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Nicole Cooke wins number 10 

World and Olympic Champion adds National title to "current" list

Abergavenny, Wales

Update - Armitstead re-instated as silver medallist after British Cycling Federation intervention

The following statement was made by the British Cycling President on the federation's website, it is reproduced verbatum :

After Lizzie Armitstead was told on the podium that she would not be given her Silver [sic] medal, British Cycling President Brian Cookson said this today;
 
"It was brought to my attention late on Saturday afternoon following the Women's Elite and Under 23 National Road race Championships that, on the instruction of the Chief Commissaire, medals had been withdrawn and re-awarded, on the basis that a rider could not be eligible for both Elite and Under 23 categories. Clearly this caused considerable distress to the riders involved and confusion amonst [sic] the spectators. A number of complaints were addressed to me about this decision.
 
Following discussion with British Cycling Board Members present at the event, and telephone conversations with the Chairmen of both the Commissaires' Commission and the Road Commission, it was confirmed that this was not an interpretation of the rules shared by the Board. The decision is therefore over-ruled, and the medals will be re-allocated. The Board is clearly of the view that if an Under 23 rider is capable of finishing in a medal position amogst [sic] Elite riders, then he or she is entitled to a medal in each category.
 
The medals for the Men's Elite and Under 23 Championship were duly awarded on the correct basis and all Under 23 riders in that race were eligible for both sets of medals, hence Peter Kennaugh was awarded both the Bronze medal in the Elite category, and the Gold medal in the Under 23 category. The only exceptions to that ruling were the riders Ben Swift and Jonny Bellis, who, as members of UCI ProTour teams are clearly excluded from the Under 23 category.
 
For clarification, British Cycling Technical regulation 71 states 'Each National Championship shall be under the control of the Board, it may make such arrangements as it thinks fit, provided the actual racing is under the control of Federation officials'.
 
On behalf of British Cycling I would like to apologise to Lizzie Armistead [sic] and the other riders involved for the distress caused by this decision, and confirm that it is over-ruled".

Write-up

By Ben Atkins in Abergavenny

World and Olympic champion Nicole Cooke (Vision1) won her tenth National title in eleven years in front of a home crowd in Abergavenny, Wales leaving her just two short of Beryl Burton’s record.  The 26-year-old Welshwoman beat World Champion team pursuiter Lizzie Armitstead (Lotto-Belisol) and Olympic time trial silver medallist Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) in a three-up sprint. 

Catherine Williamson (née Hare) (Fenixs) attacked right at the gun and built up a lead of more than 3 minutes before a counter-attack from Pooley drew Cooke and Armitstead clear.  The Cervelo rider, fresh from victory in la Grande Boucle

Feminine, launched one of her trademark attacks that have proved so successful for her in the past.  Unfortunately for Pooley however, Cooke managed to bridge across with Armitstead in tow.  Cyclocross specialist Nikki Harris (Flexpoint) attempted to join them, but was unable to close the gap.  

The three riders soon caught Williamson and continued to build an insurmountable lead over the chasing peloton.  Williamson by this time was paying for her earlier efforts and was dropped each time Pooley accelerated in further attempts to escape; the Fenixs rider woud claw her way back on as the others slowed again. 

As the leaders entered the short finishing circuit around the streets of Abergavenny fatigue finally took its toll on Williamson and she was dropped.  There was no chance for the other three to escape one another though and they arrived at the finish together.  Cooke entered the final corner first and held off the advances of the other two with Armitstead taking second and Pooley third. 

Williamson managed to hold off the attentions of Katie Colclough (100% ME) and Julia Shaw (unattached) to take fourth, while Nikki Harris managed to escape the main group to finish solo for seventh place.  Dani King (Vision1) took the bunch sprint for eighth and the under-23 bronze medal. 

There was controversy at the finish when it was decided that as Armitstead had won the under-23 jersey she was ineligible for a senior medal.  Consequently third and fourth placed Pooley and Williamson were both moved up one step on the podium to silver and bronze positions respectively. ***

*** The medal situation was resolved after intervention by the British Cycling Federation's board. Lizzie Armitstead was, indeed, awarded the silver medal. See "Update", above

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Comments

Nicole Cooke (Vision1) - winner 

On her tenth national championship win:  “That win feels very special, just like the first time.  It was an incredible race today with the home crowd, so definitely a very special one for number 10.”

On Williamson’s first lap attack:  “I think she realised it would be good for her to anticipate the attack from the bunch and she did a very good race.

On Armitstead’s ineligibilty for a senior medal:  “[It’s] Very sad. I think in sport you just have it in black and white; the result: Lizzie was second today and would have been a very worthy winner of that Silver medal and as soon as the girls heard it behind everyone was disappointed.  No one wanted to take a medal that wasn’t theirs. We’re all competitors, we all want a fair result and that is what we had – on paper.

On the GB jersey and the race in Wales:  “Very special to have it; I think it was a very special day altogether with the home crowd. It was a beautiful course and a really good finish as well.

On Pooley’s attack:  “It was a hard attack that she made and it was good to get a bit of a judge on her at that point.

On not wanting to let Pooley escape:  “It’s part of the racing: you have to choose your tactics and I was really happy with the game plan that I chose today.

 

Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) – second

On her attack:  “It would have been nicer to get away on my own to be honest, but that’s exactly what everybody expected because they know I can’t sprint! It’s rather tricky.

On not being allowed to escape: “It’s such a small field that it’s hard to do anything without being noticed because, you know, if it’s a bigger field you can wait until your main opponent is not on the front row and maybe a few rows back.

On the course:  “It’s not an easy course, but it’s not super-hilly. I would have loved the Tumble [the main obstacle in tomorrow’s men’s race], yeah…

On confidence gained after winning la Grand Boucle:  “Well, I’m really happy with winning it, but it’s not the biggest race in the world anymore. I know it used to be but we were there with a really strong team and it wasn’t really my form that did it, it was that we had a really strong team and only poor [Marianne] Vos was a bit isolated.  She’s very strong – and she was incredibly strong – but it’s only a category 2.2 race. I was really pleased to win it, especially because I won a flat stage and a time trial, which is not my usual cup of tea.

Catherine Williamson (Fenixs) – third 

On the motives for her first lap attack:  “I went away with Alex (Greenfield), she’s a good rider and I thought with two of us – if I could get a head start up the climb on that first lap round – I knew that if there was that three of them I wouldn’t be with that three. I did the same last year: just got a head start on the climb and then just joined the break. I was just relieved when they came round to he honest, because I didn’t fancy another stretch on that flat on my own again.  When they came round, you can’t just get on the back so I thought I’d just keep working, get as much lead over the peloton as I can because I knew that when it started splitting I wouldn’t have the legs to hang on.

On her race after being caught by Cooke, Armitstead and Pooley:  “They were attacking and then they’d sit back up and I’d get back on, but the last couple of laps my legs were cramping up and it was like: keep it steady or go into full blown cramp.

On thinking of a lost teammate: “One of the girls on our team died last week in a car crash – Zina [Belarusian 2000 World Champion, Zinaida Stahurskaya] – so I kept thinking about her and kept my head down.

 

Nikki Harris (Flexpoint) - seventh

On not quite being able to go with Cooke, Armitstead and Pooley:  “I was on – I think – the fifth wheel and Katy Colclough let the wheel go, and I just had to make a massive effort to get round. I was literally half a wheel from getting on with the front group with Nicole (Cooke), Emma (Pooley) and Lizzie (Armitstead) and I just couldn’t quite get it.  Then I ended up being loads on my own – a bit boring! – it was a bit shit, but it happens…

 

On escaping the bunch in the finishing circuit:  “I just didn’t want to just roll around at 20mph so I just thought I’d get away on my own.  A girl crashed on a hill on her own up there – I don’t know how she did it – a bit weird…  but yeah, it was okay.” 

On her immediate plans:  “I’ve got a bit of a break now because the ‘cross starts in a couple of months, so if I don’t have a break now I’m going to be a bit knackered. I’m going to take it easy at home and then I’ve got a few tours in Germany [Thuringen] with Flexpoint. I’ve heard it’s pretty hilly there, but it’s good training [for ‘cross] though.  Perfect for me.

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Results

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Photos     Click on any image to enlarge >>

Photos courtesy of Ben Atkins & John Pierce (PhotoSport International)

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