IT was disappointment for Essex cyclists at the British Cycling National Road Race Championships as all of them failed to complete the 117-mile course.
Alex Dowsett, Daniel Patten, Russell Hampton and George Wood lined up at the start in Monmouthshire, in Wales, but all failed to keep the pace, although Hampton showed signs of challenging the breakaway group before his chain came off.
Only 19 of the 144 riders were given finish times.
Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh won the race ahead of team-mate Ben Swift.
The race saw the country’s best riders bid to be the national champion, with the title up for grabs after last year’s winner Mark Cavendish had to pull out through illness.
However, a seven-man breakaway put paid to any hopes of local success with Team Sky dominating the race – Luke Rowe, Josh Edmondson, Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift setting the tempo with Simon and Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) also in the mix.
Swift and Kennaugh broke away from the bunch with the latter claiming the win in a game of cat-and-mouse with a time of 4 hours, 25 minutes and 1 second.
Basildon pro Russell Hampton (Athlonsport – Cloud Nine Telecom) made early ground on the leaders, part of a chasing group that looked to close down the frontrunners in the first ten miles but the man who finished third in 2012 could not maintain the pace and dropped back into the peloton.
Russell Hampton in time-trial action
However, he had to retire after his Thomas-chain came off his bike.
Dowsett, who was beaten by Sir Bradley Wiggins in Thursday’s time-trial, could not make an impression on the race and Corringham’s Daniel Patten (Team 7 Eleven Road Bike Philippines) also failed to finish the demanding course.
In the under-23 race, Canvey teenager George Wood was taking part in his first national road race championships.
Wood, 18, has enjoyed a successful year but the Richardsons-Trek rider could not maintain that form in the race.
Despite losing his time-trial crown, Dowsett is expected to be named in Movistar’s Tour de France squad today.
ALEX Dowsett’s reign as British time trial champion is over after he was beaten by Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Dowsett finished 1 minute 21 seconds behind Team Sky’s Wiggins (pictured right), who posted a winning time of 53 minutes 56 seconds, in rainy conditions.
Dowsett had enjoyed unprecedented success in the event, having worn the stripes of the British champion for the last three years.
However, the race in Monmouthshire, Wales, was not typically suited to Dowsett, with the hilly route taking its toll on the Movistar man.
The halfway split showed Dowsett to be slower than Wiggins and Geraint Thomas – 57 seconds slower than Wiggins – and Dowsett could not recover.
Wiggins will now wear the famous stripes until next year’s race in Lincolnshire.
Dowsett is expected to find out today if he has been chosen to ride in his maiden Tour de France, which comes through Essex on Monday, July 7.
Earlier in the day Basildon pro Russell Hampton (AthlonSport Cloud Nine Telecom) set a fastest time of 59 minutes 16 seconds – becoming the first man to go under an hour.
However, his lead was short lived, with a number of riders following him home in quicker times.
Meanwhile, former Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta España stage winner David Millar was forced to retire.
Emma Pooley claimed the women’s title.
DON'T FORGET TO SEE TOMORROW'S ECHO FOR AN IN-DEPTH RUN THROUGH OF STAGE THREE OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE IN ESSEX - WITH ONLINE VIDEO