If you, like me, are finding it hard to sift through all the mountain of information about the various National Championships, to find the fun news, never fear - I'm here to help! You can see some of the winners of the ITTs and Road Races on Ted's fantastic table (men's version here) or a list of the men's and women's road race champions on inrng, but we all know there's more to races just than the winner, so below the jump I'll give you interesting results, controversy, human interest and videos.... including a fantastic sweary bike toss!
If you think I've forgotten anything, or have some stories, photos or blogs you've enjoyed this week, add it to the comments. I'll start with the British National Championships, since I was there for the race. It's not really a spoiler to post the podium photo!
Emma Pooley, Sharon Laws & Lizzie Armitstead on the GB Nationals Podium - photo by Sarah Connolly
Sharon Laws wins British Road Race
The British road race has been full of drama for the last few years, for some reason. In 2010, Nicole Cooke complained to the press that the Cervélo riders rode together for Emma Pooley's win, which stopped Cooke from winning ten national titles in a row, and refused to shake Pooley's hand on the podium. This year, the first part of the drama happened before the race, when Sharon Laws was controversially left off the British Olympic team, in favour of Cooke. So it was no surprise that Laws and her AA Drink-Leontien.nl team-mates would be making a point today - and they did it in spectacular fashion.
The course was 7 laps of an 11.5 mile (18.5km) loop based around the spectacular grounds of a private boarding school, starting with a wicked set of hairpins, then round to the major climb (which wasn't so much one hill, but what felt like an endless series of false summits) round and back through the grounds of the school, ending on an uphill to the finish. Every expected AA Drink to attack early, but it was a bit of surprise when the peloton didn't even manage to make it through the first lap together. On the first climb, Pooley, Laws and last year's winner, Lizzie Armitstead attacked and that was it, they were gone. Only Nikki Harris, a cyclocrosser for Young Telenet Fidea, could react and catch them - and only multiple para-cycling World and Paralympic Champion Sarah Storey chased at first, until in around the fifth lap, a group of six, including Emma Trott (Dolmans-Boels), Katie Coclough (Specialized-lululemon) and Nicole Cooke (Faren-Honda) escaped to race for 6th place.
Up ahead, Laws attacked, Harris followed,and they were caught by Armitstead and Pooley, and then at the start of the penultimate lap, Laws attacked, got away, and rode solo until she took an emotional win. Armitstead and Pooley dropped Harris, and then Armitstead sprinted up the hill for second - an all-AA Drink-Leontien.nl podium! Harris came in 4th, and Storey, who had ridden solo all race, 5th - Cooke jumped from the chase group for 6th, while Colclough won the u23 jersey, ahead of Matrix-Prendas' Penny Rowson and Annie Simpson.
The podium ceremony had comedy - as when they nearly forgot to actually do the podium, gave Laws the u23 jersey by mistake, and when Armitstead completely failed to undo her bubbly - and pathos, as when Laws was asked if winning here made up for not being selected for the Olympics. "I don't think this is adequate consolation", she said, "but it will certainly help. It was my big dream, I really wanted to go."
After the race, Cooke acknowledged that this was her worst placing in Nationals since she began racing the elite race at 16, but said all that matters is finding her form in time for the Olympics. We'll have to see what happens there...
1. Sharon Laws (GBr) AA Drinks-Leontien.nl
2. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) AA Drinks-Leontien.nl, + 01:36
3. Emma Pooley (GBr) AA Drinks-Leontien.nl, + 01:41
4. Nikki Harris (GBr) Young Telenet Fidea, + 02:43
5. Sarah Storey (GBr) Escentual For Viored, + 03:52
6. Nicole Cooke (GBr) Faren Honda, + 09:02
7. Catherine Williamson (GBr) Bizhub, s.t.
8. Katie Colclough (GBr) Specialized-lululemon, s.t.
9. Emma Trott (GBr) Dolmans Boels, + 09:44
10. Natalie Creswick (GBr) Mule Bar Girl, + 09:51
Emma Johansson wins in Sweden - and Emilia Fahlin tosses her bike
The Swedish national championships start with Emma Johansson (Hitec Product-Mistral Home) as the big favourite - but Specialized-lululemon's Emilia Fahlin always makes the race hard. This time, everyone had a go - Johansson attacked and was caught, then Isabelle Söderberg - then Söderberg, Fahlin and Johansson rode together, until the final few laps, when Johansson attacked, and Fahlin caught her. They raced together, and then on the final climb, Johansson attacked again, Fahlin chased again... and then had a massive mechanical. Watch the video for her reaction, and to learn some great new Swedish swearwords!
Fahlin finished on a spare bike, but by that time, Johansson had won easily, her 4th national title in a row.
1. Emma Johansson, Hitec Product-Mistral Home, 3:12:27
2. Emilia Fahlin, Specialized-lululemon, + 00:47
3. Isabelle Söderberg, AA Drink-Leontien.nl, + 02:31
4. Linéa Fredäng, Alriksson Go:Green, + 08:23
5. Jennie Stenerhag, Falu CK, s.t.
After the race, Fahlin soon recovered her sense of humour about it all - I'm sure she's already planning for next year!
This is how my fight for gold at nationals ended with 7km to go. I still remember how to swear in swedish atleast. twitter.com/EmiliaFahlin/s…— Emilia Fahlin (@EmiliaFahlin) June 24, 2012
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot celebrates the end of the Longo era
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is a spectacular cyclist. It feels wrong to describe someone as "the next Marianne Vos", when Marianne Vos is only 25 and the dominant rider, male or female, but PFP has the same early success across disciplines. She's been the Junior MTB and Road Champion, and after Ganna Solovey was caught for doping, might also count as the Junior ITT World Champ too. At 19, she's a perfect symbol of what French women's cycling could become. So it was particularly apt that Ferrand-Prévot was the one to win the French ITT Champs, while Jeannie Longo came fifth, making it clear that Longo will NOT be going to the Olympics to represent France.
If you're not aware of Longo, she's had a spectacular career, but there are all kinds of intimations that she's very much a product of that era of cycling. At 53, she was aiming to make it to the London Olympics, but there are all kinds of reasons not to want he to go - which are explained in Velonation. So it was extra-nice to hear that Ferrand-Prévot was interviewed afterwards, saying
Photos of the ITT on Ferrand-Prévot's facebook
Judith Arndt wins her 20th National Title!
Judith Arndt (Orica-AIS) is an absolute superstar, and as reigning World ITT Champion, it was no surprise that she won the German ITT title, but it looked like a harder ask in the Road Race, as she only had 1 team-mate, Claudia Häusler, with her, while Specialised-lululemon had the scary combination of Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Trixi Worrack, Charlotte Becker and Lisa Brennauer.
Häusler was responsible for the first attack, escaping with Worrack and Hanka Kupfernagel (RusVelo) - but they were caught and passed by Arndt and Becker. The two riders are superb time triallists and ex-team-mates, so they worked together perfectly, gaining over 12 minutes (!!) on the chasers. Then, in the final lap, Arndt attacked on the climb, to take the win, which is her 20th national title across road and track. She's had an amazing career, and she'll definitely be one to watch out for both in the Olympic and World ITTs and Road Races!
1. Judith Arndt, Orica-AIS, 3:09:28
2. Charlotte Becker, Specialized-lululemon, + 00:51
3. Trixi Worrack, Specialized-lululemon, + 12:49
4. Claudia Häusler, Orica-AIS, s.t.
5. Hanka Kupfernagel, RusVelo, + 12:51
6. Lisa Brennauer, Specialized-lululemon, + 13:09
7. Marlen Jöhrend, Abus Nutixxion, s.t.
8. Elke Gebhardt, BePink, + 13:10
9. Romy Kasper, RusVelo, + 13:14
10. Hanna Amend, Stevens-Biehler Rügen, s.t.
There's no video from the races as yet, but here's a recent video profile of Arndt, for the German speakers out there:
Giada Borgato wins the Italian Road Race, and is happy she didn't give up racing
This is a lovely story - Giada Borgato, of Diadora Pasta-Zara, was interviewed by Velonation after the race, and talked about how earlier in the year, she'd wanted to give up cycling.
"After five years in the elite I did not have any results," she explained "I had gone through a bad period; I was sick, then had a big crash, I really wanted to give it all up, I wondered how I could find a job, not having even gone to college because I was racing my bike.
"My family has been very supportive, have convinced me to stick it out, and now I can say that it was worth it," she added.
There's stacks of video from the Italian Champs - I like the one of a very happy Anna Zita Maria Sticker winning the Junior Road Championships (or this one Monty found, where Stricker was lucky not to be knocked off her bike - it's at the 3 minute mark) - and more of Borgato's race here and here
Denise Ramsden wins the Canadian Road Race - and Clara Hughes is hilarious about it!
The Canadian National Championships was another one where the the Olympic selection came into play. Canada has two spots in the Olympic ITT - and Rhae Shaw was hoping to be able to contest one of them, but instead Canada have chosen to have Clara Hughes for the road and ITT, and Denise Ramsden and Joëlle Numainville to join her in the road race. Shaw came second behind Hughes in the ITT (see video of Hughes interviewed afterwards in French, with a very sweet accent!) - but the Canadian selectors must have been breathing a sigh of relief when Ramsden won the road race (and the u23) after a long escape with Hughes, while Numainville won the bunch sprint for third. Here's Hughes and Ramsden describing the race afterwards - both so charming, but Hughes especially is adorable!
Megan Guarnier wins the USA RR and makes her point to the USA selectors
Another rider who was hoping to get to the Olympics was Megan Guarnier, who demonstrated to USA Cycling how strong she is, by winning the USA Road Race. Here's Guarnier interviewed afterwards, with her Tibco team-mate and new u23 champion, Samantha Schneider.
Annemiek van Vleuten wins the Dutch Road Race and Ellen van Dijk the ITT
The Dutch course was especiailly hard, full of nasty climbs, and it was going to be interesting, as it was Marianne Vos' first race back since she broke her collarbone in the Holland Hills Classic. The racing had already started competitively, when Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) won the ITT, ahead of Annemiek van Vleuten and Iris Slappendel (both Rabobank).
I'm really looking forward to seeing Specialized-lululemon's TTT team - they seem to be giving their national champions a special skinsuit, the same design as usual, but colour-themed for national glory. Can't wait to see what the Dutch version will look like!
So, on to the road race! 11 laps, with four climbs per lap. It was always going to be crazy-hard, especially because the average Dutch rider is known for her sprint rather than her climbs, but there are exceptions, and four of them - Vos and Van Vleuten (Rabobank), Lucinda Brand (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) and Amy Pieters (Skil-Argos) escaped early in the race. But even Pieters and Brand couldn't manage to stay with the Rabo pair, who ride brilliantly together, and they were dropped, one after the other. Vos and Van Vleuten rode together, until AvV attacked and won the sprint. Her first Dutch national jersey!
1. Annemiek van Vleuten, Rabobank, 3:11:14
2. Marianne Vos, Rabobank, + 00:03
3. Lucinda Brand, AA Drink-Leontien.nl, + 03:45
4. Amy Pieters, Skil-Argos, + 06:21
5. Sanne van Paassen, Rabobank, + 09:02
6. Mascha Pijnenborg, Dolmans-Boels, + 09:06
7. Anna van der Breggen, Sengers, + 10:03
8. Janneke Kanis, Skil-Argos, + 11:50
9. Martine Bras, Dolmans-Boels, s.t.
10. Iris Slappendel, Rabobank Women Team, s.t.
More videos from other races
- Anna Sanchis Chafer wins the Spanish ITT and the Road Race
- Jolien d'Hoore wins the Belgian road race
- Jennifer Hohl wins the Swiss Road Race
And that's it! If you think I've missed out any more fun stories, add them to the comments - and I'm sure we'll find more video, blogs and photos, and they'll all come into the comments too!