If you watched the Fleche Wallonne and enjoyed it, you might be thinking of seeing a few more women’s cycling races. Well, good news – the sport is alive and well here in Britain, so you don’t need to take your passport if you want to see some top-notch bike sport. There are some absolutely outstanding events over the next week, providing a chance to see both the very best riders of today and the most promising riders of tomorrow.
Don’t forget that the vast majority of outdoor events are free for spectators (parking is often at a premium, however, so if the race is very local why not cycle there instead?) and kids love watching bike races, which when combined with the welcoming atmosphere of the sport makes women’s cycling a fantastic and cheap family day out.
Surrey League RR
Cats. 1/2/3 64km, Cats. 3/4 45km
Cyclopark, The Tollgate, Wrotham Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 7NP
High Wycombe CC Spring Crits
E/1/2/3/4 40mins + 5 laps
Milton Keynes Bowl, Watling Street, Elfield Park, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK5 8AA
Yorkshire & Humber
York Cycleworks Spring Circuit #2
Cats. 2/3/4 40mins
York Sport Cycle Circuit, Lakeside Way, York, YO10 5FG
CC Hackney Primavera Circuits #2
Lea Valley Velopark, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park , Abercrombie Road, London , E20 3AB
Weaver Valley CC, who organise this event, are big supporters of women’s cycling which has led to this becoming one of the best races on the British calendar. The circuit includes a good mix of technical sections, long fast straights and the tough Acton Lane climb (where the finish line is situated) and always selects the best rider on the day, regardless of her speciality – and with 12 laps to be completed, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to see them.
The race is part of the Women’s National Road Series and, as in years past, many of the biggest names in British cycling are taking part: Sarah Storey, Katie Archibald, Jo Rowsell, Charline Joiner and Nikki Juniper among others – as well as Laura Trott, Penny Rowson, Lucy Shaw, Elinor Barker and Jessie Walker from the professional UCI team Matrix Pro Cycling. Full start list here.
Don’t miss it!
Grange School Sports Pavilion, Northwich Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 3AL
Surrey League RR – Army Cycling Union
The Army Cycling Union women’s team has been having a great season so far, and performed well during the winter series races too – if they were a normal team backed by commercial sponsors, they’d be far better known than they are. See why at this race.
Cats. 2/3 79km
Elstead Youth Centre, Thursley Road, Elstead, Surrey, GU8 6DQ
Essex Roads Club RR
This looks like it ought to be an interesting event – there still aren’t a great deal of “standalone” women’s races, with most being held alongside men’s races. That can work well, but in all too many cases the women’s race comes out looking like something of a token gesture, either because the organiser can’t really be bothered or, more often, because they haven’t got the experience in women’s cycling to understand that in many indefinable ways it’s different to men’s cycling.
So, it’s great to see a club organising a race like this one, and making sure it’s a proper race, too – no 25 minutes round an industrial estate, this is a proper 70km road race (7-and-a-bit laps, so lots of chances to see the riders) on an interesting parcours with a nice mix of technical corners and (small) climbs. The top prize may only be seventeen quid (though as Francesca Rust says, “it’d buy a curry” – how much more do you need?), but riders have repaid the Essex RC’s faith and 36 have signed up. That includes 21 Cat. 4s, making this an opportunity to see some of the champions of the next few years in action: so Neutral Service is going along to take some photos.
Cats. 2/3/4 70km
East Hanningfield Village Hall, The Tye, East Hanningfield, Essex, CM3 8AE
April Crits at Maindy #3
Entry on the day. Turn up, show licence, hand over ten quid, race.
Maindy Cycle Track, Crown Way, Cardiff, Glamorgan, CF14 3AJ
Behind The Bikeshed’s Summer Series 2
E/1/2/3/4 9 laps
Thruxton Motor Circuit, Thruxton Aerodrome, Andover, Hampshire, SP11 8PW
Twickenham CC Circuit Races #2
Hillingdon Cycle Circuit, Springfield Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 0LP
Pedal Heaven Eelmoor Circuits #1
E/1/2/3/4 50mins, U16 20mins, U14 15mins, U12 15mins, U10 10mins, U8 10mins
Eelmore Driver Training School, Aldershot, Hants, GU11 2HL
Please note: Events can be cancelled at short notice for reasons beyond the organisers’ control. Please check British Cycling before travelling