Bradley Wiggins fine-tuned his Tour de France preparations by winning his first National Road Race Championship title in Northumberland as defending champion Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh completed a Team Sky 1-2-3.
Wiggins heads to the Tour’s Grand Depart in superb form having won the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race earlier this month before completing a high-altitude training camp in Sestriere, Italy.
The 31-year-old, who is also British time trial champion, will wear the national champion’s jersey on all 21 stages of the 2011 Tour.
Wiggins formed part of a 12-man break, which included 2009 champion Kristian House, in the 122-mile race before the three-time Olympic track champion, Thomas and Kennaugh split the group.
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and Alex Dowsett (Team Sky) were among the big-name casualties to withdraw from the race before Wiggins made a solo bid for the line on the final lap to win by 35 seconds, with Thomas outsprinting Kennaugh for second.
Meanwhile, Lizzie Armitstead upgraded silver to gold in the women’s race, outsprinting ten-time champion Nicole Cooke to take the honours.
The 22-year-old world team pursuit gold medallist finished second in both 2009 and 2010 but finally claimed top honours as Olympic road race champion Cooke was forced to settle for second ahead of Sharon Laws.
“Finally, thank God. I’ve been getting too many silvers,” said Garmin-Cervelo rider Armitstead after the 64-mile race.
“It was anybody’s race. Emma and Sharon were attacking and Nicole did a lot of chasing. Sharon went with 250 metres to go and I was planning to go with 200 left. It was a long sprint but felt good.”
Men’s top ten
|1||Bradley||Wiggins||Sky Pro Cycling||Elite||04:41:08|
|2||Geraint||Thomas||Sky Pro Cycling||Elite||35|
|3||Peter||Kennaugh||Sky Pro Cycling||Elite||st|
|4||Ian||Stannard||Sky Pro Cycling||Elite||05:41|
|5||Ian||Bibby||Motorpoint Pro Cycling||Elite||08:02|
|6||Kristian||House||Rapha Condor Sharp||Elite||08:05|
|7||Ben||Swift||Sky Pro Cycling||Elite||08:13|
|8||Yanto||Barker||Pendragon – Le Col – Colnago||Elite||08:20|