British Women’s Road Race Series Round 4
The British domestic calendar is in much better shape in 2014 than it has been for years, and all riders and fans are glad of it. However, while everyone loves a good criterium, a common complaint is that there’s simply too many of them.
Nobody wants crits to become a thing of the past, of course – they’re much cheaper and easier to organise than a traditional road race (fewer roads closed, fewer marshals needed to police the compact area), it’s easy for fans to walk around the entire parcours to see the action from several points and they’re absolutely ideal for TV (to cover a traditional race, you need vehicles and ideally a helicopter, for a crit, a couple of cameras will do the trick; get a TV crew at your race and the sponsors become more willing to hand over the cash), which makes them a very tempting option for any race organiser. They’re also fast, thrilling and challenging, which keeps the riders and the fans happy. But, there really are a lot of them, and sometimes what you really want is a road race or a time trial.
So – how about all three in one race? CDNW Surf ‘n’ Turf delivers just that. With three stages held over two days, it begins with an individual time trial which is followed by a crit, then on Day 2 the event concludes with a 81km road race. In other words, there’s something for everyone.
The Surf ‘n’ Turf consists of three stages held over two days. Stage 1 is a 1.6km Prologue individual time trial, comprising of one lap of the track at the University of Central Lancashire’s sports arena, Stage 2 is a 45 minute criterium on the outdoor circuit next to the Area, Stage 3 is an 81km mass start road race made up of 13 laps of a 6.2km circuit.
Time bonuses will be awaded to the top three riders in each stage. The winner will receive 10″ bonification, second place will receive 5″ and third place will receive 3″.
ITT and Crit
With around 57m of vertical gain on each lap (741m in total for the stage), this parcours can be described as hilly. Most uphill sections are not especially steep; however, the hill climbing to the final corner (marked by a lilac placemark 0n our map; look for the copse of trees on the right on the parcours) reaches 6.6% at the steepest point. Over the course of 13 laps, this is likely to be instrumental in selecting a winner. Descents are also likely to play their part: a long downhill section begins 1.4km from the start line and ends 1.8km later – with two fast corners in between these two points (purple placemarks), riders will need good bike-handling technique in order not to get left behind on this section. Much of the circuit is very exposed, with low stone walls or hedges offering little shelter; in bad weather it can be an ordeal: Nikola Butler (VC St Raphael) informed Neutral Service that she had to fight a lot of head wind when she last rode the parcours.