British national champions recall how they won their stripes, the pride in wearing them for the season and the effect it had on the rest of their careers. Podium fines, finish line crashes, curious combines, white shorts and unlikely alliances – these are the stories behind the jerseys.
Lisa Brambani (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989)
Vicky Thomas and me got away in 1986, and she sat on my wheel for the last 30km, then it came to the sprint and she put me in the gutter. We both ended up falling off with less than 100 metres to go. My husband jumped over the barriers, put me back on the bike, and pushed me over the line with no chain on. They’d have relegated her anyway, so the result stood.
My mum couldn’t come to the last two, because she felt how I feel now when [my daughter] Abby-Mae is racing, incredibly nervous. I was always confident but you never know at the nationals. It sometimes throws up odd results.
I couldn’t have won in the style I did in the modern age – the standard is so much higher. I would be totally marked out of it. There’s only the likes of Lizzie [Deignan], Dani [King], Hannah [Barnes], that can be marked and still win.