ADAM Blythe fought off a charging Mark Cavendish to become the men's British road race champion in a sprint finish in Stockton.

The Tinkoff rider passed 2013 winner Cavendish in the last 20 metres to take the national championship jersey, punching the air in delight, as thousands crowded the streets and country lanes to watch Britain's elite.

Blythe joins Cavendish as the only other non-Team Sky rider to win the event since the World Tour team first took part in 2009.

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The Northern Echo: Adam Blythe, right, celebrates after winning the Men's Road race alongside second placed Mark Cavendish, left, during the British Cycling National Road Championships in Stockton.

Adam Blythe, right, celebrates after winning the Men's Road race alongside second placed Mark Cavendish, left, during the British Cycling National Road Championships in Stockton.

Sky only entered two riders in this year's 207km race, with Andy Fenn finishing third to keep the team's run of podiums going.

Reigning champion Peter Kennaugh and Team Sky team-mates Ben Swift, Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe all missed the event.

Kennaugh has a broken collarbone, but has been named in Great Britain's squad for the Rio Olympics, Swift has a knee problem and Stannard and Rowe decided to sit the race out ahead of the start of the Tour de France on Saturday.

The Northern Echo:

Mark Cavendish on the start line. Photo: Matt Westcott

Cavendish opted against missing the race and plan his bid for the yellow jersey on stage one of the Tour - as well as Olympic gold on the track in Rio - but he was unable to hold off the 26-year-old from Sheffield in the finishing straight.

Cavendish had worked hard to catch a breakaway with just under three laps left of the main circuit, before the new lead group splintered with Team Sky's Alex Peters, Axeon's Tao Geoghegan Hart, Tom Moses (JLT Condor) and Blythe going clear.

Their lead reached 80 seconds but they were eventually reeled in on the penultimate lap of the 4.2-mile finishing circuit, with 12 riders competing in the sprint.

Cavendish came out of the last corner third, with Blythe on his wheel, and it was the Tinkoff rider who took victory, while Fenn took the photo finish for third a couple of bike lengths behind.

Blythe said: "I wanted that one. I was all day thinking about it, always trying to be in the right move. With a couple of laps to go I thought we might hold off the chasers but it came back together. Luckily I got round Cav (in the sprint)."

On managing to beat a rider with 26 Tour de France stage victories, Blythe added: "I think it's just different. Normally when Cav wins he has a lead-out train and today it was a hard day.

"We weren't really given any room as such, were always on the pedals and I've had one of the highest power (outputs) I've had all year so I'm happy and I think Mark's happy for me, sort of!"

The Northern Echo: Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes and Lucy Garner on the podium

Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes and Lucy Garner on the podium

Earlier, Hannah Barnes edged sister Alice to win the women's road race.

Hannah Barnes - who only returned from a six-month injury absence in April - took the sprint ahead of her sibling, whose second place was enough to retain her Under-23 title.

Lucy Garner took bronze as a 13-strong group contested the finish after staying clear of the peloton.

Hannah Barnes said: "It feels really great. It was a really big aim for me this year. I think having the winter off, it was a realistic aim for me to focus on this race.

"I didn't expect Alice to be so close to me really. I haven't raced with Alice in a long time so it was really nice to have her there. For her to have the Under-23 jersey as well, we have a very happy mum and dad."

Reigning champion Lizzie Armitstead pulled out on the morning of the race, reportedly due to an illness.

She wrote on Twitter: "Congratulations @bannahharnes a very worthy National Champion. Very disappointed not to race myself but I will be back next year."