Neutral Service’s monthly (well, or thereabouts) round-up of what’s happening in UK Women’s Cycling. This month: New teams, new signings, new sponsors; Dave Rayner Fund backs more women than ever before; Team Series dates; ‘Cross Nationals and new projects for Wyman and Brammeier; ‘Cross Nationals to head south in 2019; Wyman Review and Wyman 100; Advice for Lady Cyclists; Interesting Links
New teams, new signings
Nikki Juniper announced details of her new team NJC-Biemme-Echelon, which features the former National Circuit Champion herself and a selection of strong riders including Jo Tindley, Maddie Gammons, Jenny Rutter and more. The team aims to compete at selected rounds of the National Road Series, the Matrix Tour Series and the Tour de Yorkshire – more details here.
NJC have also revealed that they’re organising a race, due to take place on the 25th of March in the beautiful countryside around Malvern. While the surroundings are hilly, Nikki promises that the 77km course isn’t and offers plenty of chances for everyone rather than only for the climbers. Open to E/1/2/3/4 riders, entry is £25 in advance and, as ever, is available through British Cycling.
Team 22 became the second domestic road squad to announce their full-line up, just a few hours after NJC – they’ve got fifteen riders on their Junior and U23 team, and will reveal the riders on their new U14/16 squad Pink Jersey RT very soon. Fusion RT, who have new backing from Velo Performance, listed their own riders shortly afterwards.
New sponsor for Boompods-EDCO-NRG
After an agreement their previous bike and helmet supplier fell through, Boompods-EDCO have a new sponsor in the shape of NRG Cycles. “We are extremely proud to ride the new season as Boompods-EDCO-NRG,” says manager Terry McDonagh. “Sadly, it seems a common theme for companies to promise support for women’s cycling and then not deliver.”
“Kit support is once again provided by Velotec and the team will keep the Boompods audio connection with team support and team playlists supplied by Basilica Music, Celtic Connections, Ooberfuse and Wise Dog Music, to create ‘The Team That Rock,” he adds.
The team will consist of twelve senior riders and four juniors, and will target the Women’s National Road Series, Women’s Team and Tour Series in 2018 as well as other flagship races at home and overseas, having made their official debut at the prestigious Revolution track race series at the Olympic Park late last year.
Largest ever number of women enjoy Dave Rayner support
Nine women will this year enjoy the support of the Dave Rayner Fund – the largest ever number since the fund was created 22 years ago to support promising young British riders racing abroad. 2011 was the previous record with six women.
The riders are Megan Chard (HealthMate-CycleLive), Henrietta Colbourne (Bizkaia Durango), Holly Flannery (Swabo Ladies), Jane Hellewell (Autoglass Wetteren), Amy Hill (Maaslandster), Keira McVitty (Isorex), Hetty Niblett (Keukens Redant), Amy Smith (Isorex) and Isabella Stone (Isorex).
The Women’s Team Series is back for another season and, thanks to the wide-ranging changes made over the last few years to bring it up to date, looks set to provide us with plenty more great racing on a variety of different courses. The most obvious change in that the Coalville Wheelers RR, which was the final event in the series in 2017, has switched from September to April. In late January a rumour appeared on social media suggesting that the legendary Bedford 3-Day had been cancelled this year; however, the organisers have assured Neutral Service that it will take place with the dates to be confirmed.
18th March Redbridge Cycling Circuit
15th April Dave Peck Memorial
29th April Coalville Wheelers RR
27th May Banbury Star RR
10th June Cyclopark
7th July Oakley RR
22nd July Naseby
2nd September Bourne Wheelers TTT
Nationals – and new teams
In the world of cyclocross, two of Britain’s greatest ever riders have new projects: Helen Wyman’s Xypex-Verge Sport and Nikki Brammeier’s Mudiiita, and fans got their first chance to see the new jerseys on native soil on the 14th of January when the pair went head-to-head at the National Championships in Hetton Lyons Country Park, Sunderland. Both riders have been National Champ before (nine times in Helen’s case, three for Nikki) and both looked to have a good chance of taking another victory. Considering her recent illness, Nikki’s performance was typically outstanding, leading her rival during the early part of the race; however, with three laps still to go Helen proved herself to be the stronger rider and maintained an advantage all the way to the finish, eventually crossing the line with a lead of 13 seconds. “I knew it was going to be a good battle today and I really had to think about how to win that race because Nikki was super strong,” she said.
Earlier in the day, U23 Evie Richards demonstrated once again that she is heir to Helen’s crown with yet another dominant performance – the Trek Factory Racing rider, who was U23 World Champion in 2016, stormed up the first climb and never looked back. Despite the best efforts of Harriet Harden (T-Mo) and Anna Kay (EDCO-Continental), Richards’ third consecutive National title was never in any doubt and she completed the course with an advantage of two and a half minutes. 16-year-old Harnden, who took second after a long battle with Kay, was the winning Junior.
Nationals come to Cyclopark
Following a long period during which all ‘cross Nationals have been oop north, southern fans will finally get their chance to see the competition for the stripey jumper without making a long drive next year – British Cycling have announced Cyclopark in Kent as the location for the 2019 Championships, a great reward for course director, women’s cycling coach and photographer Huw Williams and the team at the Gravesend venue (best coffee to be found at any UK circuit, folks) following their hugely successful staging of National Trophy series races in 2016 and 2017. The event will take place on 12-13th January.
Dates and locations of the 2018-19 National Trophy have also been revealed, with the season featuring a round north of the border in Scotland: Round 1 6-7th October 2018, Moorways, Derby; Round 2 27-28th October 2018, Beach Park, Irvine; Round 3 10-11th November, South of England Event Centre, Crawley; Round 4 24-25th November, York Cycle Sport, York; Round 5 8-9th December, Trinity Park, Ipswich; Round 6 5-6th January, Shrewsbury Sports Centre, Shrewsbury.
Wyman Review and Wyman 100
If you’d like to meet Helen Wyman (recommended; she’s great), get yourself tickets for The Wyman Review at Look Mum, No Hands! in London on the 22nd February where she’ll be talking about her career, the sport and The Wyman 100 – her plans to raise enough money to pay the entry fees of 100 U23 women at the 2019 National Championships. Tickets are free, but they’ll all be allocated very soon.
Advice for Lady Cyclists
New York World’s 1895 article offering sage advice for the female cyclists of the era has been back in the news as a result of Sustran’s discovery that there are more male cyclists than female cyclists (the BBC’s report is here; Twitter women’s cycling advocate Accidentobizarro’s far more intelligent response to it is here).
We thought it could do with an update…
1895: Don’t boast of your long rides.
Update: Tell everyone about your long rides, and how much you enjoy them – you may encourage other women to cycle. And anyway, if you’ve just set a personal best distance, you deserve to boast about it.
1895: Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face”.
Update: Punch anyone who seriously suggests this sort of thing is even an issue.
1895: Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.
Update: If a man offers you assistance up a hill, drop him.
1895: Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
Update: Know the terminology and know you bike inside out, so you can embarrass mansplainers.
1895: Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.
Update: Do whatever the f*ck you want.
1895: Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.
Update: Actually, that’s wise advice. Don’t do it.
1895: Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.
Update: Do a race training day if you want to race; otherwise, see 5.
1895: Don’t be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.
Update: Learn about the history of women’s cycling and the great riders of the past, then tell everyone – those stories need to be told. Smash as many Strava records as possible.
Races We Went To
Full Gas Winter Series (Hillingdon): E/1/2/3/4
(All photos © Simon F. Blackwell / John Orbea / Neutral Service)