Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is the new British time trial champion, ending the three-year reign of Alex Dowsett (Movistar) thanks to a stunning ride at Celtic Manor.
Olympic champion Wiggins was more than a minute faster than second-placed Geraint Thomas, his Team Sky team-mate, making light work of the 26-mile hilly course to post an unassailable time of 53:56.
The 34-year-old was already clear leader over the first lap of the undulating circuit, reaching the intermediate time check more than a minute faster than Dowsett later managed.
Wiggins, who does not expect to defend the jersey next season, believes it was a nice way to kick-off his final national championships.
He said: “This is probably my last British time trial championship so to win it and perhaps never come back again is a nice way to end it, and add it to the Olympic title and try and win the worlds at the end of the year.”
Of the early starters in the men’s race, Russell Hampton (Cloud Nine Telecom) was the first to break the one-hour mark, though Team Raleigh’s Mark Christian quickly took time off, setting a benchmark of 58:12.
James McLaughlin (Team Sojasun) and Luke Rowe (Team Sky) – the latter courtesy of a storming second lap – brought that down further but it was quickly apparent the big-name riders would be the men competing for the red, white and blue stripes.
Geraint Thomas (27:07) smashed the fastest lap time, overtaking his two-minute man David Millar, the Commonwealth Games champion unable to finish what will be his last national time trial before retirement.
Post-man Matthew Bottrill (www.drag2zero.com), the surprise runner-up in 2013, set a first lap time of 28:51, before Wiggins set a time of 26.29.
Dowsett had already lost more than a minute by the first time split, crossing third fastest in the day, but with road conditions worsening in the dark, wet Welsh evening it was by no means a formality.
Geraint Thomas’ time of 55.04 briefly put him in the lead, but no sooner had he stepped off his bike than Wiggins crossed with what proved to be a race-winning effort.
Dowsett could only finish in 55.17, meaning his three-year hold of the prestigious jersey comes to an end – with the Essex rider missing the opportunity to showcase it at the Tour de France next month.
Earlier in the day, former world champion Emma Pooley gave a stunning reminder of her time-trialling ability – taking advantage of drier course conditions to win the women’s title.
Pooley, representing VC Norwich but riding in her Lotto-Belisol colours, set an average speed of more than 41.5km/h over the single lap of the course – her time of 30:18 some 39 seconds faster than any other rider.
Scottish star Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) added to her rising stock by taking second, while team-mate Dame Sarah Storey rounded off the podium.
The day belonged to Pooley, however, who was simply unparalleled on the undulating course.
Amy Roberts (Wiggle-Honda) was the first rider out, setting a time of 33:19, before Lucy Coldwell (Velosport-Pasta Montegrappa) earned a long stint in the winner’s enclosure.
The Scottish National 10 Mile TT champion’s time of 31:43 was unchallenged for a long time as many riders came and went.
However, 31-year-old Pooley destroyed the mark thanks to a stunning effort – crossing the finishing line just before the first rain of the day started to fall.
Elinor Barker (Wiggle-Honda) – the 2012 junior world time trial champion – took the provisional second place in 31:22.
Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International duo Archibald and Storey ensured there would be no place for any of Wiggle Honda’s track aces on the podium however.
Laura Trott (31:27) and defending champion Joanna Rowsell (31:41) could not get near Pooley’s mark, while Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) opted not to take the start so as to rest ahead of Sunday’s road race.
It means a third British time trial title for Pooley – just one behind record-holder Wendy Houvenaghel.
She said: “It’s been quite a few years since I’ve ridden the national championships so actually I think every time I’ve ridden it, I’ve won it! It’s really special because it’s quite a while since I’ve won a race.
“I try to not think about the other riders in a time-trial. I can’t affect how they ride and all you can do is do your best and if someone’s quicker, then good on them.
“I think Katie Archibald did an awesome ride. I’m really impressed – she’s quite a talent.”
Another rider celebrating was Scott Davies (Madison-Genesis), the Welshmen scooping the men’s under-23 title in his home country, ahead of compatriot Owain Doull (An Post-Chain Reaction).
The 18-year-old crossed in 27:45, the only rider to go quicker than 28 minutes, with Doull – who started as favourite – finishing 20 seconds down as the two prepare to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games.
Dan McLay (Lotto-Belisol U23) took the bronze medal, posting a time of 28:44.
On his victory, Davies admitted: “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet but I’m over the moon. I knew I had a chance but I didn’t expect to get the better of Owain.
“I think going into it I considered him the favourite. He had the form and I know he’s a good time-triallist. I think to win it from such strong competition means a lot to me.”
British national time trial championships 2014 – elite men’s result
1) Sir Bradley Wiggins – Team Sky – 53.56
2) Geraint Thomas – Team Sky +1.08
3) Alex Dowsett – Movistar +1.21
4) Luke Rowe – Team Sky +2.59
5) James McLaughlin – Team Sojasun +3.20
6) Matthew Bottrill – www.drag2zero.com +4.07
7) Mark Christian – Team Raleigh +4.16
8) Russell Hampton – Cloud Nine Telecom +5.19
9) Joe Perett – Team Raleigh +5.33
10) Gruff Lewis – Pedal Heaven-Colbornes +6.15
Elite women’s result
1) Emma Pooley – Lotto-Belisol Ladies – 30.18
2) Katie Archibald – Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International +39″
3) Dame Sarah Storey – Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International +51″
4) Elinor Barker – Wiggle-Honda +1.04
5) Laura Trott – Wiggle-Honda +1.09
6) Joanna Rowsell – Wiggle-Honda +1.23
7) Lucy Coldwell – Velosport-Pasta Montegrappa +1.25
8) Dani King – Wiggle-Honda +2.10
9) Emily Robertson – Glendene CC +2.48
10) Claire Galloway – Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International +2.53
Men’s under-23 result
1) Scott Davies – Madison-Genesis – 27.45
2) Owain Doull – An Post-Chain Reaction +24″
3) Daniel McLay – Lotto-Belisol U23 +59″
4) Hugh Carthy – Rapha Condor-JLT +1.13
5) Harry Tanfield – KTM road-and-trail.com – ST
6) Lawrence Carpenter – Catford CC Equipe +1.16
7) Alex Peters – Madison-Genesis +1.20
8) Sam Williams – NFTO Pro Cycling +1.29
9) Alex Royle – BH-Solidor-WAM Youth +1.33
10) Zach May – Metaltek KUOTA RT +1.38