Barbara Guarischi (Veocio-SRAM) won the Prudential Ride London Women’s GP with a time of 45’08” thanks to her own powerful sprint and a perfect lead-out from Trixi Worrack and Lisa Brennauer, which enabled her to hold off a tough challenge from Ale-Cipollini’s Shelley Olds and Annalisa Cucinotta (second and third) and Wiggle-Honda’s Nettie Edmondson and Giorgia Bronzini (who won the event last year) – a victory that’s all the more impressive because she hadn’t planned to take part until five days before the race and only arrived in London five hours before it began.
As expected, the riders from the big-name UCI teams filled the majority of the remaining places in the top ten, and you can read all about them and their professional team mates on numerous other websites. What Neutral Service is really interested in, of course, is how the riders from the British domestic teams fared – which was promisingly rather well, as it happens, with a difference between Guarischi and Vicki Strila (PMR@Toachim House, the last rider not to be pulled during the final lap) of only 2’46”. With eight positions in the top twenty – 40% – going to riders from domestic teams, it’s clear that the professionals were not able to dominate the race and that there is a great deal of very serious talent among the ranks in British women’s cycling.
Riders from domestic teams are generally not household names except among fans with a specific interest in women’s cycling, but the best British rider in the race, Katie Archibald, needs no introduction – her team has a huge profile thanks to the stunning palmares of its members. Katie is no exception: she has an impressive collection of gold medals won at the World and European Track Championships and numerous road race victories, and her sixth place just one second behind Guarischi proves that at 21 years of age she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with on the UK scene for many years to come… or around the world, should she decide to join a UCI squad in the coming years.
Also in the top ten is Lithuanian Edita Janeliūnaitė, who in the past raced for some of the top UCI squads and is listed as a “former road racer” on Wikipedia. Edita came out of retirement to race for the British Aprire-HSS domestic team and finished in tenth place, two seconds slower than Guarischi; still only 26 years old, Edita is a very welcome addition to the UK women’s cycling scene and will hopefully become a familiar face at the races.
Also in the top 20 were Pearl Izumi’s French rider Clem Copie and team mate Gabriella Shaw, both of whom recorded 45’15” for 17th and 18th. Next up, in 19th place, was Rebecca Nixon – the top performer from one of the “smaller” teams, Fusion RT Gearclub Bike Science. It’s been a good season for 26-year-old Nixon, who finished 12th at the National Road Race Championships in June and appears to be entering her peak years – keep an eye on her in 2016. Nikki Juniper (Giordana-Triton) is one of the best-known riders on the British circuit and has taken numerous prestigious results this year, including overall victory for the second year running in the British Cycling Women’s Road Series; however, Nikki’s speciality is to use her strength to wear down her opposition with attacks on tough sections before breaking away for a solo win or obliterating rivals in the sprint – in this race, that was never going to happen and so she was 20th, finishing with Shaw and Nixon. Abby-Mae Parkinson was right behind Nikki, finishing just outside the top twenty but with an identical time the same group as Nikki and thus recorded the same time.
The results printed below include only riders (British born or otherwise) riding for British non-professional teams and helps to illustrate the sheer depth of talent in British women’s cycling. They were up against some of the best riders in the world: Guarischi has won stages at La Route de France and the Giro Rosa*, as near as is (currently) possible in women’s cycling to winning stages at the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia; Olds has won the Tour of New Zealand and the Giro della Toscana; Bronzini has been World Champion twice; Johansson has shown herself time and again to be a very real threat to Marianne Vos, whom many consider the greatest cyclist in history; Trott has been a World Champion four times and won two gold medals at the 2012 Olympics; and there are many others who have achieved great things during their careers listed among the full results. Many of the non-professional riders are used to competing in races with headquarters in village halls where, if they’re lucky, there’ll be a working kettle and a jar of coffee, and for prizes of a few pounds – but they were not afraid to take on the professionals, and had it not have been for many riders being held up between two big crashes (one of which scuppered Matrix’s plans to give the hotly-tipped Trott the lead-out train that could have enabled her to finish top three), that 2’46” difference would in all probability have been far smaller.
Perhaps the two most inspiring British riders in the race were Grace Garner and Eleanor Dickinson, both competing as part of the Olympic Development Programme, who put in a superb performance to take 12th and 13th at +3″ and +5″ respectively. Grace, sister of twice-Junior World Road Race Champion Lucy, is just 18 years old; Eleanor is a year younger – what a future women’s cycling has in this country with riders such as them coming up through the ranks.
“I think all the girls from the domestic teams did themselves proud, racing against some of the very best riders in the world. The standard of women’s racing has increased immeasurably,” said race organiser Guy Elliott.
Special mention also goes to WNT, a team in its first year but which has already made a huge impression on the domestic scene. WNT’s top rider was Charline Joiner in 35th place but thanks to their aggressiveness and willingness to attack any rider, regardless of whether they were professional or not, was a highlight of the race (as was Jo Tindley’s fancy footwork when she picked her way through a crash, remounted her bike and got back to chasing the riders ahead of her) and it’ll have been them many fans talked about on the way home. When a team actively tries to shake things up it makes the race even better – and benefits women’s cycling as a result.
“I and many others were totally blown away with how Team WNT stepped up big time, repeatedly attacking and making the race,” Elliott, who also organises the Women’s Tour, told Neutral Service. “It was an incredible performance and I am so pleased their MD was there to see it and that they got so much airtime on BBC primetime TV. It demonstrates that there can be a great return on sponsorship investment in women’s cycling. But well done to every single rider, especially those that got up so quickly for us after the crash.”
“As the DS I told the girls to go out and attack the race and get themselves on TV,” WNT directeur sportif Rick Lister added. “We had the worldwide MD of WNT there as a guest so we wanted him to see our girls “racing” and this is what he saw. We had Guy Elliott and Hugh Porter come to us after the race and tell us they loved how the girls raced so that’s good enough for me!”
*And, amazingly, the Sparkassen Giro the very next day after Ride London.
British Non-Professional Team Result, Prudential Ride London 2015
6 Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) 45’09”
10 Edita Janeliunaite (Aprire-HSS) 45’10”
12 Grace Garner (GB Olympic Development) 45’11”
13 Eleanor Dickinson (GB Olympic Development) 45’13”
17 Clemence Copie (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) 45’15”
18 Gabriella Shaw (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) ST
19 Rebecca Nixon (FusionRT Gearclub Bikescience) ST
20 Nikki Juniper (Giordana-Triton) ST
21 Abby-Mae Parkinson (GB Olympic Development) ST
22 Keira McVitty (Giordana-Triton) 45’16”
23 Annasley Park (Giordana-Triton) ST
24 Abi Van Twisk (Corley-Drops.cc) ST
25 Lauren Creamer (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) ST
28 Louise Mahe (Ikon-Mazda) 45’17”
30 Lucy Chittenden (Bonito Squadra Corse) ST
31 Merce Pacios (Zappi’s) ST
33 Gaby Leveridge (Velosure-Starley Primal) ST
35 Charline Joiner (WNT) ST
36 Natalie Grinczer (FusionRT Gearclub Bikescience) 45’18”
37 Lauren O’Brien (Giordana-Triton) ST
40 Katy Simcock (Corley-Drops.cc) 45’19”
42 Lydia Boylan (WNT) 45’28”
43 Amy Gornall (Corley-Drops.cc) 46’02”
44 Tamara Davenne (Zappi’s) ST
45 Nicole Oh (Les Filles) 46’03”
46 Laura Greenhalgh (Les Filles) ST
47 Gabriella Nordin (Zappi’s) 46’04”
48 Jo Tindley (WNT) ST
52 Rebecca Mackey (Aprire-HSS) 46’22”
54 Elizabeth Stedman (FusionRT Gearclub Bikescience) 46’28”
55 Tamiko Butler (Corley-Drops.cc) 46’43”
56 Jennifer George (Les Filles) ST
57 Laura Massey (Ikon-Mazda) 47’12”
59 Elizabeth Holden (GB Olympic Development) 42’24”
61 Bethany Hayward (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) 42’25”
62 Louise Moriarty (Les Filles) ST
63 Bethany Taylor (Bonito Squadra Corse) ST
64 Anna Marie Hughes (Bonito Squadra Corse) ST
65 Sophie Faulkner (FusionRT Gearclub Bikescience) ST
66 Charlotte Broughton (Corley-Drops.cc) ST
67 Abigail Dentus (GB Olympic Development) ST
68 Laura Cameron (London Phoenix) ST
70 Becky Womersley (Corley-Drops.cc) ST
72 Henrietta Colborne (Bonito Squadra Corse) 45’14”
73 Chloe Weller (PMR@ToachimHouse) 46’04”
74 Rebecca Carter (WNT) ST
75 Aoife Doherty (London Phoenix) 47’12”
76 Natasha Morrison (Bonito Squadra Corse) 47’31”
77 Tamala McGee (London Phoenix) 47’54”
78 Tracy Corbett (Les Filles) ST
79 Hannah Walker (WNT) ST
80 Juliet Milward (Zappi’s) ST
82 Vicki Strila (PMR@ToachimHouse) ST
83 Susan Freeburn (PMR@ToachimHouse)
84 Tanya Griffiths (Velosure-Starley Primal)
85 Lauren Humphreys (Bonito Squadra Corse)
86 Karla Boddy (Ikon-Mazda)
87 Charlotte Sampson (Zappi’s)
88 Amy Brice (Phoenix CC)
89 Ruth Summerford (PMR@ToachimHouse)
90 Bella Leach (London Phoenix)