Dan Evans becomes national hill-climb champion for second time; Joscelin Lowden takes maiden women's title

Dan Evans and Joscelin Lowden powered to victory at the 2017 RTTC National Hill-Climb Championships in Hedley-on-the-Hill, Northumberland - Photos by Andy Jones

Dan Evans and Joscelin Lowden, 2017 National Hill-Climb winners
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Dan Evans (Assos-Equipe UK) stormed to a convincing victory in the 2017 National Hill-Climb Championships in Northumberland on Sunday, beating defending champion Adam Kenway (Raleigh-GAC) by more than five seconds.

Joscelin Lowden (Lewis Wanderers) claimed the women's title, just over a second faster than Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire RC) and two seconds quicker than pre-race favourite Hayley Simmonds (Team WNT).

Dan Evans
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

The 1,572m course, which averages 7.5 per cent, was completed in 3-54.3 by Evans, seven hundredth seconds inside his target. His win, allied to his 2014 title, makes him the first rider since Dan Fleeman in 2009 and 2010 to win multiple titles in the discipline.

>>> Dan Evans’s super-slimmed down Cannondale hill-climb bike

A bitterly cold but bright day in Northumberland saw hundreds line the twisting course, and they watched as Kieran Savage (Team B38/Underpin Racing) rode to third, Joe Clark (Sheffield Giant) to fourth and Leon Wright (Race Hub) to fifth.

"In 2014, it didn't really hit me what I had done when I won it," Evans, 36, told Cycling Weekly. "This feels different. The [hill-climb] scene has got bigger. I appreciate it a bit more now that I have had two years of not winning it, but coming close, especially in 2015 [when he finished second to Richard Bussell].

"We had all the best guys here today: Adam, Joe, Kieran, Andy Cunningham. To win it like I have today I am really happy."

The climb - which was decorated with chalk markings encouraging riders to "smile" but then also reminding them that "yes, it hurts" - ramped up to its steepest sections at the mid-way mark, when a left turn was followed by a hairpin bend.

>>> ‘I wasn’t really going for it’: Hill climber’s huge power completely destroys crankset

It was before the toughest gradients where Evans believes he put the most time into Kenway and his rivals. "I think I probably won it from the start to the first hairpin," he reflected.

"That's where I put a lot of time into everyone. What I can do different to a lot of the guys is that I can go really fast at first and not pay for it too much; I can hang on and maintain myself."

Joscelin Lowden
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

With defending women's champion Lou Bates not racing, there was always going to be a new female champion. Many expected Simmonds to conquer the hill, but it was Lowden who was the quickest, ending only her second season of racing in national glory.

"I knew that if I put in a really good ride, I would be in with a really good chance of winning it," she said. I knew it was going to be really tough competition. There were loads of girls doing so well in the run-up, that if I didn't win it, it would be because I was properly beaten. I'm pleased.

"I thought I would get ten seconds faster, to be honest. But I obviously completely overestimated it."

Dan Evans topped the men's podium
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Joscelin Lowden on top of the women's podium
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Adam Kenway
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Kieran Savage
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Mary Wilkinson
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Hayley Simmonds
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Fan support
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.