Ian Stannard won the British National Road Race Championships in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, on Sunday, attacking in the closing kilometres to become the third consecutive Team Sky rider to claim the title.
Stannard attacked from an earlier escape to solo to victory, with team-mate Alex Dowsett finishing second. Team Sky filled the podium in 2010 and 2011 but Russell Hampton (Raleigh-GAC) ended the WorldTour squad’s monopoly on the race by claiming third.
“It was a really tough course,” said Stannard. “I didn’t expect it to be so hard but it suited me better. I’m really happy to win.
“It’s a weird race the nationals. You have to race it from the front. The plan was always to be at the front of the race and take it on from there. So it worked out well.
“I felt comfy all day. It was quite a demanding course but I just soaked it up well. I’m really happy with the way it went. I just had a little dig on the climb and went away.
“It’s really nice to keep [the jersey] in the team. There’s been so many great riders wear it over the years. It will be really cool to ride the Classics and just race in it. That will be really special.”
Stannard was part of the decisive break which went clear on the first of three 30.4km opening laps, with Dowsett also making the move with Endura MTB’s Oli Beckingsale and Raleigh-GAC duo Hampton and Graham Briggs.
That group became three when Briggs and Beckingsale were dropped, leaving Stannard to attack on the penultimate lap of a 15.3km finishing circuit.
Stannard has been in fine form this year, completing the Giro d’Italia in May before winning the London IG Nocturne, and the 25-year-old forged ahead to establish a 45-second lead to claim victory in impressive style.
Earlier in the day, Sharon Laws, who was last week left out of the Great Britain Olympic team, won her first senior national road race title.
Laws attacked with approximately 16 miles remaining and rode solo to cross the line more than one and a half minutes ahead of AA Drink-leontien.nl team-mates Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley.
The 37-year-old Law was initially part of a six-strong shortlist for the women’s Olympic road race team but was cut from the squad with new under-23 national champion Katie Colclough, with Armitstead, Pooley, Nicole Cooke and Lucy Martin to contest the race on July 29.
British National Road Race Championships – men’s result
1) Ian Stannard (Team Sky)
2) Alex Dowsett (Team Sky)
3) Russell Hampton (Raleigh-GAC)
4) Ben Swift (Team Sky)
5) Jeremy Hunt (Team Sky)
British National Road Race Championships – women’s result
1) Sharon Laws (AA Drink-leontin.nl)
2) Lizzie Armitstead (AA Drink-leontin.nl)
3) Emma Pooley (AA Drink-leontin.nl)
4) Nikki Harris (Young Telenet)
5) Sarah Storey (Escentual for Viored)