Sharon Laws, dropped from Olympic team this week, is new national road champion

Armitstead and Pooley complete clean sweep for AA Drink-leontien.nl; Nicole Cooke sixth

by Simon_MacMichael   June 24, 2012  

Sharon Laws (pic AA Drink-leontien.nl)

Sharon Laws has become the new British women’s road champion in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire this afternoon, just days after she was dropped from the Great Britain squad for the Olympic road race, which takes place five weeks today.

News of the 37-year-old’s victory over two of her AA Drink-leontien.nl team mates – defending champion Lizzie Armitstsead and  2010 champion Emma Pooley – immediately led to questions being raised on Twitter about the timing of the announcement of the final line-up last week by British Cycling and the British Olympic Association.

Laws was one of two riders from an initial squad of six cut from the final selection - the other, Katie Colclough, also had cause for consolation today as she became the new British under-23 champion.

Consternation last week about Laws' omission from the Oympic squad wasn't confined to British fans either - on Thursday, Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, one of the favourites to win the women's road race next month, described the decision as "strange," adding, "Sharon has raced so strong."

Laws had got away early in the race with Armitstead and Pooley, as well as Nikki Harris of Young Telent. Sarah Storey of Escentual For Viored led the chase of the quartet, but they would not be caught.

Laws attacked with around a lap and a half to go, and rode solo for 15 miles to clinch victory. Nicole Cooke, British champion in ten out of eleven years from 1999 to 2009 and whom Laws helped win Olympic gold in Beijing, finished sixth.

Cooke has been named in the Olympic team along with Armitstead, Pooley and a third AA Drink-leontien.nl rider, Lucy Martin.

Quoted on the British Cycling website following her victory today, Laws, from Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, said: “I’m really happy that I’ll get the chance to wear the national champions jersey for the next year. I was disappointed not to be selected for the British Olympic road race team, but today’s win helps with that disappointment.”

Armitstead added: “This was a team effort, and it’s great to get the 1-2-3. Our plan was to have one of our team win the event, and we’ve achieved that so I’m really happy. I’m delighted for Sharon to get the win. She attacked really strongly and that proved enough to win the title.”

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Just bleeding stupid! Cooke has got less chance than me come the Olympic road race. Same as it ever was. People are too scared to try something radical. It's like I've been saying for ages to any bugger that would listen. Shanaze Reade's BMX track craft is weak her speed however is awesome! When she's tried leading out Vic Pendleton in a team sprint it's been disaster, but would they ever do the radical thing of letting Pendleton lead out Shanaze? Don't be silly! They'd have a record that wouldn't be broken for several generations. But why do that when you can get. Bronze for two pretty girls.

B.C......GET A BLOODY GRIP!! And well done Sharon, Lizzie and Emma.

"I thought of that whilst riding my Bicycle" Einstein on the theory of relativity

ribbledibble's picture

posted by ribbledibble [10 posts]
24th June 2012 - 16:13

like this
Like (0)

A victory that makes the team GB selectors choice look more like marketing than substance. Oh and 15 miles solo a team effort! give me a break.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
24th June 2012 - 17:02

like this
Like (0)

ribbledibble wrote:
Just bleeding stupid! Cooke has got less chance than me come the Olympic road race. Same as it ever was. People are too scared to try something radical. It's like I've been saying for ages to any bugger that would listen. Shanaze Reade's BMX track craft is weak her speed however is awesome! When she's tried leading out Vic Pendleton in a team sprint it's been disaster, but would they ever do the radical thing of letting Pendleton lead out Shanaze? Don't be silly! They'd have a record that wouldn't be broken for several generations. But why do that when you can get. Bronze for two pretty girls.

B.C......GET A BLOODY GRIP!! And well done Sharon, Lizzie and Emma.

Whats selection for the team sprint got to do with the price of fish or the road race team?
I do agree with you about Cooke.

posted by festival [94 posts]
24th June 2012 - 18:37

like this
Like (0)

Tossers. Sharon - you have been robbed by idiots in blazers; you have my sympathy. But what a great way to prove the point - 15 mile solo break - chapeau!!!!!

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [181 posts]
24th June 2012 - 22:35

like this
Like (0)

Maybe it's just me, but there seems to be contrast in management effectiveness between the male and female camps in BC. The men's team has little blips like the media's reports of Millar's ban being lifted and subsequent availability/increased competition for places etc,, but nothing to rival the persistent bickering that emanates from the women's team, and now they've made themselves look spanners by omitting the new national champ from the squad.

Or does all this simply result from the continued inclusion of Nicole cook in a team sport?

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
24th June 2012 - 23:01

like this
Like (0)

Egg on face time.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [899 posts]
24th June 2012 - 23:02

like this
Like (0)

Have you ever raced a bike with a team, Paul?

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [188 posts]
24th June 2012 - 23:56

like this
Like (0)

It does seem rather strange to say the least.

But I disagree with you strongly about Shanaze Read's ability on the track Ribbledibble - BMX track craft has a lot more to it than riding on the road or on a velodrome. I've seen her race BMX and she's very skilled, but a lot of things can happen in a BMX race and even the best riders will crash out at times.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1941 posts]
25th June 2012 - 9:17

like this
Like (0)

No but I've been watching Pro Racing for 40 years and a "team" win doesn't involve a 15 mile solo break.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
25th June 2012 - 9:27

like this
Like (1)

Fantastic effort. That and the organisation of the whole event shows up British Cycling.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
25th June 2012 - 11:08

like this
Like (0)

Brailsford doesnt often make mistakes, but this time he has made a whopper in not including Sharon Laws in the Olympic team.
There is no arguing that Nicole Cooke was a phenomona, but her performance has been steadily declining since the double of Bejing medal and Rainbow jersey.
Now is not the time for nostalgia in selecting who rides for the UK. A rethink is needed.

posted by Regoak [2 posts]
25th June 2012 - 12:16

like this
Like (0)

I just assumed that this result was a gift between team mates.

posted by Parkaboy [10 posts]
25th June 2012 - 13:37

like this
Like (0)

Exactly, if a team can do this then that team is an obvious choice.

Cooke has changed teams more times than she has changed whatever. When she was head and shoulders above the competitio it didnt matter. Those days are gone, and I think the selection criteria should change

posted by Regoak [2 posts]
25th June 2012 - 18:46

like this
Like (1)