Sunday the 2nd of April saw round two of the Women’s Teams Series with the riders heading to Virginia Water for the Dave Peck Memorial Ladies’ Race organised by Twickenham C.C. The race was held over 10 laps of the combined Valley End and Staple Hill course for a total race distance of 85k (54m).
The day’s drama started before the start flag dropped with Paralympic and World Champion Corrine Hall MBE (Matrix Pro Cycling) snapping her rear mech hanger while warming up. Fearing her race would be over before it had begun, Corrine was offered a loan bike and, with the rapid spannering of Caroline Stewart, pedals were swapped and she was able to take her place in the race.
Yet more drama was to occur during the neutralised run to the course proper with a four rider crash and a couple of punctures. Later in the race punctures would also put paid to the efforts of in form riders such as Helen Ralston (Sigma Sport WRT).
After a first lap during which most rider were able to stay with the pace, Becky Hoare (Army Ladies Cycling Team) and Natasha Reddy (Team Vision Innovative Leisure) started to push the pace. During the next few laps riders including Alice Lethbridge (Lovelo Squadra Donne) and the ever-present Becky Hoare kept the pressure on at the front of the race.
After 90 minutes of racing Hoare’s persistence paid off and the lead group became stretched with riders towards the rear losing touch and after another couple of laps the lead group was down less than thirty riders.
With three laps to go Tamara Davenne (Team Vision Innovative Leisure), Lauren Murphy (Liv CC-Epic Coaching) and Molly Patch (FusionRT Fierlan) got away from the peloton and managed to get a gap of around 60 seconds before they started to be pulled back.
As the three leaders started to climb Staple Hill for the penultimate time the lead was reduced to 30 seconds. As the chasing group pursued the leaders up the hill there was another crash taking out eleven riders towards the rear and leaving fifteen riders led by Corrine Hall to continue the chase. The gap was finally closed on the second half of the final lap.
With some riders close to being lapped the leaders started to climb the hill for the tenth and final time. As they crested the hill and entered the relative flat of the final eighty metres the sprint was for the line was on. Jessica Woodworth (Cycle Team OnForm) led by less than half a wheel from Jenny Holden (FusianRT Fierlan) with Natasha Reddy the depth of a wheel rim behind and Sian Botteley (Cycle Team OnForm) a bike length further back.
With forty metres to the line Reddy faded slightly and Botteley finely got in to her sprint. At twenty metres to the line Holden pulled level with Woodworth and Botteley passed Reddy for third place.
After the race a delighted Holden revealed she was the team’s ‘Plan B’ for the race. “The first plan was to try and get Molly (Patch) in a break, which worked. Plan B was me, Maryka (Sennema) who got caught in the crash was to be my lead out, but unfortunately this got delegated to Molly as she was the only one left,” she said.
Holden also commented on the days crashes: “Terrible surface, the majority of the crashes were caused by the pot holes.”
A frustrated Botteley commented, “There were three up the road and somehow we managed to miss it, we pulled it back but I did quite a lot of the last bit, pulling it back in that last half a lap. I felt absolutely fine, I was not too far back but I didn’t start sprinting until about 60 or 70 metres.”
1 Jennifer Holden (Fusion RT Fierlan; Cat. 2) 30pts
2 Sian Botteley (Team OnForm; Cat. 1) 25pts
3 Jessica Woodworth (Team OnForm; Cat. 3) 21pts
4 Natasha Reddy (Team Vision Innovative Leisure; Cat. 2) 17pts
5 Mathilde Pauls (Sigma Sport.co.uk; Cat. 1) 14pts
6 Madeleine Gammons (Team Vision Innovative Leisure; Cat. 2) 12pts
7 Amy Hill (Team OnForm; Cat. 1) 10pts
8 Lauren Murphy (Liv CC-Epic Coaching; Cat. 2) 8pts
9 Gabriella Nordin (SunSport Velo; Cat. 2) 7pts
10 Anna Henderson (Team OnForm; Cat. 2) 6pts
11 Alice Lethbridge (www.drag2zero.com; Cat. 2) 5pts
12 Molly Patch (Fusion RT Fierlan; Cat. 2) 4pts
13 Elspeth Grace (Kinetic-Welwyn; Cat. 3) 3pts
14 Alicia Speake (Team OnForm; Cat. 1) 2pts
15 Corrine Hall (Matrix Pro Cycling; Cat. 1) 1pts