Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will start the Tour de France in the jersey of British national champion after beating Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) in a three-way sprint in Glasgow.
Cavendish was part of a four-man group, with Millar, Stannard and Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky), which escaped on the ninth of 14 laps of a 14.2km city centre circuit.
An attack-filled final lap saw Cavendish, Millar and Stannard come to the finish together, with Kennaugh dropped, the and Manx Missile made no mistaking in dispatching his rivals.
Cavendish will now look to exchange his national champion’s jersey for the maillot jaune of the Tour de France, which starts with a sprinter-friendly stage in Corsica on Saturday.
“I’m happy because I am proud to be British and wear this jersey for the first time in my career, especially heading into the Tour de France,” said Cavendish.
Stannard and Andy Fenn (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) attacked early in the race and were soon joined by Cavendish, Millar, Kennaugh and Ben Swift (Team Sky).
The challenging circuit took in a short, steep climb and Fenn was the first rider to fall back having completed his duties for the day in setting the pattern of racing and providing a helping hand for trade team team-mate Cavendish in the break.
Swift was the next rider to be dropped, leaving the final four out front, and the quartet worked well together to keep a five-strong chasing quintent, which included Ian Wilkinson (Team UK Youth), Kristian House (Rapha Condor JLT), Scott Thwaites (NettApp-Endura), Luke Rowe (Team Sky) and Simon Yates (100% Me), at bay.
With Team Sky duo Stannard and Kennaugh outnumbering Cavendish and Millar, the latter pair united to nullify the duo’s efforts as the race entered its finale.
Millar then attacked, prompting Stannard to chase down the move and dispatching of Kennaugh in the process, before Cavendish, intent not to just sit in until the finish, made a dig of his own.
But, when Cavendish, Millar and Stannard came into the finishing straight as one, there was to be only one winner, with Millar leading out Cavendish, who recorded a fine victory to add yet another line to his palmares.
“I’m really happy with this result,” said Cavendish. “To be honest, this morning I wasn’t so sure because there were so many teams here with a lot of riders and there were only two of us here — me and Andy.
“The parcour was not so easy, really technical. Fenn was in the original breakaway with Stannard. It was a good move to put Fenn in the front so I could save myself and sit on the wheels of the chasing group and stay relaxed.
“Then when we caught Fenn and Stannard, I started riding. In the final kilometers only three of us remained and I went for the sprint. It was really, really nice.”
Earlier in the day, soloed to victory in the women’s race to regain the title she first won in 2011.
The Olympic silver medallist attacked from a four-rider group in the closing stages of a race which took in eight laps of the 14.2km circuit.
Laura Trott (Wiggle-Honda) outsprinted team-mate Dani King to secure silver – and win her the under-23 title in the process.
“It’s really special,” said Boels-Dolmans rider Armitstead. “It was one of my main goals of the season.
“I’ve had an up and down season so far so I needed a bit of a confidence boost and hopefully having the jersey on my back will help.”
Highlights of the British National Road Race Championships will be broadcast on ITV4 on Monday at 7pm.
1) Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) – 4:27.09 hours
2) Ian Stannard (Team Sky) +2″
3) David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) same time
4) Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) +42″
5) Luke Rowe (Team Sky) +6’40”
6) Kristian House (Rapha Condor JLT) +11’50”
7) Scott Thwaites (NetApp-Endura) +11’52”
8) Simon Yates (100% Me) same time
9) Ian Wilkinson (Team UK Youth) +12’15”
10) Yanto Barker (Team UK Youth) +14’55”
1) Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) – 3:12.40 hours
2) Laura Trott (Wiggle-Honda) +1’03”
3) Dani King (Wiggle-Honda) same time
4) Jo Rowsell (Wiggle-Honda) +2’58”
5) Emma Trott (Boels-Dolmans) +3’20”
6) Sharon Laws (Lotto-Belisol) +4’49”
7) Claire Thomas (Unattached) +4’52”
8) Emma Grant (Matrix Fitness) +4’54”
9) Natalie Creswick (MuleBar Girl-Sigma Sport) +5’33”
10) Elinor Barker (Wiggle-Honda) +7’29”
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