Boels-Dolmans rider goes solo in final five kilometres as Archibald takes silver
Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) took her fourth British national road race title with a late attack from an elite group on the Isle of Man.
Deignan had spent most of the race in chasing groups with the final third of the race seeing a brave solo effort from Elinor Barker (Matrix Pro Cycling) who was only caught with five kilometres remaining.
Deignan, who has previously been national champion in 2011,2013, and 2015, seemed frustrated in a seven-rider chasing group which was unable to close Barker down in the final laps of the finishing circuit in Douglas.
With the gap still at 40 seconds with two 6.7km laps remaining, Deignan went on the counter-attack, going clear at the second time of asking with Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) and Katie Archibald (Team WNT).
That trio quickly made in-roads into Barker’s lead, eventually catching her with around five kilometres remaining.
However Deignan was once again in no mood for sticking around, and as soon as Barker was caught went straight on the attack in what would prove the decisive move of the race.
Her solo effort held to the finish to give her a fourth national road race title, Archibald out-sprinted defending champion Barnes for silver.
How it happened
79 riders rolled off the start line in Douglas for the 103.7km race, taking in one long lap of the famous Mountain Course circuit before six laps of a 7.2km shorter circuit back in Douglas.
The first attack of the day came from Paralympic silver medallist Crystal Lane-Wright (Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire) but she was quickly caught before Chanel Mason (Storey Racing) made a more successful move.
Mason quickly established a gap of nearly a minute, before being joined by a chasing group of Manon Lloyd (Team Breeze), Hannah Walker (Team WNT), and Lucy Shaw (Drops).
However it was all change on the Snaefell Mountain climb. While Lloyd went solo from the lead group, a number of pre-race favourites attacked out of the peloton. Elinor Barker (Matrix Pro Cycling) and under-23 time trial champion Anna Christian (Drops) bridged across to Lloyd, while an elite chasing group including Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) and defending champion Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM).
As they started the six laps of the finishing circuit in Douglas, the gap between the two group was 23 seconds, while the peloton was out of contention at more than two minutes down.
With such strong riders in the group behind, Barker clearly wasn’t in the mood for waiting around, attacking and going solo with 35km remaining.
While Lloyd and Christian were caught by the chasers, Barker looked strong, increasing her gap out towards a minute at one point as Deignan started to look frustrated at the lack of cooperation in the chasing group.
In no mood to drag other riders to the finish, Deignan launched a couple of counter-attacks out of the chasing group, going clear at the second attempt with Barnes and Katie Archibald (Team WNT) in her wheel.
That trio slowly started to reel in the tiring Barker, and as they began the final 6.7km lap, the gap was down to just 15 seconds, the catch finally being made just a couple of kilometres later.
No sooner had the catch been made than Deignan was on the move again, going straight over the top and quickly pulling out a decent lead over her rivals.
While Barker was dropped, Barnes and Archibald tried to give chase. However Deignan was just too strong, crossing the line with her arms aloft to celebrate a fourth national road race title.
British Road National Championships, women’s road race: Douglas to Douglas (103.7km)
1. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Boels-Dolmans, in 2-44-18
2. Katie Archibald (GBr) Team WNT, at 14 secs
3. Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-SRAM, at same time
4. Elinor Barker (GBr) Matrix Pro Cycling, at 17 secs
5. Melissa Lowther (GBr) Team Breeze, at 1-28 (under-23 champion)
6. Neah Evans (GBr) Storey Racing
7. Manon Lloyd (GBr) Team Breeze (under-23 second place)
8. Hayley Simmonds (GBr) Team WNT
9. Anna Christian (GBr) Drops, all at same time (under-23 third place)
10. Eleanor Dickinson (GBr) Team Breeze, at 8-34