Best of British cycling advent calendar: #11

Hayley Simmonds' superb performance at the National Championships in June is behind door 11 of our best of British cycling advent calendar

Hayley Simmonds only took up cycling competitively in 2009 and, as she is currently studying for a PhD in experimental chemistry at the University of Cambridge, still has to divide her time between her academic pursuits and training.

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But, despite this, she has still managed to become Britain’s top female time triallist and national time trial champion.

Simmonds (Velosport Montegrappa) turned in an imperious performance at the National Championships Women’s Elite Time Trial in June to take her first national title, beating her nearest rivals Molly Weaver (Liv-Plantur) by 1:18.29 and Dame Sarah Storey (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) by 1:20.72.

The Liv-Plantur rider completed the 33.6km course around Lincoln in 51:39.89, taking pole position from then-leader Ciara Horne (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International), who eventually finished in fifth place, 1:58.42 in arrears, with none of the riders who followed her able to get within 60 seconds of Simmonds’ time.

After the race, Simmonds told Cycling Weekly: “I was overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure what was going on. That night I hung the jersey on a coat hanger on the side of the cupboard door in my room, so when I woke up the next morning it would be there to remind me.”