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Welsh teen Josh Tarling blows away field to become British men’s time trial champion

21 Jun 2023 4 minute read
Wales’ Josh Tarling (centre) has become the youngest ever elite men’s time trial winner (Ian Parker/PA)

Teenager Josh Tarling blew away the rest of the field to become the British men’s time trial champion as Lizzie Holden claimed the women’s crown at the Croft Circuit near Darlington.

Tarling is just 19 but the 6ft 4in tall Welshman towered over his rivals in more ways than one, putting more than a minute into them over the course of 41.1 kilometres as he won in a time of 48 minutes 50 seconds in windy conditions in north Yorkshire.

Bahrain-Victorious’ Fred Wright was second, 63 seconds down, with Tarling’s Ineos Grenadiers’ team-mate Connor Swift in third, but nobody could touch the young Welshman as he claimed his first win at senior level.

“It sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?” said Tarling, who was snapped up by the Ineos Grenadiers on a three-year deal last winter.

“I’m super happy. We had a plan, it was definitely an aggressive plan and we gave it a go.”

Last year Tarling won the world time trial title at junior level.

Here, he skipped the under-23 category and only looked out of place in terms of how dominant he was.

Tarling is 360 days younger than Josh Charlton, who took the men’s under-23 title earlier in the day.

Super talent

Wright, who came into the race still dealing with some raw emotions following the death of his team-mate Gino Mader at the Tour de Suisse last week, could only admire Tarling’s ride.

“As a ride, I was really pleased with it, Wright told the PA news agency. “It’s just a shame there was a massive kid who’s put a minute into me, so what can you do?

“He’s a super talent and I think he’s going to be the next big thing in time trialling.”

It is the third year in a row an Ineos rider has taken the title. Ethan Hayter – winner of the last two national championships – was unable to defend his title due to a broken collarbone, while Geraint Thomas also withdrew and is now expected to also sit out Sunday’s road race.

But even with some elite riders missing, Tarling’s margin of victory left little doubt as to his superiority.

Holden won the women’s event by 14 seconds from Anna Morris and 16 from Elinor Barker, completing the 27.4km course – two laps of the route – in a time of 37 minutes and two seconds.

The 25-year-old Manx rider was third in last year’s time trial as Joss Lowden took the title, and second as an under-23 rider in 2019, but this was her first time on the top step of the podium.

“It’s very special,” Holden said. “It means a lot. I had high expectations because I’ve been close many times before, and with Joss not being here, I thought it could actually be possible.

“But you never know until it happens. When I found out after I crossed the line, I couldn’t believe it.”

Holden, who left British squad Le Col-Wahoo last winter to move up to the WorldTour level with UAE Team ADQ, now hopes the win will help her case as she vies for selection for the Tour de France Femmes at the end of the month.

“Hopefully this result helps my side of it, but in the next few weeks I should hear,” said Holden, who rode in the inaugural edition of the race last summer.

“It was pretty special. I’ve never experienced a race organised like that and with the fans, it definitely felt like a different level, that’s for sure.”

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