Kristian House out-witted the strongest field of riders assembled for a British national championships in years to take the title in Abergavenny today.
The British-born, American-raised Rapha-Condor rider won from a group of four in front of huge crowds in the Welsh town to take the biggest win of his career.
This had been an exceptionally hard race, but House was one of a few British-based riders able to hold his own against the returning ProTour riders who started ripping the race to pieces almost as soon as the peloton had left Abergavenny.
The ProTour and European-based riders were always at the front of the race, but as Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh were leaving their mark, House was consistently riding in the wheels.
With just two stage races to interrupt six week’s worth of criterium racing, House hadn’t exactly had the best preparation for today, but as his manager John Herety said, he trains and lives a more disciplined life than many of those riding in bigger teams.
On the tough finishing circuit around Abergavenny, House was equal to the ten or so compatriots that were in pursuit of Wiggins and Froome who’d escaped on the Tumble. The feared three-mile climb had shattered the peloton and anyone left behind the group of Cavendish, Dan Lloyd, House Kennaugh et al. found themselves out of the running.
Wiggins would eventually sit up on the finishing circuit as the group behind closed in, but Froome pushed on, much to the delight of the crowd. This was the first year Froome has been allowed to compete in the British championships after switching his Kenyan racing licence for a British one, and he was obviously here to win.
The pursuit of Froome eventually saw Kennaugh, Lloyd, House and Ian Stannard go clear of the rest, only for Stannard to suffer from cramps and leave four at the front.
Froome attacked again with just over a lap to go, a move that endeared himself to the watching fans. There was an audible groan from the crowd when the commentator announced he’d been caught with some two kilometres to go.
In the final metres it was House who got the awkward, downhill, twisty sprint right, and with it the right to where the red, white and blue jersey for the next year.
RESULTS: British road race national championships
1. Kristian House (Rapha-Condor) 100 miles in 4-09-41
2. Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo)
3. Peter Kennaugh (100% ME)
4. Chris Froome (Barloworld) all at same time
5. Roger Hammond (Cervelo) at 2-41
6. Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) at same time
7. Evan Oliphant (Endura) at 3-06
8. Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut) at 3-31
9. Russell Downing (Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta) at same time
10. Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo) at 3-32
Cooke wins unprecedented 10th title
Cookson over-rules to reinstate Armitstead
Atkins wins junior road race title in Wales
road race national championships photo gallery by Andy