Ben Swift extended his already long stay in the British national champion’s jersey with victory in the men’s road race after Pfeiffer Georgi claimed her maiden women’s title in Lincoln.
After the pandemic saw last year’s championships cancelled and this year’s moved to the end of the season, Swift had already enjoyed 840 days in the British stripes as a result of winning the 2019 title, but had no intention of giving them up yet.
“I had to earn it for the last year,” Swift said. “It was a tough race, but I’m really happy to keep the jersey.”
The 33-year-old was active virtually throughout the 166 kilometre race, 13 laps of a circuit built around the famous cobbled climb of Michaelgate to the foot of the city’s medieval Cathedral.
Attacks flew all afternoon as the likes of Mark Cavendish, Matt Walls and Matt Holmes were spat out the back, and by the last lap Swift was left in a much-reduced group alongside Fred Wright, Harry Tanfield and Dan McLay.
As McLay faded, Swift’s Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Ethan Hayter bridged across and would take bronze behind his house-mate Wright.
“In the nationals, you have to race from the front, be aggressive,” Swift said. “You just put yourself in the front…I don’t really know how the final group of four happened. There were a few attacks, it was right place, right time. I turned around and we had a gap…
Earlier in the day, Georgi used a late attack on Michaelgate to take the women’s title ahead of Josie Nelson and Joss Lowden.
“It’s pretty special,” said the 21-year-old. “I can’t believe it, honestly. I crossed the line shaking my head, just the realisation I get to wear this jersey for 12 months – it’s an honour.
“When April went it got a bit nervous – everyone was looking at each other and it was a bit cagey, but then the attacks started.