Laura Massey picked up her most impressive victory so far in what has already been a successful season for the Ikon-Mazda rider when she won the Curlew Cup – a race which is widely considered the toughest of the British Cycling Women’s Road Series.
Massey, who rides for the IKON-Mazda team, won the 103km event after coming out on top in bunch sprint that included no fewer than six riders from rival team Giordana-Triton, including 2014 Road Series Champion Nikki Juniper, and a number of other strong riders such as Anna Christian of top-level professional team Wiggle-Honda and Lydia Boylan of WNT.
Riders tackled three laps of a 22.4km circuit followed by one lap of 35.9km, with the longer lap including the challenging Ryals hill at Gosforth. Inclement weather conditions also played a part with riders experiencing heavy rain, strong winds and cold temperatures throughout the day, which ensured the peloton stuck together throughout the first three laps before the racing started to become more combative on the second part of the parcours – ideal for Massey, who is respected as a tough rider and enjoys hard, hilly competitions. A few attempted attacks going into the longer lap came to nothing, with even Juniper’s phenomenal strength not enough when she tried her signature move of powering away into the headwind; but once it arrived at the Ryals the bunch split with Julie Erskine (Ikon-Mazda) and Chloe Fraser (Rytger) in the lead – an expected attack from Angela Hibbs (WattCycle), who has held the Strava QoM for the climb for just under two years, did not materialise. Erskine, perhaps deciding she’d be more valuable to her team if she preserved strength to do her part nearer to the finish, left Fraser to it and returned to the pack; Fraser reached the summit alone and, due to the hill preventing efforts to get an effective chase group organised, stayed out in front right into the final kilometres where Giordana-Triton took control at the front.
With so many riders ideally placed, it looked as though a Giordana victory was inevitable. However, at the final corner Massey saw a chance, leapt into a space at the front and gave it everything she had – an absolutely spectacular victory and one that required sheer strength and cleverness in equal parts.
“That was a strange race – for the first three laps we didn’t seem to be racing at all, just waiting for the hill,” Massey explained following her win. “I’m just happy to have won a national and finish ahead of Nikki for once!”
Jo Tindley of WNT won the the Sprints category.
1 Laura Massey (Ikon-Mazda) 2h50’12.337″
2 Eleanor Dickinson (Giordana-Triton) ST
3 Elizabeth Holden (Giordana-Triton) ST
4 Annasley Park (Giordana-Triton) ST
5 Nikki Juniper (Giordana-Triton) ST
6 Rebecca Nixon (Fusion RT-Gearclub-Bike Science) ST
7 Ella Hopkins (Ikon-Mazda) ST
8 Abby-Mae Parkinson (Giordana-Triton) ST
9 Chloe Fraser (Rytger) ST
10 Bethany Hayward (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) ST
11 Julie Erskine (Ikon-Mazda) ST; 12 Emma Grant (Ikon-Mazda) ST; 13 Lydia Boylan (WNT) ST; 14 Elizabeth Stedman (University of Sheffield CC) ST; 15 Hayley Simmonds (Velosport) ST; 16 Jennifer George (Les Filles) ST; 17 Charlotte Colclough (Jadan) ST; 18 Bex Rimmington (Aprire-HSS) ST; 19 Anna Christian (Wiggle-Honda) ST; 20 Clemence Copie (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) +1’07”; 21 Alice Cobb (Aprire-HSS) ST; 22 Karen Poole (Team WattCycle) ST; 23 Angela Hibbs (Team WattCycle) ST; 24 Gaby Leveridge (Velosure-Starley Primal) ST; 25 Tamara Davenne (Zappi’s) ST; 26 Hannah Payton (Corley-Drops.cc) ST; 27 Sophie Coleman (PMR@Toachim House) ST; 28 Jennifer Hudson (Fusion RT-Gearclub-Bike Science) ST; 29 Jose Gilbert (Velosure-Starley Primal) ST; 30 Ruth Summerford (PMR@Toachim House) ST; 31 Anna Turvey (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) +1′”13; 32 Eleanor Campbell (Fusion RT-Gearclub-Bike Science) +1’20”; 33 Anne Ewing (WV Breda) +2’01”; 34 Bethany Taylor (Bonito Squadra Corse) ST; 35 Becky Womersley (Corley-Drops.cc) +2’03”; 36 Claire Munton (Malteni RT) +2’27”; 37 Pia De Quint (WNT) ST; 38 Melissa Brand (Ikon-Mazda) ST; 39 Gabriella Nordin (GB Cycles.co.uk) +2’30”; 40 Charline Joiner (WNT) +2’50”; 41 Henrietta Colborne (Bonito Squadra Corse) ST; 42 Sian Botteley (Velosure-Starley Primal) ST; 43 Amy Brice ST; 44 Anna Marie Hughes (Bonito Squadra Corse) ST; 45 Gaia Casciello (Welwyn Wheelers) ST; 46 Gemma Sargent (Racing Chance Foundation) ST; 47 Tracy Best (Zappi’s) ST; 48 Amy Gornall (Aprire-HSS) +3’47”; 49 Sophie Lankford (WNT) +7’54”; 50 Rose Osborne (WNT) ST; 51 Jo Tindley (WNT) ST; 52 Clover Murray (Corley-Drops.cc) +12’42”; 53 Anna Weaver (Team WattCycle) +16’43”