Stannard and Laws win British National Champs
Ian Stannard and Sharon Laws were crowned National Road Race Champions after a great day of action around Ampleforth in North Yorkshire on Sunday.
Sky Pro Cycling rider Stannard, 25 and from Buckinghamshire, took the win around a minute ahead of his nearest rival at the end of the 114-mile race, having left his breakaway rivals with around 20 miles to go.
The decisive move came early in the race when a group of five riders broke away including Stannard, his Sky team-mate Alex Dowsett, Raleigh-GAC duo Russell Hampton and Graham Briggs as well as Endura MTB Racingís Oli Beckingsale.
The gap grew to more than six minutes at one point, and as the pace was kept high it proved too much for Beckingsale and Briggs who dropped back to the bunch.
The ferocity of Stannardís attack caused Dowsett to drop back, and although he caught back up with Hampton it was already too late to latch on to Stannardís wheel.
By the line Stannard was just over a minute ahead, while 23-year-old Dowsett took second to secure a one-two for Sky, and Hampton came in just behind in third.
Team Sky dominated the results taking four of the five top spots.
Sharon Laws was crowned Womenís National Road Race Champion after soloing to victory in the title race in North Yorkshire on Sunday.
The 37-year-old from Cheltenham led a 1-2-3 for the AA Drink-Leontien.nl team, with Lizzie Armitstead taking second, just ahead of Emma Pooley at the end of the 107-kilometre event based around Ampleforth.
"Iím really happy that Iíll get the chance to wear the national champions jersey for the next year," said Sharon Laws afterwards. "I was disappointed not to be selected for the British Olympic road race team, but todayís win helps with that disappointment."
Laws escaped from the bunch with Armitstead and Pooley as well as Nikki Harris (Young Telenet) early in the race, and they quickly established a big lead over the chasing bunch who were struggling to maintain the same pace.
With four minutesí lead, the group were being chased by Sarah Storey (Escentual For Viored), and although she never made contact with the leaders managed to maintain a gap of around a minute.
With a lap and a half (around 15 miles) to go Laws attacked and ploughed up the road powerfully on a climb, quickly establishing a lead of around a minute. Armitstead and Pooley responded, but the injection of pace proved a little too much for Harris who was left behind.
By the line, Laws had a lead of more than a minute, while Armitstead took second from Pooley. Harris had linked up with Storey, around three minutes off the pace, and Storey took fourth ahead of Harris, while the remains of the bunch were led in by former champion Nicole Cooke (Team Faren Honda), around five minutes back.
Runner-up Lizzie Armitstead said: "This was a team effort, and itís great to get the 1-2-3. Our plan was to have one of our team win the event, and weíve achieved that so Iím really happy. Iím delighted for Sharon to get the win. She attacked really strongly and that proved enough to win the title."
Men's National Championships
1 Ian Stannard (Sky Pro Cycling)
2 Alex Dowsett (Sky Pro Cycling)
3 Russell Hampton (Raleigh-GAC)
4 Ben Swift (Sky Pro Cycling)
5 Jeremy Hunt (Sky Pro Cycling)
Women's National Championships
1 Sharon Laws (AA Drink Leontien.nl)
2 Lizzie Armitstead (AA Drink Leontien.nl)
3 Emma Pooley (AA Drink Leontien.nl)
4 Sarah Storey (Escentual For Viored)
5 Nikki Harris (Young Telenet)
6 Nicole Cooke (Team Faren Honda)
Under-23s: Katie Colclough (HTC High Road).