With 5 riders in the race the team were determined to make the race a difficult defence for Nicole Cooke who for the first time had a team-mate in the race. After just one lap, the action began with Helen Wyman attacking. It was short lived, but over the course of the next 2 laps, Jo Rowsell, Katie Curtis and Lizzie Armistead were all off the front of the bunch. Katie managed to stay away with a rider from Lucinao Cycles for quiet some time and the timing of her attack was crucial to the race splitting. The only reason these breaks came back was the hard work of Tanja Slater who had also suffered 2 punctures in the race.
Women’s National Championships in the past have been a negative affair, and with the determination of Global Racing Team and a very strong effort from Nicole Cooke the race was split into 2 groups. The lead group of 8 featured 4 riders from Global Racing and they quickly gained 40 seconds on the bunch. The noticeable rider missing was Tanja Slater who had suffered for her efforts earlier in the race. With team cars not allowed to go to the group at that point and the Neutral service in front of the lead group, when Jo punctured, she had to wait until after the main bunch for service. Her under 23-title defence was over and she would have to settle for a battle for 3rd place.
At the head of the race, the 7 raining riders (Cooke, Hare, Heal, Harris, Armitstead, Pooley and Wyman) worked very hard for long period to ensure their escape was under no threat of being caught. With all of the Global Racing riders having already been involved in a breaks during the race, and 2 of them competing for the Under 23 title, it was over to the other individual escapees to challenge Nicole, however those efforts never happened and it was Nicole who jumped on the penultimate hill.
The attack split the group, leaving Cath Hare, Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris in a group of 3 chasing to regain contact. This chase took around 10km and left these riders tired for the final run-in to the finish. With just Emma Pooley working on the front of the group for the last 5km, Nicole was not going to be caught and finished 59 seconds ahead to take her 8th title.
Behind her, Rachel Heal managed to power across the line to take 2nd ahead of Global Racing rider Helen Wyman. Nikki Harris took the Under 23 title ahead of Global Racing team-mate Lizzie Armitstead.
1 Nicole Cooke Raleigh / Lifeforce / Creation / HB 3 hrs 44m39s
2 Rachel Heal Webcor Builders 3.45.38
3 Helen Wyman Global Racing Team – Bio-Racer ST
4 Catherine Hare Rapha Condor RT ST
5 Nikki Harris Global Racing Team – Bio-Racer ST (Under 23)
6 Emma Pooley Team Specialized Designs for Women ST
7 Elizabeth Armistead Global Racing Team – Bio-Racer ST (Under 23)
8 Leanne Thompson Lune RCC 3.53.16
9 Diane Moss Team Luciano / Everest ST
10 Alice Monger-Godfrey Glendene CC / Biketrax ST (Under 23)
11 Katie Curtis Global Racing Team – Bio-Racer ST (Under 23)
12 Marie Stuart Team Chance ST
13 Beverley Harper Webcor Builders ST
14 Jessica Allen Pinarello RT ST
15 Carrie Bedingfield Team Luciano / Everest ST
16 Joanna Rowsell Global Racing Team – Bio-Racer ST (Under 23)
17 Jo Munden V C Meuden ST
18 Rachel Osborn WrekinSport ST
19 Sarah Byrne GS Strada / Afford rent-a-car ST
20 Femke van Schelven Fatbirds ST
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse