Previews Races

National road championships: time trials preview

Big preview with analysis and predictions from former national road race champ Colin Sturgess

The HSBC UK National Road Championships time trials take place on Thursday 27 June 2019. This preview of the event includes analysis and predictions from former British national road race champion Colin Sturgess.

What is it?

Quite simply: an annual contest to decide who are the best time trialists (men, women, elite, U23) in the country. The winners get to wear the fabled national stripes on their time trial skinsuits for the following year.

To wear the national stripes for a year you have to expect a performance way beyond

Colin Sturgess

The men’s national time trial championships go as far back as 1995, with the women’s championships starting in 2000. An U23 contest for men began in 2004. But the women have only ever had one U23 competition, in 2017, so the contest’s return is very welcome. Stuart Dangerfield holds the record for the number of wins in the men’s competition (6), whilst Wendy Houvenaghel has the most women’s competition victories (4).

2018 HSBC UK National Road Championships – Women’s Time Trial – Northumberland, England – Alice Barnes (Canyon SRAM Racing). Photo: Alex Whitehead/


In the elite men’s race, current champion Geraint Thomas – still recovering from his Tour de Suisse crash – won’t be there to defend his title. In fact, Ian Stannard and Owain Doull are the only Team Ineos riders down to ride. Five-time winner Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) will be there. He’ll be hoping to equal Stuart Dangerfield’s record haul of six wins. Another former winner Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data) is also due to start. Harry Tanfield (Katusha-Alpecin), second last year, and Scott Davies (Team Dimension Data) are the other World Tour riders on the startlist.

In the women’s race, the reigning champion Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) will be on the start line, as will her sister Alice (also Canyon-SRAM), who was second last year. Other notable names include former two-time winner Hayley Simmonds (BTC City Ljubljana), ‘fresh’ from a third place at the European Games, Katie Archibald (Team HUUB), Dame Sarah Storey (Storey Racing) and Neah Evans (Team HUUB), who finished third in 2018.

Click here for the full startlist.

2018 HSBC UK National Road Championships – Men’s U23 Time Trial – Northumberland, England – Ethan Hayter (100% ME). Photo: Alex Whitehead/

Colin Sturgess’ view 

Colin Sturgess is a former track world champion and professional road cyclist who has also managed domestic teams Metaltek-Kuota and Madison Genesis

It is testament to the strength of the British time trial scene that no fewer than 135 riders across four categories will line up for the HSBC UK National Road Championships time trials in Norfolk on Thursday. The day’s racing starts with the U23 men, then the elite women, elite men, and concludes with the new U23 women’s championship. It is slightly disappointing to see only 17 entrants for this inaugural race, but it is long overdue and to be applauded. 

So what awaits the riders? The 40 elite men face a course of 41.7 km on a parcours that does 1.5 loops of the gently rolling Norfolk countryside, before heading back to the Sandringham Estate start/finish. Much the same as last year, a private estate has stepped up and hosted the championships, and there are few more prestigious or picturesque as Sandringham. These are wonderful roads and lanes, rolling, reasonably fast, not too technical/not too ‘dual-carriageway-boring’, and most importantly for the champs, on totally closed roads. Yeah, you may not get the drag off a passing truck, but you can pick your line and not meet a car headlong!

Elite men’s route
Elevation profile. Image: La Flamme Rouge

The U23 men, the U23 women, and the elite women all face a 27.4 km loop (missing out the top loop near Fring) but I have to ask why not let all race over the same distance? 40 km isn’t going to kill anyone, and at this level all competitors should be able to race for an hour. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a shorter TT; I used to love a good 10m TT or a prologue, but… to wear the national stripes for a year you have to expect a performance way beyond. It is well worth mentioning that the U23 men’s race is extremely well represented and I foresee some close racing here. 50 entrants and reserves! 

Elite women / U23 men / U23 women
Elevation profile. Image: La Flamme Rouge

Being in Norfolk the wind can blow, and there’s a reason there’s windmills in these parts, but thankfully on Thursday the wind is relatively benign at 20 km/h.

So to the part I dread… a prediction of a podium or a win! Ok… here goes…

U23 women: Georgi, Wright, Henderson

U23 men: Hayter for the win, Pidcock, Vernon, Walls battling out the silver and bronze

Elite women: Lowden, Simmonds, Archibald

Elite men: Scott Davies, John Archibald, Alex Dowsett. Although… no doubt Dan Bigham will pop up and prove us all wrong, but this is the nature of punditry!

Whatever the result, the winners will wear the jersey with pride and rightly so. Good luck to everyone; heads down, give it a snappy nudge.

Schedule (subject to change)

U23 Men – 10:00

Elite Women – 12:20

Elite Men – 15:30

U23 Women – 17:55


The forecast suggests it will be sunny with temperatures up to 17 degrees. There will be a moderate breeze throughout the day.


No TV coverage, but there will a fixed camera and external mic at the finish line for the time trials, with live streaming and a link to live timing stats on British Cycling’s Facebook page.

Live timings here.

There will be full streaming of the road race, with commentary, on British Cycling’s YouTube channel, and Eurosport Player and GCN should also be showing the racing. More on that in our full road race preview later this week.

Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/ 2018 HSBC UK National Road Championships – Men’s Time Trial – Northumberland, England. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) celebrates the win.

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