Michael Hutchinson made it a round dozen National 50-Mile titles in a row on Sunday, but he was pushed all the way for victory by Matt Bottrill (I Ride RT).
Hutchinson (In Gear-Quickvit RT) was behind Bottrill until around the 40-mile mark, and his winning time of 1-41-28 was just 16 seconds ahead of his nearest rival – the smallest gap of all his 50-mile titles.
“I’ve felt stronger over 50 miles,” said Hutchinson afterwards. “I did the best I could, but I didn’t feel quite as sharp as I would’ve liked.
“I would’ve liked the gap to be a bit more. If you look at my performances in the national 10 and 25 you might have expected the gap to be a bit more, but Matt did a very good ride today.”
Bottrill was pleased overall with his ride: “There’s nothing I could have done different. I’ve paced it well, I just lost it in the last five miles.
“I am gutted but I got to look at the positives – how far I’ve come from where I was last year. This is the closest I’ve come to beating Hutch.”
Behind Hutch and Bottrill, third spot went to Andy Wilkinson (Port Sunlight Wheelers) who clocked 1-45-13.
While Hutch won the men’s title by a narrow margin, defending women’s champion Julia Shaw (Drag2Zero.com) retained her crown by more than six minutes in the women’s event, which was run 24 hours earlier and in very different conditions.
Torrential rain caused the start to be delayed by 30 minutes, but even when it did begin the conditions hadn’t improved much.
“It was a really difficult day,” said Shaw. “The heavy rain before the rain didn’t help, and virtually as soon as we began the rain came again and it was torrential.
“It was probably the worst conditions I’ve ridden in, but the irony was that the sun was shining at Farnham where the headquarters was!”
Shaw’s time of 1-51-42 was 6-19 ahead of her nearest rival, Rebecca Slack (The Altitude Centre), whose time of 1-58-01 was just 25 seconds ahead of third-placed Jane Kilmartin.
National 50-Mile Time Trial Championships
1. Michael Hutchinson (In Gear-Quickvit RT) 1-41-28
2. Matt Bottrill (I Ride RT) 1-41-44
3. Andy Wilkinson (Port Sunlight Wheelers) 1-45-13
4. Steve Dennis (East Grinstead CC) 1-46-02
5. Julian Jenkinson (UTAG Yamaha.com) 1-46-32
6. Adam Topham (High Wycombe CC) 1-46-49
7. Jerone Walters (Sigma Sport RT) 1-47-29
8. Jeff Jones (Chippenham & Dist Wh) 1-47-36
9. Stephen Whitewick (UTAG Yamaha.com) 1-47-43
10. Nik Bowdler (Team Pedal Revolution.co.uk) 1-47-44
1. Julia Shaw (Drag2Zero.com) 1-51-42
2. Rebecca Slack (The Altitude Centre) 1-58-01
3. Jane Kilmartin (Cult Racing) 1-58-26
4. Claire Newland (Welwyn Wheelers CC) 2-00-28
5. Lesley-Anne Walking (VC St Raphael-Waite Contract) 2-02-24
6. Rachael Elliott (Newbury RC) 2-04-01
7. Rachel Turner (The Altitude Centre) 2-05-35
8. Lousie Collins (TFN Tri Club) 2-05-44
9. Jenny Lloyd-Jones (The Altitude Centre) 2-06-32
10. Lara Taylor (VC Godalming Haslemere) 2-06-59