19-year-old Alice Towers (Le Col-Wahoo) took her first elite road race victory in stunning style as she soloed to a comprehensive victory to become the women’s 2022 national road race champion.
In the men’s race, Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) stormed to a remarkable victory as he out-sprinted Sam Watson (Groupama-FDJ) and Le Col’s Alex Richardson to take his second national road race title.
Strong, gusting, winds and driving rain greeted the riders as the peloton took to the lanes and roads of Dumfries and Galloway decked out in varying levels of warmers and rain jackets.
The action was enough to warm up most of the riders – and the few hardy spectators camped out around the course – as moves and attacks started right from the word go.
First to really put themselves out there was Saint Piran’s Christina Wiejak, who made a move off the front early into the 128km race.
Quickly building up an advantage of 2m18 to the peloton, and about 90sec to Monica Greenwood (Team Boompods) who had struck out in a vain effort to join the leader, Wiejak was sitting in a relatively solid position.
However, as the field completed the second of the two 22.9km long loops and began the first of six 13.7km shorter circuits, Wiejak’s advantage started to be eaten up – thanks in no part to Dame Sarah Storey (Storey Racing) starting to up the pace at the front of the peloton.
On the second of the small laps, Wiejak was finally caught with Towers moving herself to the front of what was becoming an increasingly strung-out peloton.
Indeed, such was the pace at the front that a group of about half-a-dozen riders – including Towers, her Le Col-Wahoo team-mate Lizzie Holden, Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma), reigning champion Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM), Trek-Segafredo’s Elynor Backstedt and Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) motored off the front.
Joined in time by all five of the Le Col-Wahoo squad, and Uno-X’s Elinor Barker, Towers used the strength of her team to launch her move off the front.
Building up a handy advantage pretty quickly on the undulating Scottish roads, the 19-year-old’s move looked dangerous from the beginning. Two-time Tour Series round winner Sammie Stuart (CAMS-Basso) gave some chase but couldn’t make a dent on Towers’ advantage.
Stuart was caught by the small group of Georgi, Holden, Henderson and Backstedt on the final lap, by which point Towers had roughly 90 seconds on the quintet.
Georgi and Henderson in particular tried to in vein to claw back the Towers’ advantage. But Towers was clear.
Crossing the line with arms aloft, Towers claimed her first elite road race victory in fine style, becoming the elite and under-23 national road race champion in the process. A real coming-of-age moment for the talented Towers.
Behind, a sprint for second between Henderson and Georgi went the way of the Team DSM rider, Georgi able to out-drag Henderson – the first non under-23 rider – on the slight climb up to the finish.
Holden took fourth, with Backstedt pipping Stuart for fifth.
The rain that soaked the women’s race gradually gave way to sunshine for the men’s race but the wind was still as furious as the racing that ensued.
Like a Surrey league road race, the action was frantic throughout, no let-up for the entirety of the 201 km course.
On the very first of the long 22.9km laps, Cavendish broke clear of the peloton alongside Nick Cooper (Sweden Cycling Academy) and Damien Clayton (WiV SunGod) – eventually being joined by a larger group including Le Col’s Alexander Richardson, newly-crowned National Circuit Champion Matt Bostock (WiV SunGod), Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ) and Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) among others.
With the pace remaining high throughout, the composition of the lead group changed regularly, as riders dropped off the back and others made burning charges up to the front.
What remained constant, however, was the presence of Cavendish, Hayter, Richardson and Ben Turner (Ineos Grenadiers) within the group.
An early move to try and shake up the race happened with just over 100km still remaining, as Cavendish, Sam Culverwell (TRINITY Road Racing), Turner and Askey launched off the front.
They didn’t last out front too long, as the chasing pack reeled them back in, but it jettisoned off some of the potential chasers. It made Hayter’s attack with five short laps to go look more threatening. The 23-year-old national time trial champion stayed out front for a good 20 minutes before being reeled back.
However, that attack was perhaps his undoing. There was half-a-lap of what passed as a truce when Hayter was pulled back into the fold, before Bostock, Cavendish, Turner and Sam Watson (Groupama-FDJ Continental) launched a lightning break off the front that Hayter was unable to join.
The leading quintet became a quartet on the penultimate lap as Bostock just overlapped his wheel with Turner’s enough to unsettle his bike and sent him tumbling to the floor. He got up and continued in the second group, but his chance of a double-victory was over.
On the final lap, another rider was cut adrift. Turner launched a solo break for victory but his companions at the front all had enough energy in reserve to shut the move down and launch a counter of their own that the Ineos Grenadier couldn’t respond to.
Coming into Castle Douglas for the final time, Watson, Cavendish and Richardson all pretty much came to a standstill, not wanting to be the first one to make a move.
Eventually, Richardson blinked first and started out his sprint, but Cavendish was pushing a huge gear and once he got the power through to the wheels there was no doubt about what was going to happen next – the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider took victory with a couple of lengths to spare, his second national road race title, nine years after his 2013 success.
Behind, Watson secured the under-23 national title and second overall by a fraction of a wheel as he just out-lunged Richardson in a hotly-contested sprint.
Turner took fourth, just ahead of a recovering Bostock, with Askey sixth – second in the under-23 competition – and 2018 national champ Connor Swift (Team Arkea-Samsic) in seventh.
|1||54||Alice Towers||Le Col – Wahoo||U23||3:28:02|
|2||1||Pfeiffer Georgi||Team DSM||U23||+1:13|
|3||109||Anna Henderson||Team Jumbo-Visma||ST|
|4||50||Elizabeth Holden||Le Col – Wahoo||+1:16|
|5||121||Elynor Backstedt||TREK – SEGAFREDO||U23||+1:21|
|7||41||Alice Barnes||CANYON – SRAM RACING||+2:45|
|8||51||Eluned King||Le Col – Wahoo||U23||+2:46|
|9||45||Abi Smith||EF Education-TIBCO-SVB||U23||ST|
|10||83||Dannielle Khan||Solihull CC||ST|
|11||53||April Tacey||Le Col – Wahoo||U23||ST|
|12||48||Beth Harley-Jepson||Jadan – Vive le Velo||ST|
|13||7||Kate Richardson||Alba Development Road Team||U23||ST|
|14||84||Claire Steels||Sopela Women’s Team||ST|
|16||52||Flora Perkins||Le Col – Wahoo||U23||ST|
|18||103||Monica Greenwood||Team Boompods||ST|
|19||64||Robyn Clay||Otley CC||U23||ST|
|20||25||Alice McWilliam||BIANCHI HUNT MORVELO||ST|
|22||88||Amira Mellor||Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus||ST|
|23||116||Anna Shackley||Team SD Worx||U23||+ 2:52|
|24||26||Tamsin Miller||BIANCHI HUNT MORVELO||ST|
|25||30||Jessie Carridge||Brother UK-Orientation Marketing||ST|
|26||68||Bexy Dew||Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes p/b Heidi Kjeldsen||ST|
|28||2||Sophie Enever||Alba Development Road Team||ST|
|29||74||Jo Tindley||Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes p/b Heidi Kjeldsen||+ 2:54|
|30||69||Lucy Ellmore||Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes p/b Heidi Kjeldsen||U23||ST|
|31||91||Natalie Grinczer||Stade Rochelias Charente-Maritime||ST|
|32||16||Emily Meakin||AWOL- O’Shea||+ 2:57|
|34||97||Lucy Gadd||Storey Racing||U23||+ 3:00|
|35||4||Sophie Lankford||Alba Development Road Team||+ 7:55|
|36||21||Lydia Watts||AWOL Worx Galliard||U23||ST|
|37||110||Sian Botteley||Team LDN – Brother UK||ST|
|38||9||Olivia Bent||AWOL- O’Shea||U23||+ 7:57|
|39||107||Mary Wilkinson||Team Boompods||ST|
|40||20||Libby Smithson||AWOL Worx Galliard||U23||ST|
|41||89||Madeleine Nutt||Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus||ST|
|42||87||Samantha Fawcett||Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus||ST|
|43||94||Miriam Jessett||StolenGoat Race Team||ST|
|44||105||Louise Hart||Team Boompods||ST|
|45||86||Xan Crees||Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus||U23||ST|
|46||123||Rebecca Saunderson||Studio Velo||U23||ST|
|47||99||Dame Sarah Storey||Storey Racing||ST|
|48||79||Gwenno Hughes||Saint Piran WRT||ST|
|49||95||Erin Avill||Storey Racing||ST|
|51||10||Charlotte Broughton||AWOL- O’Shea||ST|
|52||17||Francesca Morgans-Slader||AWOL- O’Shea||ST|
|53||117||Jenny Holl||TEKKERZ CC||ST|
|1||60||Mark Cavendish MBE||QUICK-STEP Alpha Vinyl||4:31:06|
|2||39||Samuel Watson||GROUPAMA – FDJ||U23||ST|
|3||48||Alexandar Richardson||Le Col||ST|
|4||4||Ben Turner||Ineos Grenadiers||+24|
|5||136||Matthew Bostock||WiV Sungod||+1:41|
|6||35||Lewis Askey||GROUPAMA – FDJ||U23||ST|
|7||98||Connor Swift||Team Arkea-Samsic||ST|
|8||26||Owain Doull MBE||EF Education – EasyPost||+1:44|
|9||2||Ethan Hayter||Ineos Grenadiers||ST|
|10||121||John Archibald||Private Member||+1:53|
|12||137||Jim Brown||WiV Sungod||U23||+4:53|
|13||69||Oliver Peckover||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||ST|
|14||24||Joe Wilson||Dolan Ellesse Race Team||U23||ST|
|15||114||Sam Culverwell||TRINITY Road Racing||U23||+4:55|
|16||150||Matthew Kingston||Zappi Racing Team||U23||ST|
|17||36||Finlay Pickering||GROUPAMA – FDJ||U23||+5:03|
|18||138||Damien Clayton||WiV Sungod||+5:09|
|19||1||Ben Swift||Ineos Grenadiers||+5:12|
|20||142||Jacob Scott||WiV Sungod||ST|
|21||75||Conor McGoldrick||Richardsons Trek DAS||ST|
|22||149||Ben Granger||Zappi Racing Team||U23||ST|
|23||67||Zeb Kyffin||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||ST|
|24||29||Jamieson Blain||Embark – Bikestrong||U23||ST|
|25||23||Jack Crook||Dolan Ellesse Race Team||+5:16|
|26||155||Cai Davies||Embark – Bikestrong||ST|
|27||59||Dan Gardner||Project 51||+5:18|
|28||7||Henry Lawton||AG2R Citroen U23 Team||U23||+5:58|
|29||76||Steven Parsonage||Richardsons Trek DAS||+6:08|
|30||43||Thomas Day||Home Solution – Soenens U23 Development CT||U23||+7:52|
|31||42||Lucas Towers||Holohan Coaching Race Team||U23||+8:41|
|33||50||Jack Freeman||Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT||+8:50|
|34||103||Josh Charlton||Team Inspired||U23||ST|
|35||129||Owain Roberts||Wales Racing Academy||U23||ST|
|36||33||Dylan Westley||Equipo Lizarte||U23||ST|
|37||166||Alexander MacRae||Private Member||ST|
|38||62||Ethan Vernon||QUICK-STEP Alpha Vinyl||U23||ST|
|39||72||Charlie Tanfield||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||ST|
|40||51||Matthew Houlberg||Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT||U23||ST|
|41||84||Tom Mazzone||Saint Piran||ST|
|42||131||William Truelove||Wales Racing Academy||U23||+8:55|
|43||85||Leon Mazzone||Saint Piran||ST|
|44||46||Marcus Burnett||Kuwait Pro Cycling Team||ST|
|46||31||David Hird||Embark – Bikestrong||U23||+9:31|
|47||74||Peter Cocker||Richardsons Trek DAS||+9:34|
|48||47||James Jobber||Kuwait Pro Cycling Team||+9:37|
|50||38||Jake Stewart||GROUPAMA – FDJ||+10:52|
|51||143||Robert Scott||WiV Sungod||ST|
|52||78||William Bjergfelt||Saint Piran||ST|
|53||44||Matthew Gibson||Human Powered Health||ST|
|54||22||Max Poole||Development Team DSM||ST|
|55||104||Robert Donaldson||Team Inspired||U23||ST|
|56||119||Oliver Rees||TRINITY Road Racing||ST|
|57||105||Joshua Giddings||Team Inspired||ST|
|58||37||Joe Pidcock||GROUPAMA – FDJ||U23||ST|
|59||34||Rhys Britton||EvoPro Racing||ST|
|60||127||Joe Holt||Wales Racing Academy||ST|
|61||16||Tyler Hannay||CC Etupes||ST|
|62||107||Jack Rootkin-Gray||Team Inspired||ST|
|63||19||Oliver Stockwell||Cycling Team Friuli ASD||ST|
|64||21||Oscar Onley||Development Team DSM||U23||ST|
|65||40||Leo Hayter||Hagens Berman Axeon||ST|
|66||15||Calum Johnston||Caja Rural – Seguros RGA||ST|
|67||110||Jacques Coates||Team PB Performance||ST|
|68||157||Dean Watson||Embark – Bikestrong||ST|
|69||94||Joe Hill||Spirit BSS||ST|
|70||141||Thomas Mein||WiV Sungod||ST|
|71||5||Callum Macleod||ABLOC CT||ST|
|72||139||Gruffudd Lewis||WiV Sungod||ST|
|73||27||James Shaw||EF Education – EasyPost||ST|
|74||12||Mark Stewart||Bolton Equities Black Spoke Pro Cycling||ST|
|75||13||Matthew Walls||BORA – Hansgrohe||ST|