Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) retained his British national road title in a closely fought battle with Mark Cavendish. The Team Sky rider only managed to distance the sprinter on the final climb of the race, while Ian Stannard rounded out the podium.
Cavendish, who started the race without any teammates, took the fight to Team Sky and made the winning move inside the closing stages of the race. Kennaugh, who had already been on the attack, made it across, leaving Stannard and Luke Rowe to fight for bronze.
"I think that’s got to be one of the hardest races of my career. It was just, from 3km when we split it in the crosswinds, that was it then for the whole day, constantly on the pedals. Without realising, once you get onto the circuit and start on the climbs you’re doing two-minute efforts full gas every lap and it catches up on you. When I raced here at the Lincoln in 2013 its exactly the same feeling on the last lap – the legs starting to cramp and filling with lactate," Kennaugh said after the race.
"I never really though I was goning to get it until maybe when it starts to go right, and I saw he wasn’t on my wheel, up until then he was incredibly strong all day"
"I couldn’t believe it came around already, with the possibility of giving it up, so I’m over the moon just to stay in white with my white bike and all my white accessories. It means a lot to me."
Cavendish and Kennaugh worked together as they approached the final ascent of Michaelgate with Kennaugh the first to attack. Cavendish briefly matched him but was unable to close the gap completely before Kennaugh’s better climbing legs began to extend the gap to a few seconds.
The conditions were dry as the men started out on the 196.7km course and the racing was on from the start, the field being split and an early selection being made. That contained most of the WorldTour riders but soon both Simon and Adam Yates had been distanced.
As the leaders came into the finishing circuit for the first of eight times it was Mark Cavendish who set the pace up Michaelgate and the leading group began to whittle down.
Adam Yates was then dropped from the chasing group that included his brother and former champion Kristian House. Out in front a Sky trio of Ian Stannard, Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe were in the company of Cavendish, Adam Blythe and Scott Thwaites.
Stannard attacked the next time on Michaelgate and he and Kennaugh led the race over the following ascent with a lead of 20 seconds. Their move stuck for much of the remainder of the race and they led through the finishing line on five occasions.
Behind them, Simon Yates and Team Wiggins youngster Owain Doull were two minutes behind the chasing quartet of the riders dropped by Kennaugh and Stannard.
Blythe and Thwaites were then distanced and Rowe and Cavendish tried to keep themselves in contention. Rowe, who had had an easy time of it at the back of the original chasing quartet – given his teammates were out in front – looked particularly strong and he forced the issue with two laps to go, causing the gap to fall quickly and the catch to be made before they hit Michaelgate for the penultimate time.
The leading quartet came over the climb and across the line together, with a comfortable cushion of over two minutes to the riders behind. Stannard was first to put in a dig on the final lap, but Cavendish bridged across before attacking himself, with only Kennaugh managing to hold his wheel. The Manx duo soon had a commanding lead over the floundering Rowe and Stannard and it would come down to which of them was strongest on Michaelgate.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky)||4:27:33|
|2||Mark Cavendish (Etixx - QuickStep)||0:00:05|
|3||Ian Stannard (Team Sky)||0:00:39|
|4||Luke Rowe (Team Sky)|
|5||Scott Thwaites (Bora Argon 18)||0:03:00|
|6||Adam Blythe (ORICA GreenEdge)||0:03:30|
|7||Owain Doull (Team Wiggins)||0:06:29|
|8||Yanto Barker (One Pro Cycling)||0:08:04|
|9||Steve Lampier (Raleigh GAC)||0:08:05|
|10||Jonathan Mould (One Pro Cycling)||0:08:07|
|11||Russell Downing (CULT Energy Pro Cycling)||0:08:11|
|12||Kristian House (JLT Condor)||0:08:19|
|13||Andy Fenn (Team Sky)||0:08:20|
|14||Richard Handley (JLT Condor)||0:08:24|
|15||Sam Lowe (Raleigh GAC)||0:08:26|
|16||Thomas Stewart (Madison Genesis)||0:08:29|
|17||Mark McNally (Madison Genesis)||0:08:43|
|18||Matt Gibson (100% ME)||0:08:45|
|19||Scott Davies (100% ME)||0:10:37|
|20||Simon Yates (ORICA GreenEdge)|
|21||Matthew Holmes (Madison Genesis)||0:12:31|
|22||James Shaw (Lotto Soudal)||0:12:53|
|23||Gabriel Cullaigh (100% ME)|
|24||Dale Appleby (NFTO)||0:12:58|
|25||Michael Cuming (JLT Condor)||0:12:59|
|26||Chris Opie (One Pro Cycling)||0:13:06|
|27||George Atkins (One Pro Cycling)|
|28||Daniel Pearson (Zalf Euromobil Desiree Fior)||0:13:13|
|29||Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon Cycling Team)||0:13:15|
|30||Ryan Perry (SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team)||0:13:20|