Peter Kennaugh finally completed his collection of British Road Race Championship medals as he took the title in sunny Abergavenny this afternoon.
Kennaugh had previously placed second twice, and third as many times – including the last time the event was held in Monmouthshire – in the championships, but a perfectly-timed sprint saw him overhaul Sky team-mate with the line in sight.
Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) completed the podium in only his second race back from a collarbone fracture, while Rapha Condor-JLT’s Welsh rider Ed Laverack claimed the under-23 jersey, the second time in as many years that John Herety’s team have scooped that prize.
Luke Rowe put Sky on the front foot when he attacked with NFTO’s Jon Mould and Madison-Genesis rider Tobyn Horton early on.
Horton was dropped climbing through the Celtic Manor resort, while a chase group mobilised behind and soon joined the leading duo. That was caught, before another sizeable group formed.
From that, an eight-man breakaway jumped clear. Rowe had team-mates Edmondson, Kennaugh and Swift for company, with Simon’s twin brother Adam, Raleigh’s Mark Christian and under-23 time trial winner Scott Davies (Madison-Genesis) completing the line-up.
Davies found the going too much, before 2010 champion Geraint Thomas started his solo attempt to bridge to the leaders. Thomas had missed the split when he dropped his chain through Celtic Manor, and had to stop to fix it himself as the Sky team car was delayed in the convoy.
The lead group started to fragment on lap five (of 10) of an eight-kilometre finishing circuit around Abergavenny. Rowe forced the first split, which put Christian and Adam Yates out the back.
With a numerical advantage of four-to-one, more Sky attacks were inevitable, and Edmondson and Rowe briefly raced ahead. Once caught, Kennaugh and Swift broke clear, to which only Yates replied.
Three became two when Yates couldn’t follow the Sky duo with around 15km to go, and Kennaugh and Swift stayed together until the finish, despite the former’s efforts.
Swift looked to be in prime position to take the win on the narrow, paved run-in to the finish, but Kennaugh used his slipstream to sprint to the Yorkshireman’s right and claim the victory.
Because no rider under 23 was in the leading eight, the battle for that jersey came down to the remains of the peloton. Ed Laverack placed 13th on the day, the last rider in a seven-man group that contained Thomas, to take the prize.
British Road Race Championships 2014, men’s race, Abergavenny
1. Peter Kennaugh (Sky) 186km in 4-25-01
2. Ben Swift (Sky) at st
3. Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) at 1-09
4. Luke Rowe (Sky) at 1-38
5. Josh Edmondson (Sky) at 4-01
6. Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) at 4-39
7. Rob Partridge (Node4-Velosure) at 5-33
8. Geraint Thomas (Sky)
9. Tom Stewart (Madison-Genesis)
10. James McLaughlin (Guidon Chalettois) at same time.
1. Ed Laverack (Rapha Condor-JLT) in 4-30-54
2. Dan Pearson (Zappi’s) at 2-53
3. Dante Carpenter (Zappi’s) at 2-54
Double Olympic champion heads a Wiggle-Honda one-two with King in second; defending champion Armitstead third.
Images from the 2014 British road race national championships in Wales. Photos by Andy Jones