The CiCLE Classic is always a tough race with its numerous off-road sectors and short, steep climbs. Put together to create a British version of the notorious and feted Belgian classics and Paris-Roubaix, the women’s version has become enormously popular with fans and riders alike – because a race as tough as this is an excellent opportunity to show just how tough the women who compete in it are, too.
We caught up with the winner, RST-Cycle Division’s Emily Nelson, to find out how the event panned out for her.
Neutral Service: Emily, well done! How was the race for you today ?
Emily Nelson: It was a really tough race, there’s a lot of of off-road sectors and a couple of QoM’s, so for me it was just about staying in the front and hoping I had the legs for the sprint at the end.
NS: How did you cope after the crash at the start and the long wait of an hour before the race could be restarted?
Emily: It was pretty tough and it was especially tough for me – my little sister was in the crash and I didn’t know what had happened and if she was OK. It was just about sitting, waiting and hoping everyone was ok.
NS: How did you cope with the changes to the course after the crash? Did you just forget about them and follow the lead car ?
Emily: To be honest I didn’t really know what was happening. I didn’t even know how far it was to the finish line, so when I saw the Melton Mowbray sign I thought it was probably about a kilometre to go… that was really all we had to go off; we just followed the lead car, heads down racing.
NS: You came round the final corner in the bunch, what was going through your head at that point ?
Emily: I remember reading in the race manual that the corner was 450m to go, so I remember thinking but I didn’t want to be first into it – I wanted to jump about halfway down the finish straight. Me and Bex Durrell [Brother UK-Tifosi p/b On Form) sprinted neck and neck for a good two or three hundred metres.
NS: How did it feel when you knew you had it ?
Emily: Ohhh, shocked more than anything but really really happy. Last year I punctured so didn’t get to finish – I just really wanted to finish the race, it’s such an iconic race and iconic course, everybody wants to win this one, so I am so happy!
NS: What’s next for you ?
Emily: A track race next weekend in the Czech Republic with the British team, then in a couple of weekends’ time the National Championships on the road.
NS: Congratulations on the win!
What…? That’s not enough photos for you? Well, here are the rest of Simon’s and John’s – fill your boots!
Photos and text © Neutral Service/Simon F. Blackwell/John Lloyd
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