Teams and Transfers
Aprire-HSS, which launched at the end of 2014, began announcing names featuring on its 2015 roster over Christmas. Emily McLoughlin(from PMR@Toachim House) was first, followed by news that 2015 rider Lucy Harper would remain onboard. Mel Brand (previously Ikon-Mazda) was named next, then Louise Laker (also previously PMR) on Monday, Lucy Chittenden (from Bonito) on Tuesday and Sophie Lankford (from WNT) on Wednesday, Agata Woznicka on Thursday, Alex Jenkins (from Onit) on Friday, Gemma Sargent (from Racing Chance) on Saturday and their tenth and final rider Harriet Mellor on Sunday.
Aprire-HSS are holding their team launch later this month; Neutral Service will be there to take some pictures.
Geoffrey Butler Cycles – perhaps better known as GBCycles.co.uk – have also been busy, listing six UK-based riders and three based overseas for their 2016 squad. The six in the UK are Michelle Forster and Louise Burnie (remaining with the team), Katharine Broadbent (from Crawley Wheelers), Charlotte Redden (from the 45 Road Club), Amy Good and Catherine Coley (from Ludlow Brewery RT; racing with GB Cycles in the Team Series only). The three based overseas, all members of the team in 2015, are Mary McFadzean, Stephania Magri and Linda Young.
Starley Pro Cycling, known in 2015 as Velosure-Starley Primal, posted a Facebook message on New Year’s Eve saying that they’d be revealing new sponsors and riders over the coming days, then got off to a good start by announcing that Gaby Leveridge would remain with the team. On Friday, the team revealed that Emily Attfield, Tanya Griffiths and Sian Botteley had also accepted new contracts, then went on to name new recruits Gabriella Nordin and Alice Lethbridge (from GB Cycles), Eve Dixon (from Team 22), Lauren Kirchel (from Chelmer CC and, NS believes, a rider of enormous potential), Irish road and track rider Autumn Collins, Hilde Oudman from the Netherlands and Claire Swoboda.
Giant-Halo, a junior squad with female and male riders who took numerous good results throughout 2015, has split into two independent teams: the girls retain backing from the world’s biggest bike manufacturer, albeit it now under the name of the firm’s women-specific range Liv, and have gained new sponsorship from Epic Coaching. Known as Liv CC-Epic Coaching, the roster is Jess Roberts (from RST), Lauren Murphy (from Welwyn Wheelers), Emily Tillett and Lizzie Bennett (both Cardiff JIF), Becky Raybould (from Poole Wheelers), Freya Thatcher and Pfeiffer Georgi (both Giant-Halo; Youth A), and the team is managed by Mark Dolan.
Welwyn Wheelers, one of the premier racing clubs in the South-East of England – and, going by the number of them that show up at track meets and road races alike, one of the biggest – revealed the existence of its own brand new women’s race team, sponsored by Kinetic Cycles. The aim to is provide young talent with experience that will enable them to build on the skills they already possess (if you’ve been to any races in the SE this year, you’ll probably already be aware that WW has some very promising youngsters coming up at the moment, on the road and off it).
Named Kinetic Cycles-Welwyn Racing, the team consists of Kathryn Anderson (Youth), Anna Carter (Junior), Sophia Chastell (Junior), Rebecca Maynard (U23) and Gaia Casciello (U23) with Cat. 2 riders Ellie Cadzow and Annabel Sill both riding for the squad and acting as mentors.
Brits at Azencross
Report and photos by Hans van der Maarel
The Azencross has a reputation for being a tough, muddy race with insane crowds. Well, the crowds were there, but the mud wasn’t. Contrary to previous years which were wet and/or very cold (last year saw most of the course covered in 2 inches of water with ice floating around in it) this time it was a dry and therefore very fast course. The women’s race was a battle between Sanne Cant, Pavla Havlikova and Ellen van Loy with Jolien Verschueren desperately trying to catch up after a bad start.
For the first two laps Nikki Harris was right there at the front of the race too, but she eventually had to abandon (due to illness). Helen Wyman finished 8th, bearing some visible marks of a fall on a slippery stony section – not such a bad result really, especially considering husband Stef’s post-race Facebook update describing how he’d had to pick stones out of her legs.
Helen’s result was impressive but it was Emily Wadsworth (below), who races CX in the UK with the Beeline-Gener8 team, who achieved the real stand-out British performance: 34th place at this level being a superb result for a rider of her age.
Hannah Payton also did not finish. No idea what happened to her, but there were various crashes reported by the speaker, including one that had two riders “being taken off the course by the medics”. Several others were riding around with bleeding wounds, so undoubtedly the fast course also caused more crashes.
LoVelo RR seeks race cam permission
Many things race organisers try to use to persuade riders that they should enter a race don’t actually appeal quite so much as the organisers think. Huge prizes, for example – because 90% of riders considering taking part know they have very little chance of winning. Prize equality, too – very much appreciated, of course, but it shouldn’t be used to advertise a race because it’s simply how things ought to be. Likewise, merely organising a women’s race does not guarantee a good field – there are plenty of women’s races these days, and riders can pick and choose those that appeal most, or are cheapest to get to.
Last week, Neutral Service reported on a new race that stood out for a number of reasons: the Lovelo Cinelli RR is not a crit, it’s a proper distance and organiser Nick Clarke informed us that as far as he’s concerned, women will enter it if they wish to do so and so he’ll make it as good a race as he can. What we didn’t know then is that Nick’s also applied to British Cycling for special dispensation so that onboard cameras can be fitted to some competitor’s bike, with the footage to be used in a video promoting women’s cycling.
So that’s a proper road race (not a crit!), on a decent 68km parcours, organised by somebody with a genuine desire to help promote and develop the sport. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Entries open 04.01.16 – and if you prefer crits, Biking Belles is on the same day. 🙂
Racing Chance race calendar
British Cycling lists all the upcoming races on its website, but it’s fair to say that it’s not the most user-friendly calendar in the world (the sheer amount of data on there doesn’t help matters, but a redesign might well be in order). With far more men’s races, finding women’s races on there can be a bit of a pain.
One way around that would be to have an entirely separate calendar, devoted entirely to women’s races… which is precisely what the Racing Chance Foundation, a charity set up by well-known rider Heather Bamforth to provide support and an alternative route into competitive cycling for female racers, is currently organising.