Feature: 2016 British Road Race Championships


Hannah Barnes, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Alice Barnes and Adam Blythe are the 2016 Road Race Champions from the Stockton on Tees British Road Race Championships

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Feature: 2016 British Road Race Championships

Hannah Barnes, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Alice Barnes and Adam Blythe are the 2016 Road Race Champions from the Stockton on Tees British Road Race Championships



The picture says it all – Adam Blythe is delighted to win the British RR Championship, beating a legendary sprinter in Mark Cavendish in the process.

A field of 139 riders started the mens’s race and what an active race it was from the moment they crossed the zero kilometre marker and the lead car pulled way.


The peloton rolls out of Stockton

After getting images of that moment, the first sighting of the race for me was at Whitton where time trial champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar) was clear and spending a good spell off the front before being caught by a chase group.

Whilst I waited for the race to get images, race radio was non stop talking of breaks going clear; three riders, then five riders, then eight riders etc etc. And whilst the moves off the front kept the pace high on what was regarded as a flat circuit, (no lumps was how Cav described it to the crowd at the start), at the back of the peloton, more and more riders were being gapped never to return to the race.

After a lot of the race had passed, and some promising moves coming to nothing, four riders got clear. They escaped a group that had formed when a break was caught by a chase group, something that was to mirror what was to happen later in the race but only after an edge of the seat chase for many many laps.


Zero K has passed and the attacks begin

The four were Adam Blythe, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Alex Peters and Tom Moses. Behind, there were many a favourite including Cavendish, McNally and others but despite the lead of the quartet out front never more than a minute and half, sometimes as little as 20 seconds, the chasers took forever to catch them. When they did, Peters and Geoghegan Hart went again and prolonged the chase.

It was a good move but more attacks and more hard chasing saw not only the lead group shed riders but also catch the two youngsters as the rain started to make its presence felt. It was going to be a sprint and what a sprint it was. Down the left side of the road came two of the fastest riders in the world peloton, Cavendish and Blythe and it was them that battled for the win with Blythe getting the verdict.


Cavendish and Blythe go elbow to elbow for the line

Behind, Andy Fenn, no slouch in a sprint either, was third and Mark McNally fourth. It had been one of the best championships for many a year and that was down to the riders who made it a fantastic spectacle for us at the race and those watching on TV.

In the Under 23 classification, it was a first senior title for Tao Geoghegan Hart from Chris Lawless and James Shaw.

Blythe said afterwards I’m so chuffed – it feels great to have won the jersey. It was a long day really, from 70km out there were four of us tapping through and when we entered the circuit the gap wasn’t that big. After it came back together behind I just sat in and saved what I could for the sprint. I never knew I was going to get it but I never thought I wouldn’t as well, I just gave it my all and crossed the line first. Not having any teammates in the race meant it was all about selecting the right move. The circuit wasn’t too difficult so it was all about timing, only attacking when it was worth attacking.


Alex Dowsett on the attack early on and in the action all day


Dowsett is then caught and seen behind chasing this group with Tom Moses, James Shaw and Dexter Gardias (Pedal Heaven)


Bigger front group forms led by Steve Lampier and ….


… chased by Mark Cavendish and Jonny McEvoy


A lead group with some names such as Bythe in it chased by a bigger group with even more names such as Cav in it.


But after they came together and the attacks continued, four leaders then established the days break – Adam Blythe, Tom Moses, Alex Peters and Tao Geoghegan Hart


The chase was full on and saw the group splitting and losing riders and wonder with names like these giving it some at the front …


Even big guns like Cavendish were chasing the splits in the chase group


What was left of the chase group on the finishing circuit led by Dexter Gardias (Pedal Heaven), Dale Appleby and Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis). And Cav of course.


Alex Peters going for it through the finish area chased by Tao


Under 23 podium, Chris Lawless, Tao Geoghegan Hart and James Shaw


Mark Cavendish, Adam Blythe and Andy Fenn



A delighted Hannah Barnes wins the title with a happy looking sister Alice in second place and Lucy Garner third.

The first race of the day, setting off from Stockton on Tees at 9am, was the Women’s title race over 100 kilometres or so. The Drops women’s team stamped their impression on the race from the word go and Jennifer George had a go before Sarah Storey started what was the winning move.

The paralympic legend was out on her own for a long time, opening a big gap and thoughts turned to her staying away and catching her rivals out. That wasn’t to be because within the space of a few minutes on the toughest part of the circuit after a few of the big circuits, most of the favourites put their foot down and the race split to pieces.

A group of around a dozen riders with the likes of Barnes, Nikki Harris, Dani King and others soon combined to catch Storey. Their lead did not get out of hand though as the chase behind saw them pegged around a minute for a long time. As Storey was dropped and then regained the group, the chasers were still in the game as the leaders started their final laps of the seven kilometre finishing circuit.

There were a few digs but no-one was going to escape the bunch kick and as they came into view, it was Alice Barnes of Drops Cycling who had opened the sprint up and then who should come off her wheel to take the victory but her sister Hannah as a proud family watched from the other side of the barriers. There was consolation for Alice, who for the second year was second in the main race (last year behind Lizzie Armitstead) but first Under 23.

Hannah said afterwards “On the final finish circuits I attacked with 5km to go. Mostly it was out of frustration because there wasn’t really anyone doing anything at that point and they gave me a gap so I tried it. I also wanted to test my legs.”

Barnes was confident in the breakaway that she was the fastest though. “It was mine to lose. With me being in that bunch, I thought that I had a really good chance if it would be kept to a sprint. Harris led the group into the final sprint, Alice (Barnes) went early and I used her and then came around. It’s my first elite road title and I was really happy when I crossed the line.”

Videos (see more here)

Hannah Barnes

Alice Barnes

Lucy Garner



The race rolls out of Stockton on Tees


The Drops team’s Jennifer George on the attack


A lap later though and it’s Sarah Storey off the front at the same place on the circuit


The bunch led by Hannah Barnes not yet serious with the chase.


But that changed in the space of a few minutes when an elite group escaped


Jessie Walker chases at the head of the first of two splits in the peloton


Two of the worlds best, Dani King and Nikki Harris lead the break


Dani King tries a cheeky move as the leaders leave the big circuit to head to Stockton


The lead group led by Annasley Park and the girls from Drops cycling


Alice Barnes opens the sprint but Hannah Barnes can see the stripes looming large and starts her sprint


Alice Barnes is first to get the champagne flowing for the Under 23 women’s celebration


Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes and Lucy Garner – 2-1-3 in the women’s race.




1 Hannah Barnes Canyon – SRAM 02:35:24
2 Alice Barnes Drops Cycling Team U23
3 Lucy Garner Wiggle High5 U23
4 Danielle King Wiggle High5
5 Jennifer George Drops Cycling Team
6 Nikki Harris Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
7 Molly Weaver Liv-Plantur U23
8 Lucy Shaw Drops Cycling Team U23
9 Neah Evans Glasgow Whlrs
10 Annasley Park Team Breeze U23
11 Claire Rose Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa @16SEC
12 Dame Sarah Storey Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
13 Bethany Crumpton Boot Out Breast Cancer C.C U23 @19SEC
14 Rebecca Durrell Drops Cycling Team @35SEC
15 Rebecca Womersley Drops Cycling Team
16 Elizabeth-Jane Harris Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
17 Keira McVitty Team WNT U23
18 Eileen Roe Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team
19 Rose Osborne Drops Cycling Team
20 Laura Massey Drops Cycling Team
21 Natalie Grinczer Team WNT
22 Laura Greenhalgh Les Filles Racing Team
23 Annabel Fisher Neon-Velo Cycling Team
24 Gabriella Shaw Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
25 Hayley Jones Team Breeze U23
26 Nicola Juniper Team Ford Ecoboost
27 Bethany Hayward Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa U23
28 Dani Christmas Isorex Cycling Team
29 Julie Erskine Team Ford Ecoboost
30 Jessie Walker Servetto Footon U23
31 Jennifer Holden Fusion RT Fierlan U23
32 Megan Barker Team Breeze U23
33 Alice Cobb Matrix Fitness p/b Corley Cycles U23 @41SEC
34 Gemma Sargent Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire
35 Anna Christian Wiggle High5 U23
36 Jennifer Hudson Fusion RT Fierlan
37 Annabel Simpson Drops Cycling Team
38 Hayley Simmonds Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team
39 Abigail Van Twisk Drops Cycling Team U23
40 Genevieve Whitson Isorex Cycling Team
41 Hannah Payton Drops Cycling Team U23 @46SEC
42 Jo Tindley Team WNT @6:35
43 Danielle Khan Team Breeze U23
44 Emily Kay Team Breeze U23
45 Emily Nelson Team Breeze U23
46 Charlotte Alston Team 22 U23
47 Charline Joiner Team Ford Ecoboost
48 Charmaine Porter Army Cycling Race Team (ACRT) U23
49 Corinne Clark Team WNT
50 Elizabeth Stedman Fusion RT Fierlan
51 Sian Botteley Starley Racing U23 @6:38
52 Charlotte Colclough Team Jadan-Weldtite
53 Fiona Hunter Johnston Fusion RT Fierlan
54 Rebecca Rimmington Team WNT
55 Nicole Oh Les Filles Racing Team
56 Bethany Taylor Boot Out Breast Cancer C.C U23
57 Josephine Gilbert Team Footon Velosport U23
58 Emily Meakin Mammoth Lifestyle Racing Team
59 Amy Gornall Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa U23
60 Melissa Brand Team Ford Ecoboost
61 Eve Dixon Starley Racing U23
62 Rachel Crighton Team 22 @6:41
63 Kimberley Ashton Casp Racing
64 Abigail Dentus Team Breeze U23
65 Emma Grant Colavita Bianchi


1 Adam Blythe Tinkoff 04:31:07
2 Mark Cavendish MBE Dimension Data
3 Andrew Fenn Team Sky
4 Mark McNally Wanty – Groupe Gobert
5 Scott Thwaites Bora“Argon 18
6 Tao Geoghegan Hart Axeon Hagens Berman CT U23
7 Thomas Stewart Madison Genesis
8 Dale Appleby NFTO
9 Christopher Lawless JLT Condor U23
10 James Shaw Lotto Soudal U23 U23
11 Dexter Gardias Pedal Heaven
12 Kristian House One Pro Cycling @9SEC
13 Alex Peters Team Sky U23 @20SEC
14 Christopher Latham Team Wiggins U23 @3:44
15 Matthew Holmes Madison Genesis
16 Thomas Moses JLT Condor @3:45
17 George Harper One Pro Cycling
18 Sam Lowe Team Wiggins U23 @3:48
19 Steve Lampier JLT Condor @3:49
20 Robert Partridge NFTO @3:50
21 Max Stedman Pedal Heaven U23 @3:52
22 Alex Dowsett Movistar Team @3:54
23 Daniel Mclay Fortuneo – Vital Concept @4:50
24 Elliott Porter Neon-Velo Cycling Team @5:15



Live Updates from Stockton on Tees

During the day, weather and internet permitting, we’ll be adding bits and bobs to the twitter feed below from both the mens and women’s races.

First race is at 9am (Women) over 106 kilometres and then the men’s is at 1pm over 207 kilometres. Start sheet for the races can be found here The final three hours of the mens is said to be live, on Eurosport from 4pm.

The race is on two courses. A big loop out of town which is not that big and also undulating at best is the first port of call for the riders. It has its little kickers, descents, fast roads and narrow farm lanes. In both races, a selection, big or small, may have been made by the  time they come into Stockton for the small finishing circuits where the tight twisty and in the case of the men, wet, roads will favour a break. This though is the British championship and as ever, will be unpredictable.


This year on a course more suited to sprinters than ever before and with a 7km finishing circuit around a town centre, the chances for the British based pros to win the stripes are higher than ever. There is also rumoured to be quite a few riders not starting from the big teams but there are still expected to be a lot of contenders.

For the British based riders, they have to contend with having been on the road for many many weeks with the Tour Series which always has an impact on many of them but as we saw from Frenchman Alex Blain last week at Beaumont, it doesn’t mean that all of them won’t be in contention.

A look through the names and so many could be in the mix. An insider for the race says the finishing circuit could suit a late breakaway so its a shame that the King of them, Steve Cummings is not entered. But that could play into the hands of the likes of Alex Dowsett or Mark McNally.

Of the British based riders, Daniel Bigham showed at Beaumont that no-one can be under estimated when he was third in a tough race. Whilst a sprint though is favourite from a small selection, there are others who could cause an upset like Rory Towsend (Pedal Heaven), Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis) or Rob Partridge for instance.

Russell Downing talking the day before about the race

A former champion Rus Downing could enjoy the finishing circuits as lets not forget, he’s won in Stockton before after a late move on the finishing loops!

In a bunch kick on a wide finishing straight, the contenders are many. Hard to know who the Sky riders will be as some are injured and some gone on Tour duty. Andy Fenn though could keep the Sky domination going if riding.
But the challengers are many. Scott Thwaites is in great nick and so is Dan McLay, Adam Blythe, Chris Lawless, Graham Briggs (former winner in Stockton) and if riding of course, Mark Cavendish. I say if because GB seems to be pulling Rio selected riders from the racing.

Sprinter Dan Mclay talks the day before the championship

There are of course so many names missing from the above that could be wearing the stripes at the end of tomorrow’s men’s race.

In the Women’s, we don’t know who’s riding and who isn’t from the start sheet so predictions are tough but should she start, you can’t go past a world champion in form, Lizzie Armitstead.

Unlike the men, there is not the same depth from Europe, not quite anyway, but again on the proviso they race, the likes of Nikki Harris and Dani King will have plenty of reasons to go deep in this race to win the title.

Being a sprinters race so Hannah Barnes is another that has to be among the favourites and her sister Alice who was second last year. Nikki Juniper is always one who will be there or there abouts and could surprise the European based riders but like the men’s race, there may well be a talented British based rider who just happens to have a floater of a day and spring the biggest surprise.

So like the men’s, an exciting one to watch which if I cast my mind back to the days when there was only one or two contenders, the sport has certainly moved on a lot!


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