Behind for all but the last few miles, holder Michael Hutchinson came good when it counted to secure his sixth national 25-mile time trial championship in wet conditions on Teesside.
Hutchinson (In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp RT) finished seven seconds clear of Alex Dowsett in a championship record 47-01 as he followed women’s winner Julia Shaw and junior Ryan Mullen, who also successfully defended their 2011 titles.
But the day was marred by a serious accident involving 2011 women’s bronze medallist Jane Kilmartin (PM Racing), who suffered a broken back when she was in collision with a car on the return leg of the T252/3 Crathorne course.
Writing from her bed at Teesside South Hospital, Kilmartin said “I am lucky to be alive given the speed of the collision. I remember being catapulted high into the air and landing very hard on my side.
“I couldn’t move and I knew then that my back was broken. All five lumbar vertebrae are fractured.”
The driver of the car was arrested.
The incident and localised torrential downpours, which led to reduced visibility and heavy spray at times across the day, brought into question whether the event should have been stopped and took some shine away from the quality of racing.
Hutchinson trailed Dowsett (Sky Pro Cycling) by 15 seconds after the first six miles and, six seconds down at the turn, was still three seconds adrift with around six miles to go before turning the race his way.
“It was close,” said Hutchinson, who was on his way back to the headquarters when told he had won. “I was edging back very slowly, but when I finished I assumed it hadn’t gone my way and I didn’t feel confident.
“The conditions weren’t great, it was dry when I started but then wet for pretty much all of my ride.
“It’s always terrific to get a championship win, if you do what I do as a time trial specialist it’s what you work towards.”
Matt Bottrill (Drag2zero.com) took third place in 48-36, holding off Joe Perrett (Ciclos Uno) by 17 seconds.
Mullen (Planet X RT) retained his junior title in an excellent 48-48, beating second-placed Alex Peters (Mosquito Bikes) by 2-21, and Shaw (Drag2zero.com), 54-57, was nearly two minutes clear of closest rival Ciara Horne (Brotherton Cycles), 56-48.
Michael Hutchinson, winner
Julia Shaw, women’s winner
Ryan Mullen, junior men’s winner
Louise Scupham, junior women’s winner
Jane Kilmartin was struck by a car during the event
Traffic on the National 25 course
2012 National 15-mile time trial photo gallery