Presenting the HSBC UK | National Road Championships
It was a thrill to present the National Road Championships live from Norwich - it is one of my favourite days of racing all year. The only thing you can predict is just how unpredictable it’s going to be.
Often billed as one of the hardest days of racing the riders will face all year - in part due to the lack of team cohesion and no race radios - you see the very best of British on their limit in pursuit of the coveted and iconic red, white and blue stripes. A prestigious jersey these riders will get to wear for a whole year.
In a shift from usual proceedings, British Cycling set the men off first, at 9am. 125 miles, or 190.5km lay ahead on what was a relatively flat/rolling course. Despite gorgeous sunshine and warm temperatures, a strong westerly threatened to split the race and such was the case - it blew to bits as soon as the flag dropped.
You could not have asked for a more popular winner - and that was evident in the outpouring of respect and adulation from fans, media and riders alike. Ben Swift, just four months after he almost died after a training ride crashed saw him in intensive care with a ruptured spleen, Swift chased down Ineos teammate Ian Stannard in the closing kilometres to take an emotional victory. And after cousin Connor Swift’s victory last year, he made sure the jersey stayed in the family.
Rewatch all the action, interviews and analysis here.
The women set off under blue sunny skies at 2.30pm, for 83 miles or 136km. 2018 saw a shock victory for Jess Roberts, who was this year riding on the track, winning the European Games madison title in Minsk. No Lizzie Deignan either, who chose to sit it out after victory at the Women’s Tour in the build up to the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships. Instead all eyes were on Alice Barnes, who won the time trial just days before to take her first elite national title. Could she do the double?
For the first time since Emma Pooley in 2010, Barnes stormed to victory, riding the final 30km or so in a break with young guns Lizzie Holden, Abby Mae Parkinson and Anna Henderson - both the Under 23 and elite podiums decided from a group of rising stars.
Rewatch all the action, interviews and analysis here
Thanks to the ever-professional Cyclevox crew for a brilliant day!