Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) returned to racing after her crash at the Women’s Tour to emphatically win the British National Road Championships road race almost two minutes ahead of second place Alice Barnes (Betch.nl Superior Brentjens) and defending champion Laura Trott (Matrix Fitness), who took bronze.
The 26-year-old showed first showed how strong she was on the second of five ascents of the cobbled Michaelgate climb, splitting the peloton and chasing down three breakaway riders up front to form a small, elite lead group.
The group of ten, which contained the likes of Barnes and Trott, as well as Joanna Rowsell (Pearl Izumi), Sharon Laws (Bigla) and Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea), looked as though they would fight it out for the win, but a resolved peloton pulled them back before the final lap of the last circuit on the 107km course.
Dame Sarah Storey (Pearl-Izumi) then drove the pace into the foot of Michaelgate for the penultimate run up the climb, where Armitstead powered away in the big ring over the top and through the finish line to begin the final lap, with no-one able to follow.
The two-time champion then quickly put a minute into the reduced field behind, who quickly became resigned to settling for a fight for second place. Artmistead reached the final ascent of the cobbled climb in the centre of Lincoln with almost two minutes in hand and calmly celebrated solo across the finish line for her third national title.
Barnes and Trott pulled away from the rest of the second group with Harris and Molly Weaver (Liv-Plantur) on the climb, with last year’s champion Trott unable to pull around Barnes before the line, who took a silver and the under-23 title in her first national road race.
British National Road Championships – Elite women’s road race (107km)
1. Elizabeth Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Alice Barnes (Betch.nl Superior Brentjens), at 1-52
3. Laura Trott (Matrix Fitness), st
4. Molly Weaver (Liv-Plantur), st
5. Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea), at 2-01
Armitstead targeting World Championship success