Features Reports

2022 National Road Race Championships: race report and results

Alice Towers took a remarkable solo victory while Mark Cavendish prevailed in the men's race after a swashbuckling display

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.

Reports

Women’s race

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.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 26/06/2022 – British Cycling – National Road Championships – Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland –

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.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 26/06/2022 – British Cycling – National Road Championships – Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland –

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.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 26/06/2022 – British Cycling – National Road Championships – Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland –

Holden took fourth, with Backstedt pipping Stuart for fifth.

Men’s race

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.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 26/06/2022 – British Cycling – National Road Championships – Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland –

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.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 26/06/2022 – British Cycling – National Road Championships – Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland –

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. 

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 26/06/2022 – British Cycling – National Road Championships – Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland – Mark Cavendish of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team celebrates winning the Elite Men’s Road Race.

Results

Women’s Race

Position#NameTeamCategoryTime
154Alice TowersLe Col – WahooU233:28:02
21Pfeiffer GeorgiTeam DSMU23+1:13
3109Anna HendersonTeam Jumbo-VismaST
450Elizabeth HoldenLe Col – Wahoo+1:16
5121Elynor BackstedtTREK – SEGAFREDOU23+1:21
640Sammie StuartCAMS-Basso+1:25
741Alice BarnesCANYON – SRAM RACING+2:45
851Eluned KingLe Col – WahooU23+2:46
945Abi SmithEF Education-TIBCO-SVBU23ST
1083Dannielle KhanSolihull CCST
1153April TaceyLe Col – WahooU23ST
1248Beth Harley-JepsonJadan – Vive le VeloST
137Kate RichardsonAlba Development Road TeamU23ST
1484Claire SteelsSopela Women’s TeamST
1565Millie CouzensPlantur-PuraU23ST
1652Flora PerkinsLe Col – WahooU23ST
1736Beth MorrowCAMS-BassoU23ST
18103Monica GreenwoodTeam BoompodsST
1964Robyn ClayOtley CCU23ST
2025Alice McWilliamBIANCHI HUNT MORVELOST
2133Jessica FinneyCAMS-BassoST
2288Amira MellorSpectra Wiggle p/b VitusST
23116Anna ShackleyTeam SD WorxU23+ 2:52
2426Tamsin MillerBIANCHI HUNT MORVELOST
2530Jessie CarridgeBrother UK-Orientation MarketingST
2668Bexy DewPro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes p/b Heidi KjeldsenST
2738Danielle ShrosbreeCAMS-BassoST
282Sophie EneverAlba Development Road TeamST
2974Jo TindleyPro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes p/b Heidi Kjeldsen+ 2:54
3069Lucy EllmorePro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes p/b Heidi KjeldsenU23ST
3191Natalie GrinczerStade Rochelias Charente-MaritimeST
3216Emily MeakinAWOL- O’Shea+ 2:57
33122Savannah MorganST
3497Lucy GaddStorey RacingU23+ 3:00
354Sophie LankfordAlba Development Road Team+ 7:55
3621Lydia WattsAWOL Worx GalliardU23ST
37110Sian BotteleyTeam LDN – Brother UKST
389Olivia BentAWOL- O’SheaU23+ 7:57
39107Mary WilkinsonTeam BoompodsST
4020Libby SmithsonAWOL Worx GalliardU23ST
4189Madeleine NuttSpectra Wiggle p/b VitusST
4287Samantha FawcettSpectra Wiggle p/b VitusST
4394Miriam JessettStolenGoat Race TeamST
44105Louise HartTeam BoompodsST
4586Xan CreesSpectra Wiggle p/b VitusU23ST
46123Rebecca SaundersonStudio VeloU23ST
4799Dame Sarah StoreyStorey RacingST
4879Gwenno HughesSaint Piran WRTST
4995Erin AvillStorey RacingST
5066Emma MatthewsCAMS-BassoST
5110Charlotte BroughtonAWOL- O’SheaST
5217Francesca Morgans-SladerAWOL- O’SheaST
53117Jenny HollTEKKERZ CCST

Men’s Race

Position#NameTeamCategoryTime
160Mark Cavendish MBEQUICK-STEP  Alpha Vinyl4:31:06
239Samuel WatsonGROUPAMA – FDJU23ST
348Alexandar RichardsonLe ColST
44Ben TurnerIneos Grenadiers+24
5136Matthew BostockWiV Sungod+1:41
635Lewis AskeyGROUPAMA – FDJU23ST
798Connor SwiftTeam Arkea-SamsicST
826Owain Doull MBEEF Education – EasyPost+1:44
92Ethan HayterIneos GrenadiersST
10121John ArchibaldPrivate Member+1:53
118Scott ThwaitesAlpecin-Fenix+2:56
12137Jim BrownWiV SungodU23+4:53
1369Oliver PeckoverRibble Weldtite Pro CyclingST
1424Joe WilsonDolan Ellesse Race TeamU23ST
15114Sam CulverwellTRINITY Road RacingU23+4:55
16150Matthew KingstonZappi Racing TeamU23ST
1736Finlay PickeringGROUPAMA – FDJU23+5:03
18138Damien ClaytonWiV Sungod+5:09
191Ben SwiftIneos Grenadiers+5:12
20142Jacob ScottWiV SungodST
2175Conor McGoldrickRichardsons Trek DASST
22149Ben GrangerZappi Racing TeamU23ST
2367Zeb KyffinRibble Weldtite Pro CyclingST
2429Jamieson BlainEmbark – BikestrongU23ST
2523Jack CrookDolan Ellesse Race Team+5:16
26155Cai DaviesEmbark – BikestrongST
2759Dan GardnerProject 51+5:18
287Henry LawtonAG2R Citroen U23 TeamU23+5:58
2976Steven ParsonageRichardsons Trek DAS+6:08
3043Thomas DayHome Solution – Soenens U23 Development CTU23+7:52
3142Lucas TowersHolohan Coaching Race TeamU23+8:41
3258Jordan GilesPrimera-TeamJobs+8:49
3350Jack FreemanMeudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT+8:50
34103Josh CharltonTeam InspiredU23ST
35129Owain RobertsWales Racing AcademyU23ST
3633Dylan WestleyEquipo LizarteU23ST
37166Alexander MacRaePrivate MemberST
3862Ethan VernonQUICK-STEP  Alpha VinylU23ST
3972Charlie TanfieldRibble Weldtite Pro CyclingST
4051Matthew HoulbergMeudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RTU23ST
4184Tom MazzoneSaint PiranST
42131William TrueloveWales Racing AcademyU23+8:55
4385Leon MazzoneSaint PiranST
4446Marcus BurnettKuwait Pro Cycling TeamST
456Max RushbyAcrog-TormansU23+9:04
4631David HirdEmbark – BikestrongU23+9:31
4774Peter CockerRichardsons Trek DAS+9:34
4847James JobberKuwait Pro Cycling Team+9:37
49153Nicholas TyriePrimera-TeamJobsST
5038Jake StewartGROUPAMA – FDJ+10:52
51143Robert ScottWiV SungodST
5278William BjergfeltSaint PiranST
5344Matthew GibsonHuman Powered HealthST
5422Max PooleDevelopment Team DSMST
55104Robert DonaldsonTeam InspiredU23ST
56119Oliver ReesTRINITY Road RacingST
57105Joshua GiddingsTeam InspiredST
5837Joe PidcockGROUPAMA – FDJU23ST
5934Rhys BrittonEvoPro RacingST
60127Joe HoltWales Racing AcademyST
6116Tyler HannayCC EtupesST
62107Jack Rootkin-GrayTeam InspiredST
6319Oliver StockwellCycling Team Friuli ASDST
6421Oscar OnleyDevelopment Team DSMU23ST
6540Leo HayterHagens Berman AxeonST
6615Calum JohnstonCaja Rural – Seguros RGAST
67110Jacques CoatesTeam PB PerformanceST
68157Dean WatsonEmbark – Bikestrong ST
6994Joe HillSpirit BSSST
70141Thomas MeinWiV SungodST
715Callum MacleodABLOC CTST
72139Gruffudd LewisWiV SungodST
7327James ShawEF Education – EasyPostST
7412Mark StewartBolton Equities Black Spoke Pro CyclingST
7513Matthew WallsBORA – HansgroheST