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HSBC UK | National Road Championships road race: report and results

Report and results from the HSBC UK | National Road Championships road race, 17 October 2021

Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) took a powerful victory at the HSBC UK | National Road Championships in Lincoln to take both the elite and U23 national road race titles. In the men’s race, Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) reclaimed his national road race title, while Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) took the U23 honours.

Read more about the course in our race preview here.

Featured photo: Will Palmer/SWpix.com – 17/10/2021 – Cycling – Women’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – Team DSM’s Pfeiffer Georgi leads the break up the Michaelgate cobbles.

Women’s race

21-year-old Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) sealed both the elite and U23 national road race crowns with a coming-of-age performance, using her superiority on the climb at Michaelgate to power clear of her rivals on the final ascent.

Persistent rain made for miserable conditions, only adding to the challenge that faced the riders as they rolled out of Lincoln. The peloton arrived together as they reached the first ascent of the iconic, cobbled Michaelgate climb. On the front were recent hour record-breaker, Joss Lowden (Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur), side-by-side with Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma).

They set a tough pace up the climb and, if the aim was to create a select group early on, then they succeeded. By the top, the pace was hard enough for 12 riders to forge clear, never to be caught again. This exclusive group contained: Alice Barnes (CANYON – SRAM RACING), Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM), Joss Lowden, Apri Tacey, Dani Christmas, Anna Christian (all Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur), Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma), Josie Nelson (Team Coop-Hitec Products), Anna Shackley (Team SD Worx), Danielle Shrosbree (Team LDN – Brother UK), Jo Tindley (Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen) and Sophie Wright (Alè BTC Ljubljana).

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 17/10/2021 – Cycling – Women’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – Jumbo Visma’s Anna Henderson climbs the Michaelgate cobbles.

The group’s lead grew with every passing lap, and by the time they had reached the four-lap halfway point in the race, the daring dozen had over a minute on the peloton behind. In the bunch Leah Dixon (Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) was particularly active, seemingly determined to catch the leaders, but her efforts to chivvy the bunch into a coordinated pursuit were constantly thwarted.

On the sixth ascent of Michaelgate, Pfeiffer Georgi produced the first attack out of the leading group, with only Henderson and Lowden the only riders who were able to cling on. Behind, Anna Shackley chased hard to pull back the leading three riders a few kilometres later, with Barnes, Nelson, and Wright alongside her making it a group of seven.

By now it was clear Georgi had the best legs on Michealgate. It would be up to the other riders to drop her. Reigning national champion Alice Barnes tried this by attacking almost as soon as the group had become seven but was quickly reeled back in.

The group swelled to 12 once again towards the end of the penultimate lap, with the remaining five riders re-joining the leaders, and with one lap to go they would cross the line and hear the final lap bell altogether.

The final lap saw attack after attack, firstly by Anna Christian at 10 kilometres to go, swiftly chased down by Jo Tindley and Pfieffer Georgi, the pair riding straight past her to launch their own attack.

Another Drops-Le Col attack saw a last-minute dig by April Tacey at three kilometres to go, and she would ride all the way to the lower slopes of the final ascent of the Michaelgate climb on her own.

Picture by Will Palmer/SWpix.com – 17/10/2021 – Cycling – Women’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – Team DSM’s Pfeiffer Georgi leads the break up the Michaelgate cobbles.

However, Georgi flew past Tacey, attacking on the right-hand side of the climb – Josie Nelson fighting hard on the left aiming to match her speed.

Only two bike lengths separated them as they turned left onto Wordsworth Street, the final rise with just 100 metres to go to the finish line, and Anna Henderson was just three bike lengths behind Nelson with Joss Lowden chasing down the Team Jumbo-Visma rider.

Pfeiffer Georgi would ride out of sight to take the win in front of a rapturous Lincolnshire crowd, with Josie Nelson finishing second just three seconds behind. Lowden fought hard, pipping Henderson in the final 100 metres to take bronze, seven seconds behind Georgi.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 17/10/2021 – Cycling – Women’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – Team DSM’s Pfeiffer Georgi wins the Women’s National Road Championships in Lincoln.

Georgi and Nelson both being under-23 also took the top two steps of that podium, Anna Shackley took home bronze, with the Team SD Worx rider fifth overall ahead of the valiant April Tacey in sixth.

Georgi said:

“I honestly can’t believe it. I was just crossing the line shaking my head. Just realising that I get to wear the [national champions] jersey for year, that was pretty special.

“I’ve been feeling tired the past couple of weeks, so to feel good today and take the win, it was actually really surprising.

“I knew positioning would be key every lap, but I didn’t expect it to be only 12 [riders] by the first lap. I thought it would maybe be halved, but I didn’t think our breakaway would go all the way to finish.

“But that’s the nature of this race, with it being so narrow, cobbled – and yeah it’s always a fight for positions, so you have to be there every lap, and yeah – stay sharp.”

Picture by Will Palmer/SWpix.com – 17/10/2021 – Cycling – Women’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – Team DSM’s Pfeiffer Georgi wins the Women’s National Road Championships at Lincoln

Results

Pos#RiderTeamCatTime
197Pfeiffer GeorgiTeam DSMU232:38:43
296Josie NelsonTeam Coop-Hitec ProductsU23+3
337Joscelin LowdenDROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPUR+7
498Anna HendersonTeam Jumbo-Visma+9
5107Anna ShackleyTeam SD WorxU23+12
639April TaceyDROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPURU23+22
75Sophie WrightAlè BTC LjubljanaU23+27
8106Danielle ShrosbreeTeam LDN – Brother UK+41
973Jo TindleyPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsen+44
101Alice BarnesCANYON – SRAM RACING+52
1136Dani ChristmasDROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPUR+1:04
1235Anna ChristianDROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPUR+1:08
13108Leah DixonTeam TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank+2:58
1429Becky StorrieCAMS-Basso+3:01
1517Daisy BarnesBrother U.K – Cycle Team OnFormU23+3:15
1648Beth Harley-JepsonJadan – Vive le Velo+5:53
1734Elizabeth BennettDROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPURU23+5:57
1826Natalie GrinczerCAMS-Bassost
1966Isabel DarvillPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi KjeldsenU23st
2025Illi GardnerCAMS-BassoU23+6:00
2114Holly MacMahonBianchi Dama+6:02
226Elizabeth SandersAvid Sport+6:03
2351Francesca HallLoughborough Lightning – TRGst
2443Alice McWilliamGrinta Coaching+6:05
2580Megan DickersonSKODA DSI Cycling Academyst
263Victoria SmithAeroCoach+6:08
2765Charlotte BerryPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsen+6:10
284Anna MorrisAeroLab Ward WheelZ+6:15
2913Jasmine JonesBianchi Dama+6:16
30118Kate RichardsonUnattachedU23+6:18
3133Gwenno HughesCrimson Orientation Marketing RTU23+6:49
3267Samantha FawcettPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsen+8:44
3323Louise HartCampinense – Velo Performancest
3446Dannielle KhanIsorex NoAqua Ladies Cycling Teamst
3532Melissa GreavesCrimson Orientation Marketing RT+8:52
3672Poppy ThompsonPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsenst
37110Suzetta GuerriniTeam Watto-LDN+8:56
3857Megan PantonMULTUM ACCOUNTANTS – LSK LADIESCYCLING TEAMU23+9:09

Men’s race

Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) won his first road race since his last national road race win in June 2019 to sustain his ownership of the national road race jersey.

A total of 129 riders started the men’s race in Lincoln, amongst them three previous winners in Mark Cavendish MBE (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Connor Swift (Team Arkéa-Samsic) and Ben Swift.

The earliest attack came on the first ascent of the Michaelgate climb, a solo effort from the frequently aggressive 20-year-old Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ Continental). The attack came to nothing, but a counterattack by Dan Bigham (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling) and Sam Watson (Team Inspired) sparked the first big move of the day.

Picture by Will Palmer/SWpix.com – 17/10/2021 – Cycling – Men’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – Dan Bigham and Sam Watson pass under the gantry in Castle Square.

A lap later a further four riders joined them: Harry Tanfield (Team Qhubeka Nexthash), Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ), Dan McLay (Team Arkéa-Samsic) and Ben Swift. They had a lead of around 30 seconds as they hit Michaelgate for the sixth of thirteen ascents.

Behind, pre-race favourite Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) used the climb as a springboard to bridge across to the leading group in what seemed like no time at all. Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious), Lewis Askey and Connor Swift also fought to join the leaders, making it ten in front.

James Shaw (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling) and Sean Flynn (SEG Racing Academy) then put in a strong effort to close a 35-second gap to join the leaders to make it dozen. At the same time, Harry Tanfield attacked out the front but was swiftly brought back by Ethan Hayter, looking mightily strong.

At the start of lap nine Dan McLay then made a decisive attack, with Fred Wright, Ben Swift and Harry Tanfield hurriedly following his wheel. With the other eight riders looking at each other to close the gap, the new leaders began to etch out a solid lead. With two laps to go their lead was a minute ahead of the chasers.

Behind, the composition of the chasers was changing. A second chase group caught Hayter’s group of eight, only for Hayter, Askey, Swift, Watson and Alpecin-Fenix’s Alex Richardson to slip away and form a new chase group of 5.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 17/10/2021 – Cycling – Men’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – Groupama FDJ’s Lewis Askey.

The penultimate time up the Michaelgate climb saw fireworks when Fred Wright decided to show his hand, powering over the cobbles as his competitors fought for the smooth gutter section at the side of the road. Only Swift and Tanfield could follow, Dan McLay slipping out of contention. In the group behind Ethan Hayter barely looked out of breath as he took Lewis Askey over the top of the climb with him, the duo in pursuit of the three riders ahead.

On the final lap, Tanfield put in several digs in an effort to lose his companions, but each time he was reeled back in. The three reached Michaelgate together, hotly pursued by Hayter and Askey, who had done an impressive job of closing the gap to just a few seconds.

Ben Swift went first, Fred Wright chasing his wheel as Tanfield dropped away behind them. The duo pressed on ahead in a thrilling final sprint up the climb, shoulder to shoulder into the penultimate corner and left-hand turn to the 100 metres to go sign.

Wright was holding his wheel all the way around the final corner and onto the tarmac before his head slumped, absolutely spent, allowing Swift to ride away to victory.

Behind, Hayter had flown past Tanfield on the climb in the final metres to steal third, seven seconds behind his teammate.

Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com – 17/10/2021 – Cycling – Men’s National Road Championships – Rapha Lincoln GP – Lincoln, England – INEOS Grenadiers’s Ben Swift wins the Men’s National Road Championships in Lincoln.

Swift said:

“I was really looking forward to the race, I’ve enjoyed my time for sure in this jersey. It gives you that extra motivation for sure, it was something that I really wanted to keep and luckily, I’ve got for another eight months in it or something.

“It’s been a bit of a difficult year. I knew coming into this race my form was good, but I’ve had to do it the hard way – I spent most of the day off the front just going from group to group, but yeah I’m made up really!

“It was incredible – it’s been so long since we’ve had really big crowds in British racing, so it was so good to see. Michaelgate’s hard, but those crowds it made it a little bit easier.”

Results

Pos#RiderTeamCatTime
11Ben SwiftTeam Ineos Grenadiers3:45:19
210Fred WrightBahrain-VictoriousU23+2
32Ethan HayterTeam Ineos Grenadiers+7
4126Harry TanfieldTeam Qhubeka Nexthash+12
545Lewis AskeyEquipe Cycliste Continentale Groupama-FDJU23+24
66Alexandar RichardsonAlpecin-Fenix+1:12
7110Daniel MclayTeam Arkea-Samsic+1:30
839Leo HayterDevelopment Team DSMU23st
971James ShawRibble Weldtite Pro Cycling+1:33
10115Samuel WatsonTeam InspiredU23+1:38
11111Connor SwiftTeam Arkea-Samsic+1:52
1296Sean FlynnSEG Racing AcademyU23+2:25
1375Gruffudd LewisRibble Weldtite Pro Cycling+2:29
1418Jacob ScottCanyon DHB Sungod+2:32
15108Josh WhiteheadSwiftCarbon Pro CyclingU23st
1617Jim BrownCanyon DHB SungodU23+2:39
17150Ben GrangerZappi Racing TeamU23+2:42
18105Ross LambSwiftCarbon Pro Cycling+2:47
19102Alex PetersSwiftCarbon Pro Cycling+2:53
2025Charlie TanfieldCanyon DHB Sungod+3:24
2140Oscar OnleyDevelopment Team DSMU23+3:59
2229Alistair SlaterClancy Briggs Cycling Academy+6:21
23120Cameron OrrTeam InspiredU23+6:23
24133Ben TurnerTRINITY Road RacingU23+6:27
25135Oliver ReesTRINITY Road RacingU23+6:28
26144Owain RobertsWales Racing AcademyU23+6:30
27161Matthew KingstonZappi Racing TeamU23+6:38
28132Thomas GloagTRINITY Road RacingU23+6:41
29134Cameron MasonTRINITY Road RacingU23+6:48
30130Charlie QuartermanTREK – SEGAFREDO+6:54
315Henry LawtonAG2R Citroen U23 TeamU23+6:55
3281Isaac MundyRichardsons Trek DAS+8:11
3342Thomas ArmstrongELECTRO HIPER EUROPA+8:13
344Zak ColemanAcrog-TormansU23+8:14
35117Alfred GeorgeTeam InspiredU23+8:20
368Joseph LaverickAxeon Hagens Berman CTU23+8:26
3752David HirdHalesowen A & CC AcademyU23+8:32
3823Callum MacleodCanyon DHB SungodU23+8:38
3916Matthew BostockCanyon DHB Sungod+8:55
4019Maximilian StedmanCanyon DHB Sungodst
4190Steve LampierSaint Piran+9:04