By Nigel Wynn
British road race National Championships 2012 photo gallery by Andy Jones>>
Ian Stannard won the men's British road race national title on Sunday in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, on Sunday.
Stannard (Sky) made the winning move from an earlier escape group to take a fine solo win - and the third consecutive British national title holder to come from the Sky team.
Alex Dowsett (Sky) finished in second, with Russell Hampton (Raleigh-GAC) putting in a strong ride to complete the podium. Ben Swift and Jeremy Hunt in fourth and fifth gave Sky four riders in the top five.
Mike Cuming (Rapha Condor Sharp) took the under-23 men's title.
The day's action was kicked off in earnest by a five-man escape group consisting of Dowsett, Stannard (both Sky), Hampton, Graham Briggs (both Raleigh-GAC) and Oli Beckingsale (Endura MTB).
Dowsett and Briggs instigated the break, and were joined by mountain biker Beckingsale. The trio struck out for a while, before almost being caught. However, as the bunch neared, Stannard and Hampton bridged across and breathed new life into their efforts.
The quintet then forged ahead, pushing their advantage over the bunch to seven minutes at one point. Endura took up the pace-setting of the bunch, and the time gap started to dwindle, going back down to just a couple of minutes.
First Beckingsale and then Briggs were dropped from the lead group, leaving Dowsett, Stannard and Hampton. Behind, the bunch started losing its momentum, perhaps sensing that the leaders were determined to stay away.
By the final lap of the finishing circuit, the trio of escapees had pushed the time gap back up to nearly seven minutes. Peter Williams (Node4-Giordana) attempted to chase the leaders solo, but the winner was now going to come from one of the three escapees.
Stannard attacked in final 20 miles, with Hampton in pursuit as Dowsett temporarily dropped back but then regained contact. Behind them, Ben Swift (Sky) had bridged up to Williams to form a chasing duo.
As Stannard hit the final 15.3km finishing lap of six, he had gained a 45-second lead over Hampton and Dowsett and his win was sealed.
Earlier in the day Sharon Laws won the women's national title ahead of Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley.
British road race National Championship 2012, 183km
1. Ian Stannard (Sky)
2. Alex Dowsett (Sky) at 1-14
3. Russell Hampton (Raleigh-GAC) at same time
4. Ben Swift (Sky) at 7-45
5. Jeremy Hunt (Sky) at 7-59
6. David Clarke (Node4-Giordana)
7. Luke Rowe (Sky) at same time
8. Jonathan McEvoy (Endura) at 8-02
9. Simon Richardson (IG-Sigma Sport) at 8-05
10. Michael Cuming (Rapha Condor Sharp) at 8-07
1. Michael Cuming (Rapha Condor Sharp)
Alex Dowsett, Ian Stannard and Russell Hampton in lead
Peter Williams and Ben Swift chase the escape
Ian Stannard wins
Ian Stannard at the finish
Dowsett, Stannard and Hampton on the podium
British road race National Championships 2012 photo gallery by Andy Jones
Ian Stannard: Rider Profile
Sharon Laws wins national road race title
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