Ben Swift and Lizzie Armitstead underlined the strength of Yorkshire cycling on the eve of the Tour de France’s visit this week, with podium finishes at the British road race championships in Wales yesterday.
Ultimately, though, both were denied victory as Swift lost out to Team Sky team-mate Pete Kennaugh in a sprint and Armitstead’s was unable to maintain a break and finished third.
Kennaugh attacked Rotherham’s Swift repeatedly on the final two laps of a seven-kilometre circuit but could not shake the sprinter, before surprising his team-mate by busting to the line.
Kennaugh said: “On the last lap it was hard to race against such a good mate. He sat on for most of the last lap, and I thought it was game over.
“But I knew the last 200 metres was downhill and I thought I had a chance. I couldn’t believe I won it!
“I’ve done so many training sprints with Swifty and he leaves me behind every time, but today was my day. I’ve been so close to this title for so many years, this has to be a really special result for me.”
Simon Yates finished third for Orica GreenEDGE.
Armitstead, the British champion in 2011 and again last year, at one point had a 17-second lead on the finishing circuit as she attempted to make light of the fact that she had no team-mates to support her.
But she was caught on the final lap by Laura Trott and her team-mate Dani King, with Trott taking the victory.
Armitstead said: “I’m disappointed. I had my normal issue of wanting to take the race on, so on every incline I gave it a go.
“I didn’t want to take it to a sprint; for me, that was more of a risk than going solo. It was just a shame that Emma Pooley chased me down on the penultimate lap, that was a bit annoying, but what can you do?”
York cycling ace Jamie Sharp, 39, claimed his latest win in the Clifton CC Road Race in Sheriff Hutton yesterday.
Huddersfield Star Wheelers’ Michael Harris soloed to victory in the Nige Moore Memorial Road Race in Thornton yesterday.
Ferryhill Wheelers rider Keith Murray won Otley CC’s 50-mile time trial.