Scott Thwaites scored a top ten finish for Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK against world-class opposition in an incident-packed edition of the National Road Race Championships.
Team leader Thwaites infiltrated two dangerous moves early in the race and looked well-placed to contest the finale, but ultimately fell victim to the fatigue of a long and hard-fought race, contested almost from the gun. Team-mate Mikey Mottram suffered a worse fate, despite a brilliant start, crashing heavily from a formidable three-man breakaway and suffering facial injuries.
While Mottram received medical treatment, Thwaites joined the strongest break of the day, containing eventual winner Ben Swift (Team Ineos) and the remaining members of the podium: Ian Stannard (Team Ineos) and John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling). Ultimately, the Yorkshireman missed the decisive move as Swift counterattacked his team mate Stannard, shortly after Alex Dowsett (Team Katusha Alpecin) and Adam Blythe (Lotto Soudal) had bridged to the group.
“I think I rode a great race to be honest and did exactly what I wanted to do,” Thwaites told VeloUK. “I was aggressive, got up the road, put myself up there, kept going and going, but just ran out of gas a bit at the end, or didn’t quite pick the right wheel to follow when it split.”
Despite crashing in the last 20km, Thwaites managed to battle on and finish in the top ten, earning two vital points for the team as the season-long battle for Tour of Britain qualification intensifies.
Mottram’s crash was arguably the most intense moment of the race. After escaping with a powerful early move alongside Chris Lawless (Team Ineos) and Dan Bigham (Ribble Pro Cycling), Mottram worked with his confederates to build a decent lead. As their advantage increased, however, Mottram collided with a wall at high speed in an alarming incident that forced him to abandon the race.
“We just came through a town quite quickly and I sort of ended up on the kerb and went into a wall,” the phlegmatic Mottram told VeloUK, speaking while his arm was bandaged and with cuts to his face clearly visible. “It was a bit nasty to be fair.”
The team’s focus now returns to the remaining rounds of the HSBC National Road Race Series in a bid to regain fourth position in the points table and that all important Tour of Britain invitation. Racing resumes next weekend at the Otley Grand Prix, where Thwaites is no stranger to victory, having won the race twice.
“I’d love to win there again but if not, I’ll try and help the team get a victory,” he told VeloUK. “It’s always been a special place for me.”
2019 British National Championships Road Race - results
1) Ben Swift (Team Ineos) 4:09:08
2) Ian Stannard (Team Ineos) +8
3) John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) +15
4) Alex Dowsett (Team Katusha- Alpecin) +58
5) Ethan Hayter – U23 (VC Londres) +1:20
6) Alexandar Richardson (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) st
7) Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) st
8) Mark Christian (Team Wiggins Le Col) st
9) Matthew Bostock – U23 (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) +3:10
10) Scott Thwaites (Vitus Pro Cycling powered by Brother UK) st
28) Dylan Kerfoot-Robson (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK) +3:50
49) Christopher Latham (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK) +4:52
56) Alistair Slater (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK) +5:05
62) Adam Kenway (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK) +5:08
74) Joe Holt – U23 (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK) +6:01
93) Timothy Torrie – U23 (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK) +6:55
123) Graham Briggs (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK) +7:12
DNF Ed Clancy OBE (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK)
DNF Michael Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling, powered by Brother UK)
Watch highlights from the National Championships on British Cycling HERE