Laura Trott went to the Milk Race in 2014 with her then team Wiggle-Honda but, despite the team’s efforts to propel her to victory (Charlotte Becker, after leading Laura to the finish, was third; Elinor Barker, Dani King, Amy Roberts and Anna Schnitzmeier were all top ten), she was pipped to the post by the lightning-quick Katie Archibald of Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International.
This year, Laura was back with her new team Matrix Pro Cycling – and the squad wanted to show that although they’re now up there with the best in the world racing at UCI professional level, British events retain as much importance for them as always, so they pulled out all the stops to get Laura where she needed to be. It worked, but it was close: once again, Laura and Katie went head-to-head in the final sprint, Laura tucking in tight for maximum aerodynamic advantage while a more upright Katie relied on her sheer power, and this time it was Laura that won. The time gap? About the same as the thickness of a page from the race programme – just three thousandths of a second!
“The Milk Race was excellent. It’s become an important part of the circuit race season in the UK and certainly stands out with its live stream,” Matrix directeur sportif Stef Wyman told Neutral Service. “The town centre is always packed and the atmosphere is fantastic, so for us to get the win was really pleasing. The Pearl Izumi team were very strong. Katie Curtis looked like the strongest rider in the race from the sidelines and to be honest we didn’t know who’d won. It was very close and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be making that call.”
“Laura’s been in great form despite some recent illness, and for us to get two wins in a week is beyond our expectations,” he continued. “We have a heavy schedule in Europe but we are determined to try to put some riders in each round of the Matrix Fitness GP and of course the Milk Race. I’m not sure how many more seasons we’d be able to do that so it’s been great to have taken a couple of wins.”
Race website – Laura Trott – Katie Archibald – Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International – Matrix Pro Cycling
Results to come…
All photos are copyright of their respective creators; do not reuse without first gaining their permission. Louise Wainwright / Eleanor Lloyd