UK’s first ever Junior women’s race…
…which makes it arguably the most important event on the British cycling calendar this year. NS hands you over to women’s cycling stalwart (and father of Isla, who recently joined the Matrix p/b Corley Cycles team), Steve Rush:
“If you’d like to know why this is so vitally important, please read on: Amazing as this may sound, there has never been a Junior Women’s road race in the UK. Not a single one. Ever. If you consider that in Belgium alone there will be 35 such races in 2016, perhaps then you’ll understand why the drop-off rate of 16/17 year-old female racing cyclists in the UK is so high, and why some of us are so passionate about addressing this. The phenomenal success of Lizzie Armitstead has happened in spite of the present UK racing structure, not because of it. Please help ensure that the hopes, dreams and aspirations of our future Lizzies become a reality, not just a pipe dream. I thank you for listening, and perhaps sharing.”
Riders; enter here – but be quick, because the race is already more than half full. Fans; please, please try to get to see this race – the more spectators it gets, the better we can show British Cycling that they should be investing in Junior women’s cycling.
Drops complete training camp – and head for Le Samyn
Drops Cycling recently registered as a UCI team, enabling them to race with the big guns in Europe and beyond, which sent the “retweet” and “like” buttons on social media into overdrive – check ’em out on Twitter and Facebook to see how high their public profile is. Because of that, NS thought they didn’t really need us any longer… but then directeur sportif Karla Boddy got in contact to ask if we might like some photos of their recent training camp in Majorca, so here they are.
Wednesday gave us our first chance to see the new team race, at the fifth edition of the famous Le Samyn des Dames, a UCI 1.2 event of 112.8km taking place in Belgium. The team roster was Rebecca Durrell, Lucy Shaw, Jen George, Tamiko Butler, Sophie Coleman and Rose Osborne – more details on how they got on below!
Brits at Le Samyn
In addition to the six Drops riders, 15 other British riders raced at Le Samyn – which shows how much the sport has come on in just a few years since the days when there’d be at best one or two (but more often no) British names on the start lists of big European events.
Whilst the race was a little slower this year thanks to difficult cross winds and muddy conditions, it played out along broadly similar lines with a very strong and fast lead group getting away, an assortment of riders either dropping off the back of the lead group or unable to bridge to them and a much larger peloton five minutes back.
Nikki Harris, who signed up to Dutch team Boels-Dolmans at the start of the year, was the fastest Brit and the only one to get into the lead group – she finished a very impressive 14″ behind the winner (her team mate) Chantal Blaak. Emma Johansson (or UK-registered Wiggle-Hi5) is plenty strong enough for the attack she launched in the action-packed final 10km to be a real threat and she was marked by both Harris and Floortje Mackaij (Mixte 1), who prevented her getting away solo and helped to ensure Blaak, accompanied by lieutenants Demi De Jong and Christine Majerus, successfully returned to near the front. Wiggle’s Amy Pieters went with them to protect Johansson and give her chance to recoup a little strength for her final attack a few kilometres later; this time, Blaak was with her and the pair drove a 32″ gap between themselves and the chasers for a short time. This was reduced by more than half as the line approached, where Blaak beat her rival by the merest fraction of a second.
World U23 Cyclocross Champ Evie Richards (Great Britain NT) finished five minutes after Blaak, but when the fact that this was her third road race is taken into consideration her 28th place, very near the front of her group, is a very credible result – if she can improve on the road as rapidly as she did in ‘cross, the 18-year-old will be worrying the top women in the world within the next couple of seasons. Lucy Shaw (Drops), who is also 18, performed very well too, recording a time only 18″ behind Richards for 58th place.
Congratulations to all the British riders that took part. Full results are here.
1 Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) 3h03’36”
6 Nikki Harris (Boels-Dolmans) +14″
28 Evie Richards (Great Britain NT) +5’00”
29 Alice Barnes (Great Britain NT) ST
42 Amy Roberts (Wiggle-Hi5) +5’18”
58 Lucy Shaw (Drops CT) ST
61 Lucy Garner (Wiggle-Hi5) +5’23”
63 Rebecca Durrell (Drops CT) +5’30”
64 Sophie Coleman (Drops CT) ST
65 Jenn George (Drops CT) ST
84 Manon Lloyd (Great Britain NT) +6’57”
85 Emily Kay (Great Britain NT) ST
92 Abi Dentus (Great Britain NT) +11’34”
23 Hayley Simmonds (UHC) – crashed, see her injury photo here
78 Rose Osborne (Drops CT) – bad luck for Rose who was doing well until a front tyre blow-out caused a crash, minor injury and loss of time
96 Emily Nelson (Great Britain NT)
122 Josie Gilbert (Footon-Velosport)
124 Hetty Niblett (Footon-Velosport)
125 Detta Guerrini (Footon-Velosport)
76 Tamiko Butler (Drops CT)
158 Claire Thomas (Isorex)
“1st race of 2016 done. Cobbles, crosswinds and mud. Loved every second. Thanks Le Samyn and thanks to my awesome team. Onwards and upwards!” – Rebecca Durrell
More Brits abroad
Alice Cobb, who is now with Matrix p/b Corley Cycles, guested for French squad Languedoc Roussillon Le Boulou for her first race of the season at Santa Eulalia de Rocana in Northern Spain. Read all about it here.
Team 22 training
EliteVelo-Kalas Training Camp
The south-west’s top team were also off in Spain for their training camp with their sponsors Costa Cycling Experience and, being EliteVelo (because they’re one of those teams that understands the value of social media, to promote themselves and women’s cycling in general), they’ve produced a selection of nice videos as well as published a report.
Suzie Ciszewska to attempt mileage record
Better known as Sussie Sussie (and from her time with women’s track team Velociposse), Zuzanna Ciszewska has publicly announced her intention to attempt to break the record for most miles cycled in a year by a female rider – inspired by Billie Fleming, who set the current record of 29,603.7 miles right back in 1938, and Kajsa Tylen, who is is spending 2016 attempting to set a new record of 36,000 miles. Naturally, NS wanted to know more…
Currently waiting for her record application to be approved, Suzie is likely to begin her attempt on the 1st of January in 2017 – keep up to date with the latest news here. NS wishes both Kajsa and Suzie all the very best with their attempts.
The Women’s Eastern Racing League are holding a race training day at the Redbridge Cycling Circuit on Sunday 6th March. Priced at £22.29, the session features four hours of instruction from Level 3 British Cycling coach Huw Williams and a team of expert riders out on the track – and according to the fifty women who attended last year’s sessions, is very good value for money indeed. Only ten places are left; get yours here.
Six days later, and on the same Redbridge lower circuit (ie, no Hoggenberg climb), Redbridge CC have a Cat. 4 women’s race – the perfect opportunity for new racers to put the skills they learned at the WERL session to the test (and open to Cat. 4s who didn’t attend the WERL session too, of course). 62 places remain available, and are only £10 pre-booked (£13 on the day). One week earlier, the day before the WERL session, there are also CC London’s Hog Without The Hill London Women’s Racing events for Cat. 3/4 women (with 34 riders already signed up) and for E/1/2s, again at Redbridge – enter here.
You don’t get to see a great deal of climbing in British women’s races (nor all that much in the big European races, really), so news of the 85km SW Women’s GP comes as a refreshing change: it has “climbing, quick descending and a flat finish, one for the all-rounders” – and, taking place on the 8th of May, it’s ideal for riders to use as part of their preparation for the Lincoln GP a week later. It’s open to E/1/2/3/4 riders with entry costing £26 – and is likely to fill up quickly, since there aren’t many opportunities to race over this distance in the UK.
The much-loved and long-standing Cheshire Classic was cancelled last week – it’ll hopefully be back next year, as its loss would be bad news for women’s cycling in the UK.
Team Corley Cycles held their training camp in Portugal recently. Sarah Hooper wrote about it here.
Sarah and Dan talk about Evie Stevens’ Hour Record and a lot of other stuff – including why it doesn’t matter if replica women’s team kits aren’t available in men’s sizes on the Unofficial Unsanctioned Women’s UCI Cycling Blog.