It was a hugely hectic and highly successful UK National Road Championships for the Drops-Le Col and Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling teams. Both teams raced their Endurance SL R and Ultra TT race bikes along the roads of Lincoln. Check out who came away with the medals after riding in our roundup of an electrifying extended weekends worth of racing.
UK National Road Championships – 14th to 17th October
The UK national road championships took place over the space of 4 days in and around the city of Lincoln. It consisted of 4x time trials on Thursday the 14th. Followed by the Circuit Race Championship on the 15th and the Road Race on the 17th.
Women’s U23 Time Trial – 14th October
The UK national road championships kicked off with the U23 time trials. Drops – Le Col’s talented young superstars shone brightly on a challenging course in the Lincolnshire Wolds. April Tacey agonisingly missing out on a deserved podium place by a mere handful of seconds. She scorched around two laps of the 15.3km circuit to clock a hugely impressive time of 46:34.57. In doing so she set the fastest benchmark time. A time that was only surpassed by three riders from World Tour teams. What an outstanding ride!
Earlier AliceTowers had kicked things off for Drops – Le Col. Alice set a blistering pace over the 29.4km course to clock the fastest time of 49:45.14 and lead the field. A time that was to eventually prove good enough for 11th overall. A superb result from such a young rider.
Elite Women’s Time Trial – 14th October
Huge congratulations to Joss Lowden who finished 2nd in the elite women’s champs. Drops – Le Col was well-represented by the newly crowned hour record holder and Anna Christian. First up was Anna who clocked a highly respectable time of 47:39.70 to claim 15th place overall. It was then all eyes on Joss to see what she could do against the UK’s fastest time triallists from the World Tour teams. At the halfway point it was close with Joss only 15 seconds down on the fastest time. This gap was to extend during the second lap, however, Joss put in a superb effort to claim a superb runner up spot on the podium.
U23 Men’s Time Trial – 14th October
An impressive ride from Joe Wilson saw him cross the line to clock a time of 42:05.82 to finish in 19th position.
Elite Men’s Time Trial – 14th October
What a day for Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling as they place two riders on the podium. The first to tackle the challenging 44.7km course was Gruff Lewis, who clocked a time that earned him 16th place on the day. Then it was the turn of James Shaw who had set the fastest time at the first split. A time that was only to be bettered by teammate Dan Bigham and Ineo’s Ethan Hayter.
At the second split, James still sat in third with Dan only 9 seconds down on the pacesetter, Hayter. With World Tour heavyweights on his coattails, James held on for a third place. Confirming the improvements he has made on the TT bike this year with the support of Dan and the rest of the team. Behind James, Dan was laying it all down on the line to eventually cross the line 36 seconds down on Hayter. What a momentous way to round off the first day’s racing.
Elite Mens Circuit Race -15th October
Charles Page lit up the race with an attack that sparked the race-winning move. Quickly joined by four companions the quintet found themselves lapping almost the entire field. There was nothing to split the group as the final bell rang. Charles crossed the line 5th, what a result for the Londoner.
Elite Women’s Road Race
Joss Lowden added a superb Bronze medal to the Silver that she had collected in the time trial on Thursday. DROPS fielded a super-strong team that featured Joss Lowden, April Tacey, Dani Christmas, Anna Christian and Lizzy Bennett. Persistent rain greeted the riders as they lined up at the start in Lincoln. The peloton stayed together until the first ascent of the iconic, cobbled Michaelgate climb. The pace was high and if they entertained thoughts of creating a select breakaway group early on, they surely succeeded.
Anna was particularly instrumental in setting a leg-burning pace that saw a select group of 12 riders forge clear by the top. Amongst this group was no less than four Drops – Le Col riders. Joss, April, Dani, and Anna helped set a searing pace that saw their lead extend with seemingly every pedal stroke. By the halfway point the gap had grown to over a minute, behind them the main peloton lacked the cohesion to bring them back.
On the sixth ascent of Michaelgate the eventual race leader, Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) launched an attack that blew the group to pieces. Joss was one of only two riders able to cling on. However, by ht end of the penultimate lap, the initial group of twelve were back together. This was to signal a flurry of late attacks, at 10km to go, Anna Christian, made her bid for glory. She was swiftly reeled in by a duo of riders who immediately counterattacked.
At 3km to go, it was April’s turn to attack and she held on as far as the final summit of Michaelgate. At this point race winner, Georgi flew past April with Josie Nelson (COOP-Hitec products) in hot pursuit followed by Anna Henderson (Jumbo Visma) and Joss Lowden. A hard-fought ride from Joss saw her pip Anna in the final 100m to claim the final step on the podium. With the U23 category also being decided within the race, April Tacey’s valiant ride to 6th place saw her just miss out on a medal. Once again finishing 4th, but what an incredible championship she has had.
Elite Men’s Road Race
The men’s race saw Ribble Weldtite heavily involved from the off. An early attack on the first ascent of Michaelgate was nullified by Dan Bigham and saw Williams (Team Inspired). This was to spark the days first big move and a lap later this group had swelled to six. As they approached Michaelgate for the sixth of thirteen ascents the lead was 30 seconds. The climb was to prove the springboard for a further four riders. This new group of 10 riders consisted of all the prerace favourites with Dan Bigham being the sole representative for RWPC.
Reinforcements were on the way, however, when James Shaw dug deep to bridged across a 35-second gap to join the lead group. With so many of the big World Tour riders present something had to give. The start of lap nine would prove decisive as a group of four went clear. With the eight riders remaining all looking at each other the lead group began to eke out a solid lead.
With two laps to go the lead had gone out to a minute, but behind the composition of the chase had changed. A third group absorbed the group containing Dan and James only for an immediate counterattack by five riders. For Dan and James, the gig was up and it was time to think about racing for the minor placings. It was to be a familiar story for James as he crossed the line as the highest placed non World Tour rider. he finished ninth overall and was followed less than a minute later by an impressive ride from Gruff Lewis who came home 13th. Dan paid for his earlier breakaway efforts and faded out of the reckoning in the races closing stages.
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