as the sprint started and he missed out on the medals in his first championship ride since he switched from his Kenyan licence to a British one last year.
How it unfolded
The weather conditions were hot and humid. The temperature was 28 degrees Celsius at the top of the Tumble climb which waited for the riders at 80km. There were a number of early race dropouts due to a several crashes which were perhaps inevitable in peloton of nearly 190. The whole broke into pieces on the 5km climb of the Tumble when Bradley Wiggins (Garmin - Slipstream) put in a fierce attack with Froome hanging onto the Olympic pursuit champion's wheel. Kennaugh was the next rider over the top followed by mountain biker Ollie Beckingsale (Giant) who had David Millar (Garmin Slipstream) policing the move. Next was Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sports Beans - Wilier) who had a few metres lead over a small group tucked in behind Mark Cavendish (Columbia High Road).
The leading duo worked hard to stay clear on the descent into Abergavenny where they had a one-minute lead on a group containing Cavendish, Kennaugh, Lloyd, House, Ian Stannard (ISD - Neri), Evan Oliphant (Endura), Roger Hammond (Cervelo Test Team) and 100% ME duo Alex Dowsett and Andy Fenn. One lap later, the lead was cut to less than 40 seconds and falling rapidly. Froome took his chance just as his move was brought back and he took off on a solo break as Wiggins was absorbed into the chase group.
Dowsett and Fenn were actively working on the front of the chase group now but Froome was holding out and encouraged by thousands of fans lining the finishing circuit.
Stannard, Kennaugh, Lloyd and House somehow managed to break away from the chase group and Cavendish's medals hopes evaporated as the trio worked hard and caught Froome. Stannard was unlucky enough to suffer from severe cramp and was forced to pull out of the lead group and he eventually finished 13th.
Froome tried one more time to break free but his breakaway companions pulled him back. Kennaugh went for the long one but House was too strong for the 20-year-old. Lloyd just got past Kennaugh to take second spot.
House was delighted with his victory - especially as it was against a high class field. "You have just got to race your own race," said House. "It doesn't matter who else is there. If they want to ride up the road and smash the race to bits that's fine but you have to ride to your own plans. I was trying to ride for Chris (Newton) and Tom (Southam) today so it wasn't right for me to ride away with Brad (Wiggins) and Chris (Froome) especially as it was still a long way to the finish. I knew we still have ten laps of the finishing circuit to go so I just bided my time."
"I chipped away with Lloyd on the descent back to the town and we got up to the chase group. John Herety (team manager) told me that the race wasn't going to come back together and I was to ride my own race and not to worry about anything else."
The story of the 29-year-old from Canterbury in Kent with the Texan accent is remarkable. He began racing when he lived in Austin, Texas, as a youngster before moving back to Europe where he phoned British Cycling to say he wanted to ride in the world junior road racing championships for Britain. The story unfolded from there and he eventually rode the Under 23 worlds in the British team and went on to ride for Recycling and Rapha Condor. His best season was in 2006 when he won the Lincoln GP, the Girvan 3-day, Tour of the Pendle, FBD Insurance Rás and the Tour of Tasmania.
"I had an opportunity to ride for the US, but I wanted to ride for Britain because I am proud of being British. I went over to Belgium and won a couple of races and then a couple in the UK and managed to get onto the British under-23 program where I rode the European and World Championships. I have been with John Herety ever since. There were a couple of times when I thought my career was over and he got me back into it by giving me an opportunity to ride for his team and this jersey is for him."
|1||Kristian House (Rapha Condor)|
|2||Daniel Lloyd (Cervélo TestTeam)|
|3||Peter Kennaugh (100% ME)|
|4||Chris Froome (Barloworld)|
|5||Roger Hammond (Cervélo TestTeam)|
|6||Mark Cavendish (Columbia)|
|7||Evan Oliphant (Endura)|
|8||Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut)|
|9||Russell Downing (CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta)|
|10||Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo TestTeam)|
|11||Hamish Haynes, Team Yawadoo|
|12||Andrew Fenn (100% ME)|
|13||Ian Stannard (ISD)|
|14||Andy Tennant (Halfords Bikehut)|
|15||Mark McNally (Halfords)|
|16||Mark Christian (100% ME)|
|17||David Clarke (Pendragon)|
|18||Rob Partridge (Halfords Bikehut)|
|19||Alex Coutts (Heraklion)|
|20||Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor)|