Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) won her third national women’s road race title in Lincoln with a dominant and untouchable performance.
Armitstead attacked on the penultimate ascent of Michaelgate and despite a valiant chase from defending champion Laura Trott (Matrix Fitness), Armitstead opened up an unbridgeable gap over the top of the climb.
The advantage grew to around a minute with Alice Barnes (Betch NL Superior Brentjens) - who took the under-23 title - and Trott rounding out the podium with silver and bronze decided on the last climb of the race.
For Armitstead the race represented a huge turnaround in fortune after her crash in the Women’s Tour just 11 days ago.
"It means a lot. A new kit for a start. It means I get to be proud of being british in every single race I do," Armitstead told reporters shortly after crossing the line.
“I didn’t feel too good at the start, I was doubting myself but the longer the race went on the better I felt. [Those at] the Women’s Tour, they’ve had five racing days in their legs so it’s always difficult to come in unraced."
Armitstead had been part of an elite nine-rider selection that led the race on the opening laps of the finishing circuit but their advantage disappeared as they failed to work together. With the course so well suited to her, Armitstead was a marked woman but was happy to let things come together, safe in the knowledge she'd have the edge once it came back to Michaelgate.
"I understand it’s a fair tactic but that’s why I went on the second to last lap," she said. "I just thought 'I don’t want to take any fresh legs to the finish so I’ll go for it'. I knew I’d be able to put 30 seconds into them out of the climb."
As for the hat trick of national titles, Armitstead has no intention of stopping there. "I’m going to go for a few more than that in my career. Three is just a number," she stated.
How it unfolded
The women would tackle a 107km route that featured 4.5 laps of the Lincoln city-centre finishing lap.
They rolled out with rain gently falling and Sarah Storey was on the front from the off, teeing up an early short-lived attack from Katie Archibald who dragged Sharon Laws with her. After over an hour of racing, Claire Thomas (Unattached) and Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda) formed the main break of the day and soon had a gap of 35 seconds.
Annabel Fisher (Bonito SquadraCorse) and Joanna Rowsell (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) attacked the bunch to give chase and by the time the riders hit the first of the finishing laps, the leading duo had 1:30 on the peloton while half a minute behind Roswell dropped Fisher.
The leading duo became a trio on the second ascent of Michaelgate as Roswell caught up, while Armitstead led the bunch behind, Laura Trott clinging onto her wheel up the climbs.
A selection was then made behind with a strong group of six made up of Armitstead, Nikki Harris, Trott, Hannah Barnes, Molly Weaver, and Alice Barnes. They soon caught the leaders and Katie Archibald put in a huge effort to bridge across on her own, giving Pearl Izumi a numerical advantage.
The nine-rider group, though, failed to cooperate effectively and their gap of 1:30 begain to tumble, to the extent that the main bunch caught them on the penultimate lap.
Armitstead then put in her stinging attack at the bottom of the penultimate climb of Michaelgate. She pounded the big ring and only Trott was able to hold her wheel but was soon distanced herself and the Boels-Dolmans rider set off solo on the final lap.
A group of nine formed behind but it became apparent they’d be fighting for silver as Armitstead extended her advantage to a minute.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||2:51:14|
|2||Alice Barnes (GBr)||0:01:52|
|3||Laura Trott (GBr) Matrix Fitness|
|4||Molly Weaver (GBr) Team Liv-Plantur|
|5||Nikki Harris (GBr)||0:02:01|
|6||Kate Archibald (GBr)||0:02:03|
|7||Hannah Barnes (GBr) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team||0:02:05|
|8||Lucy Coldwell (GBr)||0:02:09|
|9||Sharon Laws (GBr) Bigla Pro Cycling Team||0:02:12|
|10||Hayley Simmonds (GBr)||0:02:15|
|11||Jessie Walker (GBr) Servetto Footon||0:02:28|
|12||Rebecca Nixon (GBr)|
|13||Lucy Garner (GBr) Team Liv-Plantur||0:02:30|
|14||Emma Grant (GBr)||0:02:36|
|15||Gabriella Shaw (GBr)|
|16||Suzetta Guerrini (GBr)||0:02:38|
|17||Laura Massey (GBr)||0:02:39|
|18||Charlene Joiner (GBr)||0:02:40|
|19||Emily Kay (GBr)|
|20||Jennifer George (GBr)||0:02:41|
|21||Joanna Rowsell (GBr)||0:02:45|
|22||Julie Erskine (GBr)|
|23||Natalie Grinczer (GBr)|
|24||Nicola Juniper (GBr)||0:02:48|
|25||Elizabeth Stedman (GBr)||0:02:50|
|26||Bethany Hayward (GBr)||0:02:52|
|27||Genevieve Whitson (GBr)|
|28||Claire Thomas (GBr)||0:02:53|
|29||Jennifer Hudson (GBr)||0:02:55|
|30||Sarah Storey (GBr)||0:02:57|
|31||Becki Rimmington (GBr)||0:03:03|
|32||Maryka Sennema (GBr)||0:04:21|
|33||Annasley Park (GBr)||0:04:32|
|34||Sophie Coleman (GBr)||0:04:37|
|35||Louise Mahe (GBr)||0:05:10|
|36||Brit Tate (GBr)||0:05:18|
|37||Gaby Leveridge (GBr)||0:06:12|
|38||Louise Laker (GBr)||0:06:15|
|39||Hannah Payton (GBr)||0:06:18|
|40||Sophie Faulkner (GBr)||0:06:24|
|41||Josie Gilbert (GBr)|
|42||Nicole Oh (GBr)||0:06:33|
|43||Amy Roberts (GBr) Wiggle Honda||0:07:06|
|44||Laura Greenhalgh (GBr)||0:08:26|
|45||Anna Christian (GBr) Wiggle Honda||0:08:30|
|46||Hayley Jones (GBr)|
|47||Jo Tindley (GBr)||0:08:31|
|48||Lucy Martin (GBr) Matrix Fitness|
|49||Amy Gornall (GBr)||0:08:38|