Introducing Team Ford Ecoboost!
These days new teams start up every year, some of which immediately have that aura which says they’ll be successful (WNT, for example), others less so. When a new team is run by no less a figure than two-time National Road Series Champion and current National Circuit Race Champ Nikki Juniper, joined by a hand-picked selection of riders with backing from a household name sponsor, you know it’s going to be big.
The team roster is Juniper, Charline Joiner, Henrietta Colborne, Lizzie Holden, Charlotte Broughton, Julie Erskine and Anna Turvey along with two development riders Clover Murray and Adele Martin.
Having sponsorship from a company such as Ford is good news for women’s cycling, as other potential backers see a such a well-known firm getting involved and realise the sport has lots to offer. But for that to happen, they’ll want to see results – and with such a strong line-up, this team ought to be more than able to deliver them. “I was very selective and hand picked the girls – I wanted a mix of youth and experience with some pure raw talent and grit,” Nikki told Neutral Service. “I wanted team players; we have sprinters, climbers and all-rounders and I’m pleased.”
“I want it to be a nice team as well; I try to always try to come across as approachable and down to earth and I want the girls to follow that as well,” she added – look out for them at the races next season and say hello.
Women’s Eastern RR Champs
The Women’s Eastern Racing League, an organisation which provides a focus for women’s competitive road cycling and support for riders in the British Cycling Eastern Region, announced on Monday the 21st that a women’s Eastern Region Road Racing Championship will be held for the very first time next year.
The event will take place on the 21st of August (add it to your calendars now, folks!) and will be hosted by CC Sudbury – the same club that organised 2016’s superb Sudbury RR at which 60 athletes raced, making it one of the biggest women’s cycling events to have ever taken place in the region. A 2017 edition is also on the cards, to be organised by VC Norwich – the club that organises the popular road race at Cressingham each year.
The Aviva Women’s Tour, which stayed largely within the Eastern region in 2014 and 2015, proved that there is a public appetite for the sport with vast crowds at the start and finish every day, and is rightly credited as being a major factor in the growth of women’s cycling in the East and throughout Britain ever since. However, it’s the hard work carried out by organisations such as the WERL, CC Sudbury and VC Norwich that is the backbone of amateur women’s cycling – indeed CC Sudbury, before having to increase entries to accommodate demand, stated that is was willing to run the race “even at a loss” to support the sport. So, be certain to book the 21st off work and go along to help make this event the enormous success it deserves to be.
Lovelo Cinelli RR
If you can’t make it to the first round of the National Road Series on the Isle of Man on the 10th of April, Lovelo Cinelli RT have provided a very tempting alternative – an all-new Cats. 2/3/4 women’s race taking place near Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire.
In a nation full of crits, where seemingly most new races are crits, a race such as this one is very welcome: it’s a proper road race, 68km in length over 5.75 laps of an interesting parcours with sufficiently technical, fast bends to keep things fun and even a little bit of climbing – not much, obviously, because this part of the world is “gently rolling” rather than hilly, but in the region of 117m gain on each lap, it’s just enough for the organisers to be able to add a QOM.
Finally, it’s not just the distances covered by the men’s and women’s races: Lovelo Cinelli is also insisting on equal prizes. “The prizes are yet to be decided but whatever they are they will be equal,” organiser Nick Clarke told Neutral Service. “Yeah, I don’t get the inequality – it’s annoying.”
We also discussed how some race organisers go overboard when trying to persuade women to sign up, eventually putting them off altogether. “They’ll enter if they want to, or if it suits them,” Nick said. “I’m OK with that.”
That was more than enough convincing. See you there.