After Connor Swift’s surprise win in the road race last year, the World Tour riders reasserted their hold on the National Road Championships titles this time around. Ben Swift (Team Ineos) took a well-deserved and long overdue road race win at the National Road Championships at the weekend. In the time trial, meanwhile, Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) earned a record-equalling sixth win.
There were nonetheless plenty of standout performances from the domestic riders. Some of these were no surprise. Ethan Hayter’s win in the U23 road race was confirmation of his prodigious talent. Whilst, Alex Richardson’s 6th place in the road race underlined what previous performances this season have already shown: he can compete with the best on the right course.
Below, we pick out five domestic riders who notched up more unexpected standout performances at the nationals this year.
John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling)
Results: 2nd, elite time trial; 3rd, road race
After turning heads with his exploits on the track, John Archibald is now beginning to do to the same on the road. Holder of the sea level world record in the individual pursuit and part of the maverick Huub-Wattbike track team, Archibald’s track performances have already shown he is so much more than simply ‘Katie Archibald’s brother’, a moniker he is keen to lose. And at the nationals his podium performances in both the elite time trial – where he was just 6 seconds off Alex Dowsett’s winning time – and the road race – where he was third in a swashbuckling three-up finale against World Tour opposition – marked him as the most impressive rider from the domestic ranks during nationals week.
Sam Culverwell (Team Estera)
Result: 12th, road race
At just 18 years old, and a virtual unknown at the beginning of 2019, Sam Culverwell capped an incredible first half of the season with 12th place in the men’s road race. The young rider from Guernsey, who has only recently completed his A-levels, started the season with the aim of earning a contract with a Continental team. Culverwell has already beaten some of country’s top Continental riders this season, with no less than three National B race wins, as well as a 3rd at the Severn Bridge road race and 6th at the Perfs Pedal. 12th at the national road race though, besting a string of top class pro riders, feels like another level. If he doesn’t earn himself a Continental contract – or better – next season, I’ll eat my casquette.
Charlie Quarterman (Holdsworth-Zappi)
Results: 1st, U23 time trial; 40th, road race
We had already marked out our recent Baby Giro diarist Charlie Quarterman as one of the British U23 riders to watch in 2019. He’d alread had career-best performances in the Baby Giro, taking 4th in the opening prologue and then 3rd on stage 7. But up against Britain’s brightest young stars Ethan Hayter and Tom Pidcock, amongst others, he wasn’t the biggest of favourites for the U23 time trial crown. But he won the contest in convincing fashion, 44 seconds ahead of Hayter, proving his second place in the competition last season was no fluke.
Matt Bostock (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes)
Result: 9th, road race (2nd, U23 road title)
Slowly but surely 21-year-old Matt Bostock is proving to be one of Britain’s brightest road racing prospects. He moved to Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes this season after three years at British Cycling’s senior academy. Until then, his results on the road before this season had been solid enough. But this season he seems to be blossoming. Two top 10s in UCI road races, a Tour Series win in Birkenhead, and 11th overall at the tough Tour of the Reservoir were all signs that an even bigger result might be just around the corner. It was: an impressive 9th in the road race gave Bostock 2nd in the U23 competition behind the irrepressible Ethan Hayter. Don’t be surprised if he goes even better later this season.
Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis)
Result: 7th, road race
Rowsell has had more comebacks than Rocky Balboa. A crash and broken arm in 2015 was followed by broken ribs in 2016. Illness and surgery forced him to abandon his 2017 season and then 2018 was hampered by a broken ankle after crashing into a dry stone wall at the Tour de Yorkshire. Now recovered, 7th at the elite road race marked a real return to form for the 28 year-old who finished 8th overall in the Tour of Britain back in 2015. With his Madison Genesis team closing at the end of the season, this is a result that might just prove to potential suitors that he still has what it takes to be a top-class bike rider.
Featured photo: Zac Williams/SWpix.com. John Archibald after finishing third at the HSBC UK British National Championships, Men’s Road Race, Norwich