Official Site 24.06.2014
Barnsley, S.Yorks, UK
Start: 53°33’14.78″N 1°28’54.71″W
This is a race that deserves support for three reasons. Firstly, the organisers have tried hard to make the prizes on offer in the women’s race equal to those in the men’s race (“I’m a woman in charge of about 40 male riders. They didn’t stand a chance when it came to the prize fund,” organiser Rachel Webb told me), it’s a very interesting parcours with a selection of difficult corners to make it far more technical than most crits, and it’s been organised by Team Cystic Fibrosis to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust charity – an excellent cause.
At the time of writing, there were no plans for any primes during the race.
The circuit is considerably more technical than many town centre crits with a number of very tight corners and a couple of reasonably hard (if short) climbs. None of the climbs are long enough to decide the outcome on their own; however, over the course of 45 minutes and numerous laps, they’ll certainly make their presence felt with aching muscles.
The trickiest corner of all is just metres after the start line: having begun outside the Town Hall (green placemark on our map) on Church Street, the peloton may be split seconds after the race gets under way by the very tight semi-hairpin right (1st Corner on our map, with a blue placemark)leading onto Regent St, with riders on the left and right of the main bunch of the peloton likely to find themselves suddenly out of space.
Once around the first corner, they have a 210m straight and downhill section on Regent St; though this road is wide enough to give any riders who didn’t hold their position around the corner opportunity to get back to where they want to be in the pack, the peloton will be traveling at high speed here making any attempts much more difficult. The right-hand corner (2nd Corner on our map) is tight but fast, favouring the most skillful riders. It leads into a 120m straight section along Eldon St, coming to a fast left-hand bend onto Keldon St; only 21m afterwards, the riders leave the road and enter a section through a pedestrianised area. The beginning of the section (two red placemarks) is technical as the entry into the pedestrianised area is slightly off-set from the end of the road: for solo riders and small groups the transition ought to be relatively simple, but larger groups may find space lacking and there may be clashes here.
Though there are three bends and several changes from brick to paving slab and back again on the 280m pedestrianised section, it doesn’t look to be especially technical. However, as it’s likely to be the section with the biggest number of spectators, there may be pinchpoints due to barrier positioning; this will be clear during practice laps. There is a short section of rough asphalt upon leaving the section, then a 183m straight along Peel St offers an opportunity for the pack to catch any riders who managed to get off the front on the preceding sections. Peel St ends at the 4th corner: the approach is wide, but the road it joins (Fenton St) is much narrower and will require changes in position. Riders on the right should be aware of a drain cover by the central white line, which may be very slippery in wet weather. After an uphill 43m, the 5th Corner takes the riders left onto Peel Parade – a grand name for a narrow alley between commercial buildings, continuing to climb for 75m (with a slight right-hand bend halfway along) to the 5th Corner. The climb becomes steeper on the approach then is briefly much steeper on the exit, briefly topping 8% gradient before continuing to climb more gently for the remainder of the next 300m straight along Shambles Street.
The 6th Corner is the last of the circuit and leads onto the short (60m) sprint to the finish. The corner, a fast left to rejoin Church St, features a pinchpoint at the apex; this favours solo riders, small groups and the first few riders in a peloton who will have sufficient space to take it at speed, giving them an advantage going into the sprint. Larger groups will be forced to take it more slowly, losing time. After crossing the finish line for the final time, the riders do not need to take the 1st Corner; instead, they can continue into a run-off area straight ahead.
1st £500; 2nd £250; 3rd £150; 4th £100; 5th £75; 6th £65; 7th £50; 8th £35; 9th £25. At the time of writing, no primes had been planned for the race.