Just before 1.30pm 42 riders set off under grey skies from Gosbeck Village Hall into the blustery winds that would help shape the days racing. Once on to the course proper there was little action on the first half of the lap – the occasional attack was soon closed down and the peloton was soon at the top of Chapel Hill and passing the finish line for the first time.
The race soon burst into life with Helen McKay (Les Filles Racing Team) and Helen Ralston (Sigma Sport WRT) breaking away and by the time one full lap had been competed they had a lead of about five seconds.
As the second lap proceeded the lead steadily grew to thirty seconds and then to over a minute on the open windy downhill sections back towards Gosbeck.
Finally the key players in the peloton made themselves known and the race split apart as eight riders including Joscelin Lowden (Aprire-HSS), Nicole Oh (Les Filles), Nicola Toms (Aprire-HSS) and Madeleine Gammons (Team Vision Innovative Leisure) set off in pursuit of the lead pair.
Within half a lap nearing the top of the Chapel Hill climb the leaders were caught and eight became ten as they both settled back in to the group. A second group of nine riders trailed two minutes behind with the remaining riders straggling behind in ones and twos.
With the winds subsiding and the skies brightening the lead group of ten upped the pace and by the time they climbed Chapel hill for the fourth time they had a five-minute lead over the second group which had been reduced to three riders. The size of this gap forced the commissaires to end the race for all but the lead group after three and a half laps. Meanwhile, the lead group stayed together on the final lap with Nicola Toms assisting her team mate Lowdon and putting her in a position to make her decisive attack.
Finally, on the S bend near the top of Chapel Hill, Lowden powered ahead and as the finish line came in to view the lead had grown to ten metres over Charlotte Colclough (Bianchi Dama UK) and Ralsron in second and third place, and the race was effectively over. Crossing the line Lowden had time to raise one arm in celebration.
After the race Lowden admitted, “I looked back at the top of the hill, I didn’t realise how close they were”. Third place Ralston said: “At least on the (Chapel) hill the wind was behind us!”
1 Joscelin Lowden (Aprire-HSS)
2 Charlotte Colclough (Biancha Dama)
3 Helen Ralston (Sigma Sport)
4 Eryn Nolan (5th Floor)
5 Jessica Woodworth (OnForm)
6 Madeline Gammons (Vision-Innovative Leisure)
7 Helen McKay (Les Filles)
8 Nicola Toms (Aprire-HSS)
9 Gemma Sargent (OnForm)
10 Nicole Oh (Les Filles)
Full results tbc