National CX Champs — Clémence Copie’s Kite Encounter — Women’s Eastern Racing League Relaunch — Team and Transfer News — Blogs — Shorts and Interesting Links — Photos of the Week — More to come…!
National CX Champs
Helen Wyman’s 2014/2015 season has not been quite as successful as usual due to the Hertfordshire-born rider battling an illness over the last couple of months, but she found the form she needed to win the National Cyclocross Championships for an amazing ninth time after beating 2013 Champion Nikki Harris by 28″. No other female rider has won it more than twice; she has stood on the podium every year since 2005.
The course was muddy but not so much as might be expected for a ‘cross race taking place in Wales during January, which suited both favourites – Wyman’s dragster-style fast starts are legendary, but Harris was faster away from the line this time and took the lead for a while, making sure that the National Champion had to work hard. Amira Mellor, one of the most promising of the younger riders who will one day take over from Wyman and Harris, stayed with them for a while but as the big guns cranked up their efforts to get the better of one another she eventually had to let go.
Mellor is one of several younger riders preparing to carry the flag for British women’s ‘cross, a sign that the sport is in good health: Evie Richards (alongside her team boss Tracy Moseley), Ffion James, Hannah Payton, Alice Barnes and Annabel Simpson were never too far behind the two leaders.
Halfway through the race Wyman decided it was her turn to lead and overtook her Derbyshire rival, then showed the strength and ability that has made her one of the most successful (and shockingly over-looked – Helen really ought to be a household name not just for what she’s achieved but for what she does to promote equality in the sport and to encourage youngsters both female and male to take up cycling) British athletes of all time – Harris is a very, very talented rider indeed, but she was simply unable to match the power Wyman can generate and was soon lagging behind.
While it was now clear that, barring a crash or serious mechanical, Wyman was going to be spending another year in the red,white and blue-striped jersey, third place was still very much open and the champions of tomorrow were taking no prisoners in their efforts to fill it. Annie Last hadn’t had the best start but slowly improved throughout the race; despite having expended a great deal of energy moving up from ninth she was able to challenge Mellor and slipped into third, then dug deep to make sure she stayed there – a very impressive performance by a rider who will almost certainly get a turn to wear Wyman’s jersey sooner or later.
1 Helen Wyman (Kona-FSA) 39’29”
2 Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) 39’57”
3 Annie Last (Trek Factory Racing) 41’12”
4 Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes-Bradford Olympic RC) 41’33”
5 Alice Barnes (T-Mo Racing) 41’47”
6 Hannah Payton (Kinesis Morvelo Project) 41’51”
7 Evie Richards (T-Mo Racing) 42’26”
8 Annabel Simpson (Hope Factory Racing) 43’16”
9 Ffion James (Abergavenny RC) 43’31”
10 Isla Rowntree (Islabikes) 43’50”
Clémence Copie’s Kite Encounter
Clémence Copie had what could have been a very unpleasant encounter with a kite lately – but was saved from injury by her Lazer sunglasses.
Clémence, who recently signed to the Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International team, described what happened on Facebook, explaining that the kite crashed near to the road on the Dunstable Downs, an area popular with kiters due to the updrafts created by the local landscape. She then got caught in the string; stretched taut across the road, it acted like a wire saw and cut a deep gash into the nosepiece and left lens of the glasses before sliding down to her throat – by which time, the kite had stopped moving so that the string went slack and fortunately didn’t cause any more damage.
“Luckily it happened just after a climb, so I must have been going at 12mph max!,” she told Neutral Service. “My partner was 100 meters ahead of me and so the kite must have crashed across the road just as I came to it. All I saw was a flicker of light in the corner of my left eye before I realised it was the string – it had already sliced through my glasses, scratching them along with my nose before it moved to my throat.”
“I got a mark on my throat, but luckily I was protected by my neck warmer and then managed to untangle myself whilst coming to a stop, then a lot of swearing in French followed (no kite owner around to moan at)!” she added.
Women’s Eastern Racing League Relaunch
2015 is set to be an exciting year for women’s cycle racing in the East of England as the Women’s Eastern Racing League (WERL) is introducing two women’s leagues for 2015.
In general, “fabulous prizes” in British women’s cycling are actually somewhat underwhelming – however, thanks to the hard work and persistence of the WERL’s committee members, the organisation has managed to find some excellent backing from sponsors who really want to get behind the sport and are willing to put their money where their mouths are, and this belief in the potential of women’s cycling has enabled the League to put together one of the richest prize funds in the UK: local businesses PerformanceCoaching.me, STC Teamwear and VO2 Sport are providing hundreds of pounds worth of coaching, lab testing, sports equipment and clothing, as well as a £3,000 time trial bike.
The committee is eager to point out that it won’t be just the top riders will be winning these prizes – as part of their aim to develop women’s cycling and secure its future, the top prizes are reserved for the new and up-and coming riders in order to encourage more women to take up the sport.
Team and Transfer News
The new Aprire Factory Racing team created by Phil Dempsey and Rene Groot has secured a major new sponsor in HSS Hire, the nationwide plant hire company. A full roster of riders has also been made public, with Alice Cobb, Amy Gornall, Lucy Harper, Kayleigh Brogan, Emily Mellor and Elinor Thorogood all signed up. The squad has also recruited Lithuanian rider Edita Janeliunaite who, having spent the last few years with top European teams, has experience of racing in the world’s biggest events including the Giro Rosa and the Tour de l’Ardèche and spent a few seasons serving as lead-out for no less a sprinter than Giorgia Bronzini in addition to bagging numerous top-ten places in bunch sprints herself – if she finds British cycling to her liking, she may well make a very big impact.
“It’s that time again…a few days before yet another long haul flight. This time it’s Cali, Columbia…which means three flights from Mallorca. This usually means a lot of hanging around airports feeling peckish with nothing but overpriced bad food around you. To combat this we tend to pack a lot of ride food to snack on – flapjacks, ‘healthy’ cookies…that sort of thing. My food of choice for this flight – date balls! I made them for the first time last week and they went down a treat…” Read more
“So I’ve been kind of quiet this season. Not many blogs, not many race reports. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to, it’s just I’ve needed to put my energy into other things, mainly myself. Racing has been tough. The season started well, very well, but a couple of crashes in quick succession left me battered, more so than I gave myself credit for. I trained hard, pushed on through it. I was inconsistent, and that’s not like me. So team Wyman had to pull together and get things put right…” Read more
“This week it’s National Obesity Awareness Week – this is the first of a couple of important blogs I’d like to share with you over the course of the week, as this subject is as important as covering other health issues and directly affects such a huge proportion of our population that it’s not something I feel should be ignored…” Read more
Shorts and Interesting Links
2015 Women’s Tour Stage 1
The start and end points of the first stage of this year’s FriendsLife Women’s Tour have been announced, with organisers confirming that the stage will remain within Suffolk. The Grand Depart will be located at Angel Hill by the medieval abbey ruins, where a vast crowd gathered to watch Marianne Vos win in 2014, while the stage will end in Aldeburgh – one of England’s most beautiful and unspoiled seaside resorts. The race begins on the 17th of June, having been moved to a later date in the calendar so as not to clash with the British General Election. Read more
Five Matrix riders to benefit from Dave Rayner Fund
Mel Lowther, Harriet Owen, Penny Rowson, Jessie Walker and their new team mate Molly Weaver, all of Matrix Pro Cycling which is racing as a UCI Professional team for the first time this year, have been announced as new beneficiaries of the Dave Rayner Fund, the charity that supports British racing cyclists. Read more
No CX World Cup for MK in 2015
Organisers of the hugely successful Milton Keynes round of the 2014 Cyclocross World Cup have regretfully announced that they will not be able to host a round in 2015.
“The Rugby World Cup is in town throughout October and Campbell Park is to be used as a ‘fan zone’ and Milton Keynes Council don’t feel able to deliver two world class events within such a short space of time,” they explained on their website. Read more
Photos of the Week