Ben Swift wins British road race title

Ben Swift (Team Ineos) claimed his first British road race national title on Sunday, ripping past teammate Ian Stannard in the final kilometre in Norwich. 

Stannard had attacked throughout the 200km course and the Ineos duo emerged in the final few kilometres as a trio with John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling). 

Stannard attacked and looked to be heading for a solo victory but Swift, after sitting behind Archibald, sensed his opportunity and attacked, closing the gap and riding straight past his teammate before punching the air to celebrate an emotional victory.

Despite a relatively flat course featuring a total elevation of 817 metres, the race saw action almost from start to finish, with attacks and break groups flying for much of the day. What turned out to be the decisive break came at 120 kilometres to go, when Swift got away as an earlier Stannard attack was brought back.

Stannard would make it back to the front, though, with multiple attack groups eventually merging 30 kilometres from the line. From there, yet more attacking saw the group whittled down to four, with Ineos making the most of their numerical advantage in the final 15 kilometres to seal a one-two finish.

"I've been waiting for a win for four years," said Swift after the finish. "I had pretty much two terrible years at UAE, then came back to Ineos and I've just loved it this year. I had that big crash and refocused, worked really hard.

"Today it was a strange race – it was always going to be hard. When I was out there, I always tried to be in the right place, always in those little moves. Stannard was a machine today, always giving me the easiest ride possible. I could just sit on for like 20km and when he went again, I could just sit on. I'm just so happy.

"Chapeau to Archibald – he did a really strong ride there. I could use him and then when that moment came it was every man for himself. I started cramping up a bit but when you've got the line in your sights... I've been trying for these nationals for years now so it's nice to be there."

How it unfolded

A warm and sunny day saw the 170-man peloton set off from Norwich, Norfolk, heading north towards the coast at the start of the the 201.5km course.

After a lumpy start, the route skirted the coast for around 40 kilometres before taking in three laps of a hilly circuit at the westernmost point of the course. An up-and-down 80km run-in back to Norwich would round the race off, with an uphill finish in the city to finish.

It was a fast and furious start to the race as numerous riders fought to get into the break of the day. Chris Lawless (Team Ineos), Daniel Bigham (Ribble Pro Cycling), Michael Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) were the first to experience success, battling into the headwind to get away. Their advantage was a small one, though, even after the first hour of racing, which saw 49.5km covered. Mottram wouldn't last long up front, crashing into a brick wall on the exit of a corner after a gear problem saw him lose control.

Soon afterwards, Bigham and Lawless were joined by an attacking trio of Ian Stannard (Team Ineos), Charlie Tanfield (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) and Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ Continental). That made it five in the lead with Mottram understandably out of the break after his crash. Lawless was the next man to run into problems, puncturing out of the break, while Stannard tried to keep it going with a solo attack. It would be in vain though, and with 130km to race, things were all back together.

Madison-Genesis launched the next wave of attacking, launching Joseph Laverick, Tom Moses off the front of the peloton. Another Ineos rider joined them – this time Ben Swift – while Laverick dropped back after a few kilometres on the attack. With 120km to ride, the lead duo enjoyed a modest 30-second advantage, while back in the flying peloton, multiple riders were still trying to get away. Soon after, a number of them succeeded, making it around a dozen men out front, 45 seconds up the road. Stannard made it up to teammate Swift, while Scott Thwaites (Vitus Pro Cycling) was another notable name, and Madison-Genesis added three more riders from their 13-man squad to the break.

After two hours of racing featuring attacks, hills and headwinds, the average speed was still a remarkably high 45.7kph. Stannard was soon off again, determined to leave his mark on the race as the break reached the final 90 kilometres. Nobody could follow, and once again it was a lonely ride for the 32-year-old, 30 seconds up the road as he headed back south with a tailwind behind him. The break he left behind was caught 75 kilometres out, though a five-man counter-attack featuring Swift and Thwaites launched soon after and made it six at the head of the race.

That was far from the end of the action, though, as even more groups went on the offensive, with Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) and Ethan Hayter (VC Londres) among the attackers. At 30 kilometres out, the front groups merged making it around a dozen riders in the lead. Continuing the theme of the day, the newly-expanded group didn't stick together for long, with attacks flying once again as Hayter punctured. Stannard was among those dropped, but the indefatigable strongman rose again to catch back on inside the final 20 kilometres.

There was another split 15 kilometres from the line as the WorldTour men – Stannard, Swift and Dowsett broke away along with Archibald. With half of the riders in the group, Ineos worked the one-two as Stannard attacked while Swift saved his legs.

Dowsett's effort in the chase paid, and the recently-crowned time trial champion was dropped with around eight kilometres to race. With the Katusha man gone, it was down to Ineos to get their tactics right, and they duly did just that.

Stannard went first and looked set to be soloing to victory. But Swift left Archibald behind in the final two kilometres. His stunning attack saw him quickly make it up to Stannard, passing his teammate to seal victory.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ben Swift (GBr) Team Ineos4:09:08
2Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Ineos0:00:08
3John Archibald (GBr) Ribble Pro Cycling0:00:15
4Alex Dowsett (GBr) Team Katusha Alpecin0:00:58
5Ethan Hayter (GBr)0:01:20
6Alexandar Richardson (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 5 - Cell 2
7Erick Rowsell (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 6 - Cell 2
8Mark Christian (GBr) Team Wiggins LecolRow 7 - Cell 2
9Matthew Bostock (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor Homes0:03:10
10Scott Thwaites (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 9 - Cell 2
11Jake Stewart (GBr) Groupama - FdjRow 10 - Cell 2
12Sam Culverwell (GBr)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Charlie Meredith (GBr)0:03:13
14Adam Lewis (GBr) Beat Cycling Club0:03:19
15Adam Blythe (GBr) Lotto Soudal0:03:26
16Matthew Walls (GBr)0:03:48
17Matthew Holmes (GBr) Madison Genesis0:03:50
18Robert Scott (GBr) Team Wiggins LecolRow 17 - Cell 2
19Jim Brown (GBr)Row 18 - Cell 2
20Harrison Jones (GBr)Row 19 - Cell 2
21James Jenkins (GBr)Row 20 - Cell 2
22Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Dimension DataRow 21 - Cell 2
23Marcus Burnett (GBr)Row 22 - Cell 2
24Jacob Vaughan (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 23 - Cell 2
25Charles Page (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 24 - Cell 2
26Daniel Tulett (GBr) Team Wiggins LecolRow 25 - Cell 2
27Peter Williams (GBr) Swiftcarbon Pro CyclingRow 26 - Cell 2
28Dylan Kerfoot-Robson (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 27 - Cell 2
29Jacques Sauvagnargues (GBr) Team Wiggins LecolRow 28 - Cell 2
30Mark Robertson (GBr)Row 29 - Cell 2
31Josh Housley (GBr)Row 30 - Cell 2
32Matthew King (GBr)Row 31 - Cell 2
33Charlie Tanfield (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 32 - Cell 2
34Rupert Graham (GBr)Row 33 - Cell 2
35Rhys Howells (GBr)Row 34 - Cell 2
36Ben Hardy (GBr) Swiftcarbon Pro CyclingRow 35 - Cell 2
37Jim Bradford (GBr)Row 36 - Cell 2
38Harrison Wood (GBr)0:03:56
39Harry Tanfield (GBr) Team Katusha AlpecinRow 38 - Cell 2
40Charlie Quarterman (GBr)Row 39 - Cell 2
41Joshua Teasdale (GBr)Row 40 - Cell 2
42William Scott (GBr)0:04:27
43Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Team Wiggins Lecol0:04:52
44Thomas Stewart (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 43 - Cell 2
45Alex Dalton (GBr) Ribble Pro CyclingRow 44 - Cell 2
46Zeb Kyffin (GBr) Ribble Pro CyclingRow 45 - Cell 2
47Owen James (GBr)Row 46 - Cell 2
48Ross Fawcett (GBr)Row 47 - Cell 2
49Christopher Latham (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 48 - Cell 2
50Bradley Symonds (GBr)Row 49 - Cell 2
51Joseph Clark (GBr)Row 50 - Cell 2
52Edmund Bradbury (GBr) Memil Pro CyclingRow 51 - Cell 2
53Matthew Exley (GBr)0:05:00
54Andrew Taylor (GBr)0:05:02
55Jacob Tipper (GBr) Ribble Pro CyclingRow 54 - Cell 2
56Alistair Slater (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother Uk0:05:05
57Jonathan Mould (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 56 - Cell 2
58William Bjergfelt (GBr) Swiftcarbon Pro Cycling0:05:08
59Louis Szymanski (GBr)Row 58 - Cell 2
60Damien Clayton (GBr)Row 59 - Cell 2
61Charles Walker (GBr)Row 60 - Cell 2
62Adam Kenway (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 61 - Cell 2
63Tom Elwood (GBr)Row 62 - Cell 2
64Kieran Savage (GBr)0:05:11
65Daniel Mcdermott (GBr)Row 64 - Cell 2
66Michael Krukov (GBr)0:05:15
67Owain Doull (GBr) Team Ineos0:05:16
68Gruffudd Lewis (GBr) Ribble Pro Cycling0:05:29
69Matthew Gibson (GBr) Burgos - BhRow 68 - Cell 2
70William Harper (GBr)0:05:48
71Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea - Samsic0:05:57
72Richard Jones (GBr) Ribble Pro Cycling0:06:01
73Oliver Maxwell (GBr)Row 72 - Cell 2
74Joe Holt (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 73 - Cell 2
75Maximilian Stedman (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 74 - Cell 2
76Zak Coleman (GBr)Row 75 - Cell 2
77Tim James (GBr)Row 76 - Cell 2
78Fred Wright (GBr)0:06:03
79Reece Wood (GBr)Row 78 - Cell 2
80Peter Cocker (GBr)Row 79 - Cell 2
81Simon Wilson (GBr) Ribble Pro CyclingRow 80 - Cell 2
82Matthew Clarke (GBr)Row 81 - Cell 2
83Harley Matthews (GBr)Row 82 - Cell 2
84Anthony Roberts (GBr)Row 83 - Cell 2
85Finn Crockett (GBr)Row 84 - Cell 2
86Tarn Fynn (GBr)Row 85 - Cell 2
87George Clark (GBr)0:06:10
88Fraser Martin (GBr)0:06:21
89Matthew Ellis (GBr)Row 88 - Cell 2
90Gary Freeman (GBr)Row 89 - Cell 2
91Neil Phillips (GBr)0:06:53
92Matthew Clements (GBr)0:06:55
93Timothy Torrie (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 92 - Cell 2
94Rhys Clegg (GBr)Row 93 - Cell 2
95Joseph Laverick (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 94 - Cell 2
96Luke Ryan (GBr)Row 95 - Cell 2
97Tom Mazzone (GBr)Row 96 - Cell 2
98Joshua Sandman (GBr)Row 97 - Cell 2
99Jack Freeman (GBr)Row 98 - Cell 2
100Ethan Vernon (GBr)Row 99 - Cell 2
101Daniel Bigham (GBr) Ribble Pro CyclingRow 100 - Cell 2
102William Tidball (GBr)Row 101 - Cell 2
103Paul Elcock (GBr)Row 102 - Cell 2
104Rhys Britton (GBr)0:07:03
105Stuart Balfour (GBr)Row 104 - Cell 2
106William Perrett (GBr)Row 105 - Cell 2
107Scott Auld (GBr) Ribble Pro Cycling0:07:08
108William Brown (GBr) Ribble Pro CyclingRow 107 - Cell 2
109Gabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Team Wiggins Lecol0:07:09
110Joey Walker (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 109 - Cell 2
111Dan Gardner (GBr)Row 110 - Cell 2
112Ian Bibby (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 111 - Cell 2
113Thomas Moses (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 112 - Cell 2
114George Kimber (GBr)Row 113 - Cell 2
115Oliver Robinson (GBr) Team Wiggins LecolRow 114 - Cell 2
116Callum Macleod (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 115 - Cell 2
117Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Ineos0:07:12
118Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 117 - Cell 2
119Theo Modell (GBr)Row 118 - Cell 2
120Jonathan Mcevoy (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 119 - Cell 2
121James Shaw (GBr) Swiftcarbon Pro CyclingRow 120 - Cell 2
122George Pym (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 121 - Cell 2
123Graham Briggs (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 122 - Cell 2
124Callum Riley (GBr) Team Wiggins Lecol0:09:39
125Alex Luhrs (GBr) Ribble Pro Cycling0:14:35
126John Hale (GBr)0:15:00
127Ben Turner (GBr)0:17:40
128Oliver Wood (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor Homes0:17:41
DNFJamie Francis (GBr)Row 128 - Cell 2
DNFJacob Hennessy (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 129 - Cell 2
DNFLouis Rose-Davies (GBr) Canyon Dhb P / B Bloor HomesRow 130 - Cell 2
DNFDaniel Pullen (GBr)Row 131 - Cell 2
DNFCharlie Renshaw (GBr)Row 132 - Cell 2
DNFMorris Bacon (GBr)Row 133 - Cell 2
DNFFreddy Pett (GBr)Row 134 - Cell 2
DNFMark Richards (GBr)Row 135 - Cell 2
DNFAshley Cox (GBr)Row 136 - Cell 2
DNFJames Noonan (GBr)Row 137 - Cell 2
DNFJonathan Gales (GBr)Row 138 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Cuming (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 139 - Cell 2
DNFRichard Handley (GBr) Madison GenesisRow 140 - Cell 2
DNFGeorge Smith (GBr)Row 141 - Cell 2
DNFSimon Alexander (GBr)Row 142 - Cell 2
DNFJoe Evans (GBr)Row 143 - Cell 2
DNFFrazier Carr (GBr)Row 144 - Cell 2
DNFJordan Peacock (GBr)Row 145 - Cell 2
DNFThomas Heal (GBr)Row 146 - Cell 2
DNFCharlie Wright (GBr)Row 147 - Cell 2
DNFJulian Varley (GBr) Swiftcarbon Pro CyclingRow 148 - Cell 2
DNFGeorge Wood (GBr) Swiftcarbon Pro CyclingRow 149 - Cell 2
DNFMatthew Webster (GBr)Row 150 - Cell 2
DNFScott Davies (GBr) Team Dimension DataRow 151 - Cell 2
DNFJoseph Nally (GBr)Row 152 - Cell 2
DNFTom Wiley (GBr)Row 153 - Cell 2
DNFDavid Bolland (GBr)Row 154 - Cell 2
DNFTom Fitzpatrick (GBr)Row 155 - Cell 2
DNFKinsey Mcilquham (GBr)Row 156 - Cell 2
DNFEdward Clancy (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 157 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Mottram (GBr) Vitus Pro Cycling P / B Brother UkRow 158 - Cell 2
DNFDavid Hewett (GBr)Row 159 - Cell 2
DNFEdmund Bishop (GBr)Row 160 - Cell 2

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