National Titles for Cavendish & Towers

Mark Cavendish claimed his second national road race title with a majestic sprint in Castle Douglas, while 19-year-old Alice Towers took a shock solo win in the women’s race after a phenomenal 30km break.

After a dominant performance throughout the day, Cavendish proved too strong in the sprint, with under-23 rider Sam Watson taking his second silver medal of this year’s championships following Friday’s circuit race, and Alex Richardson taking third.


Nicholas Cooper made the first significant move of the day with a solo effort early on, before he was joined by Cavendish and Damien Clayton to go 40 seconds up.

John Archibald managed to bridge the gap, while Ethan Hayter also joined soon after to make a group of six leading riders. Cooper was unable to hold the pace and was swallowed by the bunch, before a group of five edged over to make a leading group of nine.

It soon grew to 11, with a front group including Matt Bostock, Cavendish, Archibald, Hayter and Ben Turner, and another group of 11 soon caught up to make a leading group of 22 around the 90km mark – but Turner, Cavendish, Lewis Askey and Sam Culverwell went clear to gain a gap of 25 seconds.

Nine chasers caught on, including Turner, who made a massive move with 68km to go. Frequent attacks followed, and with less than 30km remaining, an established group made up of Cavendish, Richardson, Watson, Turner and Bostock formed, while six chasers followed.

On the penultimate lap, Bostock hit the deck from a touch of wheels to put him out of contention, leaving four riders one minute up over the chasers.

Turner put in a big solo surge in the final 10km while the other three watched each other to see who would follow, before Cavendish put on the pace to draw Turner in.

Richardson then attacked and Turner dropped off to leave just three riders coming into the final kilometre, where youngster Watson made his own big move. But the power of Cavendish was too much for Watson to take, and the Manx Missile sprinted home to cross the line arms aloft.

Askey and Jim Brown completed the under-23 podium.

Afterwards, Cavendish said: “I am very happy – it’s been nine years since I last won, and here in Scotland last time out. It’s nice that I get to carry the jersey and I hope that I do it proud in the professional peloton. It’s real racing now – it used to only be three or four of us. Now there’s more than 12 of us and that includes domestic riders as well. During my career, it’s great to see the depth of the British field.”


In the women’s race, Towers claimed an incredible solo victory from 30km out, while 2021 champion Pfeiffer Georgi took second in a sprint finish over Anna Henderson, after a 128km race that was beset by torrid weather conditions.

Christina Wiejak made a valiant solo move early on, while Monica Greenwood attempted to chase her down. Wiejak went 2:15 up on the peloton, while Greenwood remained tied in the middle before being caught at just over 40km.

Wiejack continued to maintain her lead, which the likes of Dame Sarah Storey and Emily Meakin attempted to chase down from the bunch. Wiejack looked as if she was about to be caught and was within 50 metres of the peloton but had a second wind and managed to gain a 25 second lead before finally being caught at the halfway point.

At the 80km mark, a leading group of 15 riders broke free from the bunch, including big hitters Henderson, Georgi, Elynor Backstedt, Abi Smith, and all five Le Col Wahoo riders.

The leaders had a 24 second advantage before Towers rode away solo with around 30km to go, while the group was caught by the bunch.

Greenwood attempted another solid attack but was caught, while Henderson put in frequent surges, before Sammie Stuart then managed to get away. Towers’ Le Col Wahoo teammates continued to shut down the peloton to help her grow a lead of two minutes.

A massive counterattack from Georgi, Backstedt, Henderson and Lizzie Holden was enough to get away in the penultimate lap. Towers was up 1:37 coming into the final lap, while Stuart was caught to make a five-up chasing group.

Towers crossed the line 1:13 up on the chasing group – a massive result for the young 19-year-old, while a fiery sprint saw Georgi edge Henderson on the line. Holden rolled for fourth and Backstedt took fifth to finish third in the under-23 category.

Afterwards Towers said: “Really special to get on that podium today. There have been so many amazing women that have got on there the past few years so to be part of that level of champions is crazy. It hasn’t sunk in yet. It wasn’t the plan to go that early, but I just rode at my own pace and I just kept going! It will be great to wear the stripes in the team.”


Alice Towers
Pfeiffer Georgi
Anna Henderson


Alice Towers
Pfeiffer Georgi
Elynor Backstedt


Mark Cavendish
Sam Watson
Alex Richardson


Sam Watson
Lewis Askey
Jim Brown