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BC reveals 2016 Road Series details

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Tens of thousands of people gathered in Lincoln to watch the National Championships in 2015, inspiring the organisers of the Lincoln GP to add a women’s race in 2016. Its inclusion in the National Road Series is good news, but it may be time for the Series to undergo big changes

British Cycling has announced the dates of races making up the 2016 Women’s Road Series – and the good news is that the Series is up to nine events thanks to the addition of three new races and the return of the Essex Giro 2-Day, which was cancelled last year.

Manx International GP, Douglas, Isle of Man – 10.04 (new)
Tour of the Reservoir, Edmundbyers – 16/17.04
Cheshire Classic, Weaverham – 24.04
Lincoln GP – 15.05 (new)
N. Bucks Festival of Cycling GP, Newton Longville – 29.05 (new)
Essex Giro 2-Day – 11/12.06
Curlew Cup, Stamfordham – 19.06
Otley GP – 29.06
Ryedale GP, Ampleforth – 10.07

However, whilst the new events are undoubtedly a good thing, the dates may well cause some problems. For example, the Series kicks off with a new addition on the 10th of April, the Manx International GP Feminin at Douglas on the Isle of Man – which could prove to be an excellent race, but could just as easily be hamstrung due to the difficulty and expense many riders will face in getting there. Only a week later, it’s the Tour of the Reservoir in Co. Durham, widely considered the hardest race in British women’s cycling as well as one of the most spectacular, on the 16th and 17th of April. With many riders and even whole teams having little choice but to choose which event to enter due to expense (the Isle of Man ferries are notoriously pricey, especially for cars and vans) and issues getting two long weekends off work in a row, both events may suffer from a reduced field.

One week later it’s the Cheshire Classic – another tough race (even tougher this year, too) but one that’s far easier for most riders to reach, provided they can get another weekend off so close to the previous two races. Following a three-week break, the Series arrives at another new addition, the Lincoln GP on the 15th of May; afterwards the gaps between races again become short – two weeks to the new North Bucks Festival of Cycling GP, two weeks to the Essex Giro*, one week to the Curlew Cup, ten days to the Otley GP and then eleven days to the Ryedale GP. Whilst all of these are much easier to reach than the first two events, reaching them will still take a significant amount of time for a significant number of riders, requiring more long weekends off and preventing those riders who cannot arrange to get them from entering.

Race organisers tend to dislike it when the national federation changes dates, but they also don’t like it when they have difficulty attracting a full start list because fewer riders means less competition (and all too often they blame the riders themselves, when it’s not their fault at all) – so, with numerous other races taking place during the three months for which the Series runs, if the Series is to continue delivering the high quality of competition it’s offered in the past BC may need to consider extending it into August and September. The alternative would be to reduce the number of events, but with those that have been held in years past proving to be fantastic races and those that are being added next year promising to be equally as good, it would be a great pity to lose any of them.

*In 2015, the Essex Giro was cancelled because BC’s Eastern Region was unable to provide a sufficient number of accredited race marshals. In 2016, it’s due to take place over the same weekend as three men’s races taking place within the same region. All of which will require accredited marshals…

 

Teams and Transfers

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eliteVelo-Kalas (© Richard Fox Photography)

One of 2015’s (many) success stories with their easily-recognised black, white and green jerseys in evidence everywhere from local West Country events to the National Championships, eliteVelo-Kalas have new sponsors for their second year which has permitted them to take on new riders Grace Jordan, Claire Parkin, Hetty Summerhayes (from Mid-Devon CC), Sophie Williams (from Cardiff JIF) and Karen Wyle SmithJulia Hesselberg, Jenny Powell, Alice Staniford, Hester Stembridge and Badger the dog remain with the team.

The team will also feature an “associates” squad made up of Francesca Morgans-Slader along with Tim Carpenter, Thomas Rutter, Thomas Staniford and Roy Wyle Smith. New sponsors Costa Cycling Experience, Bloc Eyewear, Kask helmets, and Ride Plymouth join eliteVelo Cycle Coaching,  Kalas Sportswear,  Powerbreathe and PDT Strength and Conditioning in backing the team. Badger the dog also remains with the squad.

PMR@Toachim House added another name to their track team roster: Amber Joseph, a Cat. A rider who has collected a total of 113 points with very promising results throughout 2015. Meanwhile, two new names seem set to join Giant-HaloEmily Tillett and Lizzie Bennett, both currently with Cardiff JIF.

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