Hayley Simmonds, the woman who has dominated the British time trialling scene since 2014, has expressed her disappointment at not defending her national time trial crown
In the women’s British Road National Championships time trial in a gusty, overcast Isle of Man on Thursday lunchtime, pre-race favourite Simmonds (Team WNT) finished 28 seconds adrift of winner Claire Rose (Visit Dallas DNA) and four seconds of shy of her teammate Katie Archibald in third. Hannah Barnes (Canyon-Sram) finished second, meaning that Simmonds missed out on a podium spot.
The Cambridge University graduate was aiming to become the first ever female to win three consecutive national time trial titles, and she was pleased with how she rode around the lumpy 22.2km course, but she was unable to match the efforts of her challengers.
“It’s a tough one,” the 28-year-old told Cycling Weekly. “I have mixed feelings because I felt that I rode pretty well. I rode better than the two practice runs I have done over the past week and the power has been up on where it has been.
“So I am quite pleased with the ride but obviously disappointed that it didn’t end with a better result.
“It’s hard. Looking at past results, Wendy Houvenaghel and Emma Pooley, neither of them have ever won three [national TTs] in a row. It’s tough to do, but I will come back next year and try and get it back.”
Simmonds, however, was eager to reserve praise for Rose who improved on her second place from last year. “I’m really pleased for Claire because she is someone else who has really focused on the time trial,” she added.
“She’s always been strong in a time trial and she is someone who in the last couple of years, and even this one, people have overlooked a little bit, even though she was second last year. She was always going to be tough competition.”
Rose herself was delighted with her success, which comes on the back of racing in North America.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It’s been two years of hard work and after last year I really wanted it. It means everything,” she said.
“It was always going to be tough – there are some really strong girls here – so I am really pleased.”
Rose is now targeting selection for this year’s World Championships time trial in Bergen, Norway, as well as next April’s Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia.
“I’m off back to the US to do a few stage races and then back to Europe and hopefully looking to go to the Worlds and Commonwealths next year,” Rose said.
“You have to show that you have that form in the late part of the season. I’ve looked at maps and profiles [of the Worlds course] and it’s another fairly lumpy course; it would definitely play to me strengths.”