Many thanks to Karla for her report below – a cracking weekend’s racing for the team!
Stage 1: Prologue, 2.5miles inc 2 ‘ascent’s of the Hoggenburg. Molly Weaver a fabulous 2nd place. Laura Massey 10th. Hannah Walker top 20. Me, somewhere on the list.
Stage 2: 75min Circuit race: Hot, humid and hard….Plan….try to obtain as many bonus seconds as possible in the first two primes. 1st, 2nd 3rd = 5, 3,2. Ended up (I think) with 3,2,5,3. Molly drops to 3rd but time to consolidate on final stage only 1 sec off 2nd.
Stage 3: 120km RR in Essex. Epic conditions. Plan…..endeavour for bonus seconds (as above twice over) but biggest focus on Molly getting the finish bonus seconds (30,20,10 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd). Hard race, tough conditions. I wasn’t around for much of it but 10km to go the team discussed the state of play (tactics on the fly are essential)….Massey to go for a suicide attack to then give Molly the counter into the finish circuit…the idea was to go for a long one and not leave it to the bunch sprint (albeit up a 1km climb). Massey’s move with 6km somehow works; she bridges to Gillian Taylor who was 35 sec down the road and manages to push past on the final climb to win by 10 sec and take the 30sec stage bonus; jumping from 10th to 2nd on GC.
Sometimes plan’s don’t go to plan!!! But we got the result and the DS was happy.
Super ride by Gillian. Thrilled of LM. And most of all love my team.
What a great race today’s Curlew Cup was – excellent course, closed roads, slick organisation and a totally chilled atmosphere…maybe it was the sunny weather?!
Sadly we were a little depleted due to illness and work clashes, but were still looking forward to playing an active part in the race with our team of Anna, Lexie, Molly and Hannah. DS Alex was tied up but had set out a plan for the race, with Hannah competing for the sprints and Molly acting as super-domestique in supporting Hannah and driving hard to launch Lexie and Anna at the climb of the Ryals to attack the bunch. Of course, other teams had their plans so things would have to be adapted during the race.
It has been busy on the racing front recently – including mid-week race action in the Matrix Fitness GP series, the Milk Race, St Ives Nocturne as well as the Banbury Star Road Race and Diamond Tour in Nijlen Belgium that feature in two excellent race blogs from Molly:
Next up – the Curlew Cup this weekend in the lovely Stamfordham area!
After a solidly UK-based start to the season it was time to head off to the Mecca of cycling that is Belgium for the UCI 1.2 Trofee Maarten Wynants. Whether it’s cyclocross in the winter months or road racing in the summer, it is always a joy to be part of bike racing in this part of the world – not just because of the organsation and levels of competition, but also because of the truly warm welcome that you know is in store from organisers, supporters and the general public alike. And this trip didn’t disappoint!
Trofee Maarten Wynants – Hannah and Mel
We are delighted to announce that Alex Greenfield is moving into a DS role with the team, following her decision to retire from competition following an outstanding racing career.
There is no-one better qualified for the role of DS than Alex – not only does Alex possess unrivaled knowledge & insights from having raced at the highest levels in the UK and internationally, she also brings coaching and DS experience to the team from her work with Welsh Cycling.
While it is sad that Alex won’t be racing for us, we are very excited to be involved in the next steps of her career in cycling!
It was so hectic after the Cheshire Classic that we simply couldn’t find time to write a race report, and it has been a similar story since the Bedford 3 Day – so a little later than planned we’ve put together a round up/reflective post – hoping that the opinion piece won’t prove too contentious! Thanks again to Huw Williams for the photos :)
First up – Cheshire. Well, what can you say. If ever an illustration was needed of how far the UK race scene has develeoped and strengthened this was it. A record pace for the race, which features 12 climbs of the short but sharp “Cliff” was an indication of how strong the field was. We even heard a rumour that the finish time was almost the same as last year, despite it being 2 laps longer!
The standard of organisation and marshaling was top drawer (the extra NEG riders being a real plus point), as was the standard of riding. And that’s not just the speed and handling etc on display – it was also in terms of just how safe the race felt. Very little eratic line switching, no white line crossing, no unecessary braking, communication within the bunch regarding hazards etc etc. Great stuff – it left the riders free to focus on the job of racing!! Continue reading
Coming into the Measom 2-Day stage race there was a bit of trepidation as this new event was on courses that none of us had seen before, and three of our 6-rider team were under the weather. Sadly El wasn’t well enough to start so had to pull out late on Friday, but both Mel and Alex were felling OK enough to ride even if not at 100%.
The race opened with a short prologue time trial of just over 2.5 miles, along a gently undulating course bang into a block headwind. A super strong ride from Mathilde Matthijsse of Bonito put her into the driving seat for the GC with an impressive 15 second cushion as there were no time bonuses in the road stages, and road profiles looked pretty flat. Great riding from Emily saw her take 2nd place, with Molly 2 seconds back in 4th, and Alexie in 7th.
As the team were off early in the prologue there was plenty of time to recce the course before the afternoon’s 50 mile road stage – its flat profile, good surfaces and clear sight lines suggested that a bunch gallop was a near certainty…and so it turned out, as Matrix were working hard to keep attacks contained to set up a sprint finish. It was always going to be worth an attack or two in the crosswinds as time gaps were small, but the plan was to keep something in the tank to lead out Emily.