National Trophy ends in Milton Keynes
Temperatures hovering around zero and a couple of inches of snow didn’t prevent a good turn-out for the final round of the 2015/16 National Trophy at the Milton Keynes Bowl last Sunday, with several of the top names in British cyclocross gathering to race in the mud.
The crowds were respectable considering the conditions, not least of all due to the presence of four newly-crowned National Champions in the women’s races alone – Ava Oxley-Szilagyi, Megan James, Sophie Wright and Maddi Smith were all in attendance, though only Sophie took a victory (her first in a National Trophy event) on the day with a superb performance in the Elite against Ffion James, Beth Crumpton and several other strong rivals.
The Elites were far from the only highlight, however, with fantastic battles going on in the other classes: Anna and Maddie Wadsworth battling first Ava and then one another for the honours in the U14s, Megan James going full-guns in her effort to stop Poppy Wildman taking yet another victory in the U16s and Helen Pattinson’s fine triumph despite racing in the snow for the first time in the Veterans. There’s a lot of talent right across the board in British women’s ‘cross right now, and next season’s Trophy promises to be even better.
Transfers and Team News
Matrix take on new recruit
British team Matrix Fitness have signed up their first U16 rider Alderney Baker, previously with Team Corley Cycles, who will join the squad with immediate effect following the end of the 2015/16 cyclocross season.
“I’m so excited to be given this huge opportunity to race for Matrix Fitness. At my age, to be able to learn from some of the best riders and team management in British women’s cycling really is a dream come true. I can’t wait to get started,” Alderney said.
Primarily known as a ‘cross rider, Alderney has taken several promising results this season including victory at the Southern Region Championships, the Bill Higson Memorial and Round 8 of the Wessex League. She is currently ranked 15th in her class by British Cycling, she has 146 points in ‘cross; on the road she has 62 points and is ranked 9th Cat. B.
Team Jadan 2016
One of Neutral Service’s favourite UK squads since their establishment, Team Jadan have been busy announcing their new riders and sponsorship over the last week.
The team includes Junior, U23 and Senior riders, so they’ll have a presence at many races this year. They’re a friendly team, so let them see your race photos on Facebook!
Eve Martin (Jadan), Charlotte Dalton, Lorna Bowler, Sarah Bradford, Jenny Holl, Rhona Callander
Louise Scupham (Jadan), Jen McAndrew, Olivia Tomlinson
Ellen McDermott, Charlotte Parnham, Charlotte Colclough, Vikki O’Brien, Elizabeth Burrows, Laura Cheesman
Victoria Hood takes on management duties, having decided to step back from racing this season. The new sponsors are North Ferriby-based bike shop Vive le Velo and internationally-known bike, motorbike and car maintenance product manufacturer Weldtite.
Velo Schils Racing Team
The team known last year as Carnac-Planet X has new backing from Colchester-based bike shop Velo Schils-Interbike, the name by which the outfit will now be known.
The roster is made up of Lou Collins, Iona Sewell, Sandra MacKay, Nicola Soden, Caroline Guest and also Kat Kimber, previously with London Phoenix – who picked up the team’s first victory of 2016 when she won at Lee Valley Velopark on the 16th of January.
Starley launch new website
A nice shiny website is an absolute must in this day and age (hey, let’s face it – the fact that it’s so much easier to follow women’s cycling thanks to the internet, rather than having to search out scraps on mainstream media, where journalists are controlled by risk-adverse bean-counters, is one of the reasons the sport has grown so much in the last five years). Starley Pro Cycling has a rather good example, featuring bios of the team members and plenty of other good stuff. Find it here.
WNT expand race sponsorship
Metal-cutting tool company WNT, best known in the women’s cycling world as sponsors of the successful Team WNT, is increasing its backing of the sport and will this season become an official partner of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series. The company already backs the Lincoln GP.
New TT team SSLL
New women’s team SSLL will focus primarily on contesting time trials whilst also supporting its riders as and when they compete in road races and other events.
“A key part of the team ethos is to nurture & develop new talent and we are very keen to extend this to the women’s area and would be looking for junior riders showing potential within cycling who have a desire and commitment to maximise their potential. We realise junior riders will have a broad racing focus and we will support all areas of their racing,” says a press release posted on Women’s Cycling UK, Neutral Service’s Facebook alter ego.
The team, sponsored by Leeds-based firm Selectrical Services, promises funded state of the art BioRacer / NoPinz race, training kit & leisurewear, funded personalised coaching from a coach of the rider’s choice or, if the rider does not have a preferred coach, assistance in finding one, , substantial support towards the cost of the ‘right’ Giant TT bike for the rider, race expenses, fully funded sports nutrition, funded aero-dynamic testing via Aero-Coach, access to a team car for key events and support at key races & a strong support network from experienced and successful racers.
Interested individuals are invited to email their full racing CV to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Lovelo Cinelli RR circuit video
Neutral Service reported on the new Lovelo Cinelli RR a few weeks back because we were impressed by the organisers’ determination to support and promote women’s cycling, and because they’re also making it a point to make it as good a race as they possibly can so that riders will want to enter. What they’re not going to do is harangue people into signing up: something that many riders say they find very annoying, and may even make them decide not to enter a race.
Apparently, this simple formula works rather well: just three weeks since entry opened, and two-and-a-half months before race day, more than 40 riders have signed up.
Anyway, Lovelo Cinelli are included in the news again this week because they’ve been out round the circuit with a camera attached to one of their bikes, so we can all have a preview of what the race might be like…
Crits at the Park now open to Cats. 2/3/4s
Crits at the Park will in future be open to female riders in Categories 2, 3 and 4 rather than Elite, 1 and 2 as has previously been the case.
The Crits, organised by the Medway Velo Club, have been taking place for several seasons and are well-run events but have not always enjoyed a large number of women taking part, probably due to the long distance many riders need to travel to reach the Cyclopark at Gravesend. By opening them up to a much larger number of riders eager for the opportunity to gain as much valuable race experience as possible, they’ll hopefully benefit from much larger attendances in future and continue to be run for many more years.
The first meet takes place on the 2nd of April; entry is £15 online via British Cycling.
Britain’s two new UCI pro teams, Podium Ambition and Drops Cycling, unveiled their new kits.
In Case You Missed It…
“Every now and then I’m asked – “why do you say ‘women’s cycling’? Surely it’s just ‘cycling’?”. It come up in answers to the survey Dan and I ran, and sometimes I’m asked online and in real life, from people who just wonder, or sometimes from people who think I’m doing the sport damage, or restricting the growth, by adding gender into the mix when it’s unnecessary…”
“There is of course, more to life than riding your bike. One thing that is yet to be seen in women’s cycling is what happens once you no longer are able to race at a professional level, if that’s the career option you decide to take. Have a look at people who have been professional cyclists (male and female) and find out what they are up to nowadays…”