Before Alice Barnes won the double in June, Emma Pooley was the only woman to have won both national road and time trial titles in the same year. Indeed, she is only the fifth woman to win both titles since the national federation created the women’s TT championships in 2000; her sister Hannah is one of the others.
Starting her career as a mountain biker, her first international road race was riding in support of Lizzie Armitstead (now Deignan) at the 2014 Worlds where she impressed, leading the peloton late in the race.
She progressed quickly, racing for GB the following year before joining Drops in 2015. Bagging top-10 finishes in WorldTour races, she progressed each year, before joining Canyon-SR AM at the beginning of last season, closing the year with gold in the World Championship team time trial.
Though the Nationals are her only individual victories, she has performed consistently well this year, especially against the clock, with the recent Boels Ladies Tour prologue the only TT where she finished outside the top 10.
“We were working around what she had done in the past, but also on not doing too much and getting sick, and she’s had a really good season,” says new coach Dean Downing. “We didn’t know what Alice could do and she won the Nationals,” he continues. “She got her 20-minute power pb at that race and that tells me she’s gone the best she’s ever gone. If she gets a medal at the Worlds that’s fantastic, but if she does her best power in that race, that’s the best she could have done and you have to be happy.”
Barnes has also gone well on the road, taking second place behind lone escapee Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) on an uphill stage finish in a stage of August’s Ladies Tour of Norway, in what was perhaps the standout performance of the race.
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