National Championships win a 'big relief' for Hannah Barnes

Frustrated by an ankle injury that altered her season's aims, Hannah Barnes's victory in the 2016 National Road Race Championships can be a catalyst for the rest of the season.

Hannah Barnes (UnitedHealthcare), Aviva Women's Tour 2015 team presentation
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Hannah Barnes hopes that her victory in the 2016 National Road Race Championships can be the springboard to further success this season and help her return to her form of last year.

The Canyon-SRAM rider beat her sister Alice (Drops Cycling) on the line in Stockton-on-Tees to claim her first win since stage five of last year's Aviva Women's Tour.

That barren stretch of form doesn't owe to a lack of form, but rather a lengthy spell on the sidelines. An ankle injury suffered last summer meant she didn't race beyond July and she only returned this April.

>>> Hannah Barnes: hungry for success

With defending and world champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) missing the Stockton event due to illness from the Aviva Women's Tour, Barnes went into the race as one of the favourites.

"It’s a big relief," she told Cycling Weekly. "I didn’t have the best preparation coming into the season and I had to refocus a lot of my goals and this was definitely one of them.

"It was realistic to target this race and go into it as one of the favourites. When Lizzie didn’t come, it left the race wide open and became realistic that I could win it."

Barnes beat her sister on the line in a disorganised finish that wasn't devoid of a few tussling tactics. "Coming into the last corner, with 300 metres to go, it was messy and it was a drag race," she added. "Thankfully it opened up, Alice started the sprint and I was able to use her as a mark."

For the younger of the Barnes sister, it is the second year that Alice has finished second but won the U23 title.

She said: "I’m really happy. It’s not bad losing to my sister. She went through quite a tough time last year with her broken ankle and she’s worked hard to get back to full fitness. Obviously I’d like to win it but I got the U23 jersey so we both have one which is nice."

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.