Dame Sarah Storey (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) secured victory in the national 25-Mile Championship in Cheshire on Saturday, clocking 56-08 for the J2/9 course near Goostrey to take the win by 45 seconds.
The 36-year-old, who also lives in Cheshire around 20 miles from the course, added the National title to the National Time Trial Series, having won three of the four rounds she has ridden and being uncatchable with the final round still to come.
Storey’s effort was measured, having 21 seconds’ lead on runner-up Hayley Simmonds (Velosport-Pasta Montegrappa), and maintaining her effort almost exactly to win by 45 seconds. Third spot went to Emily Robertson (CC Luton), another 50 seconds off the pace.
“It was great to win, although it wasn’t perhaps by the margin everybody expected me to have,” said Storey afterwards. “I’ve had a rest spell in preparation for the Para Cycling Worlds at the end of the month which is a big target for me.
“It’s good to get the gold cap, but also it was an opportunity to race tired and see what my legs were capable of. I wanted to use this as a benchmark to see how I did at 25 miles, because the Worlds is shorter.
A heavy downpour mid-race saw cars pulling over because of the spray, and Storey added: “There were a few of us in the last ten minutes of starters who contemplated stopping because it was such a storm, but I pressed on and finished.
“I’ve never won the National 10, 25 or 50, so I’m chuffed to get a CTT gold cap for the first time.
“This is my local 25 course, so I know it really well. I rode the National 50 on those roads a few years back, and I race down there all the time so I tried to remember where the pot holes were and drift round them!”
Elsewhere in the field, there was a strong ride by Bronwen Ewing, the 48-year-old Trainsharp Racing Team rider who clocked 58-14 to finish fourth and top veteran.
Meanwhile, the junior title went to London Dynamo’s 17-year-old prospect Gabriel Evans. He clocked 53-55 to take the win by 24 seconds from Ben McIntosh (Crewe Clarion Wheelers), with Joe Evans (Haribo Beacon) third, another 16 seconds off the pace.
Evans and McIntosh were dead level at half distance on 26-43, but the London Dynamo rider turned the screw to complete the second half of the course in 27-12.
First reports from the circuit had a different rider down as junior winner, but a check with the marshals noted that he had missed out some of the course.