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Race Reports - 22/06/2015

6th July 2015

A tale of 2 (cycling) cities..
Over the last 2 weeks the Women’s squad have taken part in 2 prestigious city centre races, both challenging, but on very different courses.
First-up was a round of the Matrix Fitness GP Tour Series, held in Victoria Park, Bath, with a circuit taking in the Royal Crescent, cobbles and all! This was the grand Finale of the series and in effect it was a who’s who of the British scene, with Olympic medallists and National series riders making up the field. From the very start it was clear that this was the most challenging circuit of the year and the field soon began to split, especially with the cobbles battering everyone on every lap. Dani King made a solo move that stuck for the whole race, with our Emma Cockcroft and Bethan Stubbs in the 2nd small group. As the race wore-on, the groups split more, riders getting distanced on certain parts of the course, gaining ground at other points. Once the race had settled, both Emma and Bethan held their respective positions well, and finished in 29th and 35th places in their first attempt at an event of this nature, and with this high quality field, excellent riding from both.
Next was the inaugural Bristol GP, on a tight and technical circuit in the heart of the city. Another warm evening greeted the slightly smaller field and with Emma and Alex Sheehan well-placed from the off, proved to be a good night.The aim was to ride within the top 6 or so, and be able to pick their own lines and pace through the tight turns, which is much easier than having to play catch-up from the back..
At the half distance sprint point, Alex moved-up well to the front, and with Emma playing the attentive teammate, Alex easily won the sprint and prize fund that went along with it. The second half of the race was a case of attrition and pacing. Coming into the last lap, speeds rose and positioning become even more important, especially out of the final series of corners. On the uphill drag to the line, Fiona Hunter Johnson got a small gap that she held to the line, Emma used her strength on the false flat and came home in an excellent 2nd place, with Alex coming home 10th, the team the only squad with 2 in top 10! Fantastic riding all race. Great crowds and very good organisation bodes well for this event, it was good to be part of from the beginning.
So, a successful and interesting couple of weeks and a great step in the women’s squad’s development, it’s coming-on nicely!