Towers solos 40km through wind and rain for shock road race title at British National Road Championships

Alice Towers (Le Col-Wahoo) held off the elements and a host of more experienced rivals to claim a stunning victory in the elite women's road race at the British championships. 

The 19-year-old was short on experience but high on strength and courage, going clear from all of 40km out and soloing through the driving rain. 

Towers finished more than a minute clear of the rest, with Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM) winning the dash for second place ahead of Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma).

The Scotland route totalled 128km with two laps of a 23km loop followed by six laps of the 13.5km finishing circuit. There were no major climbs but the roads were typically rolling and grippy. 

The conditions were typically British, too, with strong winds and strong rain. There was just one breakaway rider but things came back together with 60km to go. 

Henderson then created the first real selection, but Le Col-Wahoo had significant numbers and sent Towers on the attack with three laps to go. It turned out to be the winning move, as the chase group drifted back to the peloton and the gap went up above two minutes. 

The spirit of the chase ebbed and flowed but Towers never faltered and finished off a remarkable first elite title. She also claimed the U23 title in the process, with Georgi also taking silver there, while Elynor Backstedt took bronze. 

"I can't really believe it happened," Towers said. "It's actually the first time I've ever won a road race, so to win the national championships is really special.

"It was very spontaneous," she said of her attack. "It probably was the best thing to do at the time with the conditions, being out front was better than being in the bunch. The time get going out and kilometres kept coming down. All I could do was keep plugging away."

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Patrick Fletcher

Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist, and former deputy editor of Cyclingnews, who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.

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