Team Sky’s Pete Kennaugh successfully defended his title and Rapha was on hand to witness the Manxman’s class in extremis, as well as the myriad of sub-plots that ‘the nationals’ always entails.
The national championships brings each country's best cyclists back together, from wherever they are in the world. It is a siren call luring them home with the promise of national pride and homespun glory. The strong legs of the World Tour [WT] professionals compete against the numerical advantage of the British domestic team riders, who tend to want to prove a point against their better known compatriots.
Lincoln was the setting for the 2015 UK domestic dust-up, with the fearsome cobbled Michaelgate climb the perfect battleground. “Even when you do the Lincoln GP [a UK Premier Calendar race] it’s a bit of a head kicking. It'll be worse today.” said Rhys Howells, an elite-level amateur who rides for Richardson-Trek [bottom, left, second on the left], before the race. As for the climb, “Michaelgate has two slithers of tiles on either side of rough cobbles. The first bit is super steep, then it eases off before going super steep again as you go left, left, left, then there's a proper left and you pass a pub and flick right onto smooth bricks and home. Do that ten times and I'll be happy to just finish the race!” he said.
“I haven’t felt like this after a race before – I’m absolutely buckled.”
- Pete Kennaugh, British road race national champion