Race Reports - 06/06/2015
10th June 2015
The women’s team of the Bikeshed - Exeter University squad have had a highly successful and varied few week’s racing, with victories, crashes and a good deal of fun along the way.
The highest profile race undertaken by the new team was a round of the National Road Race Seres at Hillingdon circuit. With a top quality field including Olympic Development riders and the UK’s top teams, Alex Sheehan and Emma Cockcroft set-off in blustery, damp conditions and soon got stuck-in as the attacks came. Riding solidly in the top 12 throughout, Emma covered many attacks, spending some time in a small break, only tor that to be caught. Alex picked her way through the 70 strong bunch well, again covering some of the attacks and working well with Emma. Going into the last few laps, it was clear that the race was destined for a big sprint finish, eventually Emma coming home in 19th place, a great and controlled ride all day, Alex 44th safely mid-pack. This was an excellent start to the team’s National campaign this year and it bodes very well for upcoming races at this level.
The Colin Lewis GP, a round of the Kalas SW Women’s Series, was again held in windy conditions at Torbay Velopark. Knowing the team had good form and needing to make the most of each other’s abilities, Alex, Emma and Bethan Stubbs rode superbly as a team, soon attacking, counter attacking and setting up Emma for a race-winning move. Using her undoubted Time Trialling skills, Emma soon got an ever-increasing gap, coming home solo, winning by over 1 minute. Alex and Bethan played the part of great teammates throughout, protecting Emma’s lead, and coming in 4th and 7th respectively. A really great display of teamwork and shared desire to make sure the team won.
The SW Divisional Road Race Championships were held on a course based at Hatherleigh, as the best SW riders took on a course skirting Dartmoor. The early exchanges were fairly muted and easily covered, but at half distance the eventual winner, Nicky Grinczer attacked hard, followed by Heidi Viles, with a move that got, and stayed away. On the run-in to Hatherleigh Alex and Emma worked as hard as they could, but were now in a reduced chase pack. At the finish Alex claimed 5th on the uphill finish, Emma 8th. Bethan came home 10th, so with the team the only outfit with 3 in top 10, came away with a very good result, and a target to beat next year!
The University National Road Race Championships, the ‘BUCS’, were held in North Yorkshire over a flat course, but with a climb to the finish. Bethan rode superbly all race, only to be brought down by an innocuous touch of wheels going into the last lap. Chase as she might once she’d picked herself up and sorted herself out, she was distanced from the lead 12 that she was in. To her great credit and tenacity, Bethan ploughed on alone, to finish up the climb in 14th place and with blood pouring from the knee wound. Huge kudos!
The BUCS track championships were held at Manchester Velodrome, Emma was entered into the 3km individual pursuit. After a long scheduled wait, Emma set-off in her event, riding to a schedule. At half distance she was holding both her form and the tight, quickest line well. As the last 2 laps came, a marginal dipping in form came, resulting in her missing the medal ride-offs by 0.004 secs!! Considering this was Emma’s first track event, and she was riding against experienced pursuiters, this was both highly creditable and hugely motivating. A superb effort in a very tough event.
There is much more to come for the team as the season unfolds, including televised races and more National level racing, here’s hoping for more success!