Under gloomy grey skies that briefly threatened to make the race a wet one, some 30 or so riders took to the start line of the Coalville Wheelers Cycle Club road race, the final Women’s Team Series Race of 2016 and at 101km the longest of the year, writes Simon F. Blackwell.
The race looked like it could be a lively one with Chloe Weller (Army Cycling Race Team) trying to make a break on the first lap, but her effort as well as others in later laps by the likes of Charlotte Colclough (Team Jadan-Weldtite) and Chanel Mason (Army Cycling Race Team) failed to break the elastic back to the group.
The moderate pace continued in the wind that was a constant during the day and the main group lost a relatively small number of riders.
On the penultimate climb of the hill before turning in to the finishing rise Charmaine Porter (Army Cycling Race Team) looked strong but any plan to make a break was ruined when the commissaires stopped the race at the start of the final lap to warn riders about crossing white lines following earlier warnings to individual riders. When the race re-started a few minutes later it had been reduced to a one lap affair and calls in to question the decision not to take firmer action earlier.
Having settled for a sprint finish, the remaining 26 riders rounded the final corner and started the relatively gentle rise to the finish with Tamara Davenne (Zappi’s Cycling Club) leading them out and Sian Botteley (Starley Racing), Gemma Sargent (Aprire Cycles/HSS Hire), Louise Surridge (Team Ford Ecoboost) and Natalie Grinczer (Team WNT) a length behind.
With a perfectly timed burst of speed some 25 metres to the line, Botteley drew level with Davenne, then at 15 metres to go Davenne looked across at Botteley to see her surge ahead to an eventual one and a half length margin. Davenne was also pipped on the line for second by a very fast finishing Alice Sharp (SunSport Velo).
After finishing, a bubbly Botteley explained how her race nearly ended in disaster when she clashed with a rider on her left hand side at the start of the run-in, just managing to hold on to the ensuing wobble but losing speed and position.
The race also settled the 2016 Women’s Team Series title in favour of Les Filles Racing Team represented on the day by Nicole Oh, Clemence Copie, Sophie Curl and Louise Moriarty.
“Super pleased to have won the Women’s Team Series overall this year, with the final race at Coalville today. All team members played their part across the 7 (out of 8) races throughout the year. Thanks to Jon Miles for co-ordinating the series, and all the race organisers for putting on the races. Also thanks to our guests during the year, Louise Moriarty, Jayne Paine and Maryka Sennema, and support from our sponsors Imperial Cycles and Wildoo. Now time to party!! Friday 30th September at Look Mum No Hands. Be there!” – Les Filles
(Text and photos © Simon F. Blackwell)