FEATURE: A look back at the 2018 season

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The gold caps have been handed out at Champions Night and next season’s handbooks are thumping onto doormats across the country.

But while riders are making plans for their 2019 season, we look back on 2018, a year that provided some breath-taking performances up and down the country.

A combined event provided worthy winners as the last round of the Knight Composites Classic Series drew a class field thanks to the event also being the National Circuit Championships.

Kelly Murphy

Dean Robson (Northover VT) finished 15th but held on to become overall men’s winner of the Knight Composites Classic TT Series – his female counterpart Kelly Murphy (C2 Racing) had sealed the series win the round prior.

Dan Bigham led a Ribble Pro Cycling 1-2-3 with Olympic medallist Katie Archibald (Wiggle High5) finishing 35 seconds ahead of Alice Lethbridge (Drag2Zero) to be crowned National Circuit Champs the same day.

Lethbridge kicked off her campaign by setting a new competition record and retaining the National 12-hour title in June. She claimed top spot ahead of 53-year-old veteran Jackie Field as Adam Duggleby (Vive Le Velo) dug deep to finish around two miles better than Kieron Davies for the victory.

Lethbridge would also retain her 100-mile title the following month in Cumbria as the National 100-mile Championship would also mark the beginning of a remarkable year for Marcin Bialoblocki (Nopinz) who claimed the men’s crown.

Andy Jackson

One of the most demanding time-trialling events was the next to pass, with Andy Jackson (AeroCoach) and Crystal Spearman (Nopinz) taking glory in the National 24-hour Championship. Jackson amassed 530.61 miles while Spearman powered to an impressive 445.80 miles, 25 and 14 miles better off than their nearest rivals respectively.

Bialoblocki took his second national title of the season, sitting atop the national 25-mile podium. The national record holder who lives in Bridgwater won his maiden, and undoubtedly not last national 25 title whereas Hayley Simmonds (Team WNT Pro Cycling) sealed her fourth consecutive title in the discipline with a convincing victory.

Despite being in dominant form, the Drag2Zero ladies didn’t feature in the mid-season National Team Time Trial Championships which left a Team Swift trio of Fiona Sharp, Kirsty Bramley and Gemma Frost to have a relatively clear path to the title, taking the victory by 3-33. The men’s classification wasn’t as clear cut however with Cambridge University CC emerging on top, 1-25 ahead of GS Metro thanks to Seb Dickson, Felix Barker and John Mulvey.

John Archibald

Anna Turvey was the third and final multiple National-title winner in 2018, the first of which being the National 10-mile Championship, an event that arguably produced the shock of any National title event as John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) pipped the seemingly unstoppable Bialoblocki by three seconds to take the crown.

Bialoblocki bounced back from his 10-mile defeat at the hands of Archibald in devastating style, recording the second fastest time ever produced across the 50-mile distance to add the National 50-mile Championship to his palmares and confirm himself as the best rider of the year. The race was also Anna Turvey’s second national title victory – she took the win by over a minute ahead of Emma Lewis and Alice Lethbridge.

Emma Lewis

Emma Lewis (The Independent Pedaler) improved on her second place in the National 50 to take her third National Closed-Circuit Championship title after wins in 2016 and 2017. Lewis was joined on the winner’s step by none other than the mercurial Polishman Marcin Bialoblocki, who took his fourth and final National title of the season – he may want to think about expanding his trophy cabinet for the coming seasons.

With the flat(ish) time-trialling coming to an end, hill-climbing took precedent and an intense schedule of travelling to Yorkshire every weekend, and winning 11 of his 14 events in the run up paid off for Andrew Feather (BCR Racing) as he captured the National Hill-Climb Championship two seconds ahead of Calum Brown (Team B38/Underpin Racing).

Andrew Feather

GS Metro’s Fiona Burnie was victorious in the women’s category by an even slender margin of 0.6 seconds with Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire RC) having to settle for a second successive runners-up spot.

* All reports are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission. This report by Jack Cudworth.