Simmonds wins TT Nats, but isn’t going to Rio
Hayley Simmonds had a fantastic year last year when she seemed able to set faster times than anyone else on any time trial distance she chose, despite being in the final year of her PhD studies at Cambridge – which culminated in victory at the National TT Championships and an offer to turn professional with the United HeathCare team.
Now riding for Aerocoach having taken what she described as “the difficult decision” to leave the US-based team, Simmonds was clearly after a second victory as soon as she started the Stockton-on-Tees course and she was only just shy of three seconds faster than Podium Ambition’s Claire Rose (also hotly-tipped for the win) at the first timing point. This increased to over eight seconds by the second point, but by the third she was more than two seconds slower. It had, Simmonds explained later, been difficult to know what was really going and almost impossible to follow the information being given to her, but she must have sensed the need to bring the hammer down because at the fourth timing point she was leading again with a little over three seconds – and then she really lit the afterburners, turning that into 21.76″ by the fifth and, barring the unthinkable, clinching victory. Her final time, 47’33.36″ was 32.96″ faster than that set by Rose.
Winning the Championships twice in as many years, especially taking into regard the large margins by which she won on both occasions (she was 1’18.29″ faster than second-placed Molly Weaver at Cadwell Park last year) and the numerous wins she’s taken on a variety of courses and distances in between, has led many fans and others within the cycling world to question why it is that British Cycling has not selected the 27-year-old for the Olympics. Simmonds herself has, as wisely as you’d expect, declined to comment on the selection process, but took to social media to express her feelings about the way the national federation handled announcements.
“What I would like to highlight is the very unprofessional manner in which British Cycling have handled the selection process, especially regarding how I have had to find out about my non-selection for the Olympic Time Trial and Road Race,” she began.
“Never has this been more apparent than in the last two weeks (the period when we knew the selection would be made) and nobody at British Cycling has made any attempt to contact me officially, or otherwise, to inform me of my non-selection. It is very hard to communicate just how heartbreaking it is to find out you are not going to the Olympics from a combination of leaked newspaper articles, conversations at the Nationals HQ and today’s public announcement on the internet.”
Barnes sisters take 1-2 at RR Nats
Anyone who still needs to convinced that women’s cycling offers exactly the same level of action and excitement as the men’s could do far worse than watch the footage of the National Road Race Championships, where the attacks got underway almost right from the start with Jen George of Drops choosing the climb into Thorpe Thewles to make the first attempt, though she didn’t get far before the peloton engulfed her again. Sarah Storey (Podium Ambition) went almost immediately after George was caught and enjoyed considerable success, earning of around 1’20” which proved enough to worry the rest of the bunch – Dani King (Wiggle-Hi5) and Nikki Harris (Boels-Dolmans, and riding without her team leader Lizzie Armitstead who is taking time out to recover from the women’s tour and thus chose not to defend the title she won last year) went after her with another ten riders joining the chase but, with Storey using the high-wattage, head-down technique that has brought her so much glory in time trials, catching her seemed to take more effort than they perhaps expected and a few riders who might otherwise have been in contention may have used a little more of their reserves than they planned.
As Storey dropped off the back of the lead group (but, it has to be said, did an absolutely splendid job to remain out in front of the main group with help from her team mate Claire Rose and Bethany Crumpton of Podium Ambition’s development squad Boot Out Breast Cancer CC), the superstrong King attempted an attack of her own but could not away, and having picked up their pace to prevent her doing so the lead group extended the gap between itself and the pack to almost a minute. However, Essex powerhouse Nikki Juniper (Ford Ecoboost) had now taken charge of the peloton and set it to high speed pursuit mode; with her deciding the pace, the gap was reduced within a lap down to 25″.
Hannah Barnes was immediately pounced on by King when she attempted a late attack, being far too dangerous a rider to be allowed to go at this stage in the race and the group of ten remained tightly together as they entered the last stretches leading back into Stockton-on-Tees, seeting the scene for a sprint finish. What a sprint finish it was, with five of the strongest tried-and-tested sprinters in Britain facing up to five of the most promising young talents including, of course, the Barnes sisters – 23-year-old Hannah, with professional team Canyon-SRAM, and 20-year-old Alice with the domestic squad Drops. Sibling rivalry can lead to the most ferocious battles, and both sisters were absolutely ruthless, refusing to give the other even an inch as they launched themselves towards the finish. Hannah took it, with Alice right behind her.
King, like Simmonds, was on the Olympics shortlist; her aggressive, tactical riding and fourth plce finish in this race has also led many to ask why she too hasn’t been selected.
It’s all too easy to end up feeling despondent about how many women’s races suddenly, often with little or no warning, disappear off the calendar when funding and support dry up, but for the third time this year*, an event has been saved by the hard work of an organising team that refused to give up – the Woodstock RR, which proved very popular with fans and riders in years past, is back on in 2016.
“Thanks to some last minute wrangling, we have managed to save the Woodstock ladies race on the 10th of July!,” say organisers the Oxfordshire Road Race League and Cowley Road Condors. “We need good numbers for these races for them to continue. Please try and get along to push women’s racing in the region!”
BC points will be awarded, with league points going to riders from affiliated clubs.
Course – Woodstock Classic course, Marlborough School HQ
Sign on 12.00 to 13.30
Race starts 13.45
Cost will be £22.50 (+£5 for non affiliated riders) – due to timeline this is entry on the day only. More info here
Part of the Tarmac Tour of Hertfordshire, which takes place on Sundays throughout the summer at different venues in the county, Kinetic Cycles and CC Ashwell’s Letchworth GP attracted big crowds and a good selection of riders – and with U8/10/12/14 and 16 races for girls and two separate women’s races, for Cat. 2/3/4 riders and for novices, there was plenty to interest a women’s cycling fan (not to mention stalls selling proper coffee and assorted tempting food).
With four of their riders in the 2/3/4 race and five more from their parent club Welwyn Wheelers, Kinetic-Welwyn looked as near as it’s possible to be in a sport like cycling to the safest bet. However, cycling is cycling and it was not to be, despite the team’s well-drilled efforts (and a superb sprint by Ellie Cadzow) to catch Lovelo-Cinelli’s Anna Henderson, who got away early on in the race and simply could not be caught, rapidly lapping a large percentage of the field.
In the novice’s race, Dagnar Pfeifer faced stiff competition from Gil Carter, the Essex Roads CC rider who has returned to impressive strength following a horrific crash at the Redbridge Cycling Centre earlier this year in which she was very fortunate to escape more serious injury – having been there to see it, it was wonderful to see Gil racing again.
1. Anna Henderson (Lovelo-Cinelli; Cat. 2) 10pts
2. Ellie Cadzow (Kinetic-Welwyn; Cat. 2) 8pts
3. Charlotte Redden (GBCycles.co.uk; Cat. 2) 7pts
4. Amy Good (GBCycles.co.uk; Cat. 2) 6pts
5. Elspeth Grace (Welwyn Wheelers; Cat. A) n/a
6. Marina Dorosenko (Peterborough CC; Cat. 4) 4pts
7. Sophia Chastell (Kinetic-Welwyn; Cat. 2) 3pts
8. Claire Fisk (Welwyn Wheelers; Cat. 3) 2pts
9. Lesley Courtney (Welwyn Wheelers; Cat. 4) 1pt
10. Linda Dewhurst (Team Milton Keynes; Cat. 3) 1pt
11. Jennifer Lake (CC Luton; Cat. 2), 12. Christina White (Team Milton Keynes; Cat. 4), 13. Sophie Holmes (Team Terminator; Cat. A), 14. Kathryn Anderson (Welwyn Wheelers; Cat. 3), 15. Anna Carter (Kinetic-Welwyn; Cat. 3), 16. Rachel Dunn (Welwyn Wheelers; Cat. 4), 17. Rachel Heptonstall (Kinetic-Welwyn; Cat. 3), 18. Cindy Berry (UEA-Streetlife; Cat. 3), 19. Ottilie Quince (CC Luton; Cat. 4), 20. Melinda Atkinson (Lovelo-Cinelli; Cat. 3)
1. Dagnar Pfeifer
2. Gill Carter (Essex Roads CC; Cat. 4)
3. Ivana Prokopova (North Road CC)
4. Catherine Jones (Hitchin Nomads CC; Cat. 4) 5. Andrea Perry (North Road CC), 6. Suzy Hawkins, 7. Michelle Reeves, 8. Leanne Cutler (Hitchin Nomads CC), 9. Nicolette Chandler (Cat. 4), 10. Anne Hunt
The next round is Berkhamsted Castles Revolutions, taking place within the Hertfordshire town’s castle grounds on the 10th of July.
This weekend, NS is off to Herne Hill Velodrome for the FHHV Senior Team Championships – photos next week!
Charline Joiner takes Otley GP victory – British Cycling
Ryedale GP Guide – British Cycling
“The main event was the womens race. Again run over an hour and this time won by first cat racer, Rebecca Rimmington of Team WNT. Rimmington broke away early on and miraculously, conditions considering, managed to stave off the bunch for the entire duration. Intelligent racing from the peloton, sharing the workload through and off, through and off was all to no avail and the final sprint was merely for the consolation prizes. Second was Flora Gillies (Team 22) and third Ellen McDermott (Team Jadan-Weldtite)…” – Shoot The Bike Race at the Mossley CRT Memorial