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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
|1||97||Pfeiffer Georgi||Team DSM||U23||2:38:43|
|2||96||Josie Nelson||Team Coop-Hitec Products||U23||+3|
|3||37||Joscelin Lowden||DROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPUR||+7|
|4||98||Anna Henderson||Team Jumbo-Visma||+9|
|5||107||Anna Shackley||Team SD Worx||U23||+12|
|6||39||April Tacey||DROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPUR||U23||+22|
|7||5||Sophie Wright||Alè BTC Ljubljana||U23||+27|
|8||106||Danielle Shrosbree||Team LDN – Brother UK||+41|
|9||73||Jo Tindley||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsen||+44|
|10||1||Alice Barnes||CANYON – SRAM RACING||+52|
|11||36||Dani Christmas||DROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPUR||+1:04|
|12||35||Anna Christian||DROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPUR||+1:08|
|13||108||Leah Dixon||Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank||+2:58|
|15||17||Daisy Barnes||Brother U.K – Cycle Team OnForm||U23||+3:15|
|16||48||Beth Harley-Jepson||Jadan – Vive le Velo||+5:53|
|17||34||Elizabeth Bennett||DROPS-LE COL SUPPORTED BY TEMPUR||U23||+5:57|
|19||66||Isabel Darvill||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsen||U23||st|
|21||14||Holly MacMahon||Bianchi Dama||+6:02|
|22||6||Elizabeth Sanders||Avid Sport||+6:03|
|23||51||Francesca Hall||Loughborough Lightning – TRG||st|
|24||43||Alice McWilliam||Grinta Coaching||+6:05|
|25||80||Megan Dickerson||SKODA DSI Cycling Academy||st|
|27||65||Charlotte Berry||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsen||+6:10|
|28||4||Anna Morris||AeroLab Ward WheelZ||+6:15|
|29||13||Jasmine Jones||Bianchi Dama||+6:16|
|31||33||Gwenno Hughes||Crimson Orientation Marketing RT||U23||+6:49|
|32||67||Samantha Fawcett||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsen||+8:44|
|33||23||Louise Hart||Campinense – Velo Performance||st|
|34||46||Dannielle Khan||Isorex NoAqua Ladies Cycling Team||st|
|35||32||Melissa Greaves||Crimson Orientation Marketing RT||+8:52|
|36||72||Poppy Thompson||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes -Heidi Kjeldsen||st|
|37||110||Suzetta Guerrini||Team Watto-LDN||+8:56|
|38||57||Megan Panton||MULTUM ACCOUNTANTS – LSK LADIESCYCLING TEAM||U23||+9:09|
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
|1||1||Ben Swift||Team Ineos Grenadiers||3:45:19|
|3||2||Ethan Hayter||Team Ineos Grenadiers||+7|
|4||126||Harry Tanfield||Team Qhubeka Nexthash||+12|
|5||45||Lewis Askey||Equipe Cycliste Continentale Groupama-FDJ||U23||+24|
|7||110||Daniel Mclay||Team Arkea-Samsic||+1:30|
|8||39||Leo Hayter||Development Team DSM||U23||st|
|9||71||James Shaw||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||+1:33|
|10||115||Samuel Watson||Team Inspired||U23||+1:38|
|11||111||Connor Swift||Team Arkea-Samsic||+1:52|
|12||96||Sean Flynn||SEG Racing Academy||U23||+2:25|
|13||75||Gruffudd Lewis||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||+2:29|
|14||18||Jacob Scott||Canyon DHB Sungod||+2:32|
|15||108||Josh Whitehead||SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling||U23||st|
|16||17||Jim Brown||Canyon DHB Sungod||U23||+2:39|
|17||150||Ben Granger||Zappi Racing Team||U23||+2:42|
|18||105||Ross Lamb||SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling||+2:47|
|19||102||Alex Peters||SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling||+2:53|
|20||25||Charlie Tanfield||Canyon DHB Sungod||+3:24|
|21||40||Oscar Onley||Development Team DSM||U23||+3:59|
|22||29||Alistair Slater||Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy||+6:21|
|23||120||Cameron Orr||Team Inspired||U23||+6:23|
|24||133||Ben Turner||TRINITY Road Racing||U23||+6:27|
|25||135||Oliver Rees||TRINITY Road Racing||U23||+6:28|
|26||144||Owain Roberts||Wales Racing Academy||U23||+6:30|
|27||161||Matthew Kingston||Zappi Racing Team||U23||+6:38|
|28||132||Thomas Gloag||TRINITY Road Racing||U23||+6:41|
|29||134||Cameron Mason||TRINITY Road Racing||U23||+6:48|
|30||130||Charlie Quarterman||TREK – SEGAFREDO||+6:54|
|31||5||Henry Lawton||AG2R Citroen U23 Team||U23||+6:55|
|32||81||Isaac Mundy||Richardsons Trek DAS||+8:11|
|33||42||Thomas Armstrong||ELECTRO HIPER EUROPA||+8:13|
|35||117||Alfred George||Team Inspired||U23||+8:20|
|36||8||Joseph Laverick||Axeon Hagens Berman CT||U23||+8:26|
|37||52||David Hird||Halesowen A & CC Academy||U23||+8:32|
|38||23||Callum Macleod||Canyon DHB Sungod||U23||+8:38|
|39||16||Matthew Bostock||Canyon DHB Sungod||+8:55|
|40||19||Maximilian Stedman||Canyon DHB Sungod||st|
|41||90||Steve Lampier||Saint Piran||+9:04|