Team Line-Up 2015 – complete!

We are delighted to annouce that the final rider joining our 2015 line-up will be Emma Grant from Team Tibco.

Emma is very classy rider, with an excellent track record on the road including a podium placing in the 2013 U23 National Road Race Championships.  Although still very young, Emma brings with her a wealth of experience of riding at the top level in the UK, Europe and the US.  2014 has been a frustrating year for Emma, with illness wiping out much of the first half of the season followed by a lengthy period of recovery – but with ill health now behind her and her training back on track, we are certain that Emma is going to be stronger than ever in 2015!

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Our full team line-up for next year (with 2014 team in brackets) is:

Karla Boddy (Epic Cycles – Scott WRT)
Mel Brand (Epic Cycles – Scott WRT)
Julie Erskine (Velosport Pasta Montegrappa)
Emma Grant (Team Tibco)
Corrine Hall (Matrix Fitness Vulpine)
Elle Hopkins (Epic Cycles – Scott WRT)
Louise Mahe (Team Mule Bar Girl – Sigma Sport)
Laura Massey (Epic Cycles – Scott WRT)
Bex Rimmington (Merlin Cycles)
Lexie Shaw (Epic Cycles – Scott WRT)
Lora Turnham (Matrix Fitness Vulpine)

Looking forward to a great 2015!

Team Line-Up 2015 – part 2!

We are delighted to announce the second (and nearly final…) part of our team line-up for 2015.

This week we are welcoming three returning memers of the team in Laura Massey, Mel Brand and Elle Hopkins, and one new rider in Bex Rimmington (from Merlin Cycles and Trainsharp).

Laura had a fantastic season in 2014, with victories and podium places from one end of the year to the other.  She opened her account by taking the first round of the Team Series, followed that up with a win at Banbury and continued to gather top results all the way to her victory in the floods of the final stage at the Essex Giro.  A superb all-rounder with the ability to climb, time trial and sprint, there aren’t many races that Laura doesn’t have the potential to win. We are delighted to have signed Laura again for next season as she has so been central to the success of the team in 2014!

eg1Mel is a brilliant team player, and despite some early season illness has been one of our most consistent riders throughout the entire year. A tough competitor who just seems to get stronger and stronger as races develop, especially stage races, no-one will forget how Mel dug in and just kept driving on in the 40 degree heat of Brittany…even after extreme dehydration and delirium had kicked in and  the race had actually finished!

melAlso returning for 2015 is Elle Hopkins, whose 2014 season ended before it had really begun, after being taken out in a crash at the Bedford 3-Day in early May. It was such a shame as Elle had built some solid fitness over the winter and looked to be coming into top form for the Tour Series. A slipped disc meant that Elle was only able to start training again in late August – but she will be back in 2015 with all of her trademark energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun, and more determined than ever to make an impact in races!

Untitled-2In addition to our returning riders, we are very pleased that Bex Rimmington will be joining us next year. We were really keen to sign Bex, having been impressed all season with her consistently strong performances in the toughest races. Well known for her outstanding record in time trials, including a podium placing in this year’s National 10, Bex has moved increasingly into road racing during 2014, where she has put her “big engine” to great use, especially in longer races. We are really looking forward to helping Bex develop the road racing side even further next year.

Team Line-Up 2015 – part 1

We are delighted to confirm the first six members of our team line-up for 2015.  Over the next week or so we will be revealing our full roster, so keep watching for more news!

Building on the success of 2014 we have once again brought together a group of riders who are keen to develop together as individuals and as a team, while at the same time getting as much enjoyment and success of their sport as possible.  And in most cases doing this while balancing the competing demands of work and family.

Current World and National Tandem Champions Corrine Hall and Lora Turnham will be joining us for 2015, following a spectacular year with the Matrix Fitness – Vulpine team.  Our close relationship with the newly professional  Matrix Fitness – Vulpine team, which Corrine and Lora were unable to remain with due to UCI paracyling rules with regards to UCI-registered teams, meant we were able to talk at the earliest opportunity about signing them, and we are really excited to be working with such outstanding paracycling athletes.  Corrine will also be bringing her individual road and track racing talents to the team, hoping to build on her record of multiple road race wins and three National track titles.

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Joining us from MuleBar Girls is Louise Mahe, who is well known for her attacking style of riding and who will be a fantastic asset to the team in all forms of racing. Louise guested for us at the Tour of Brittany this year and fitted into the team a treat – both from a racing and social perspective. Never one to settle for just sitting in and letting the race happen around her, Louise will bring a new attacking dimension to the team in a year where she plans to take a step up in terms of commitment to training and racing…you have been warned!Embedded image permalink

Another new face for the team is Julie Erskine (Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa), who also guested with us at the Tour of Brittany this year. Julie is still very new to competitive cycling but has developed quickly into one of the most rounded riders in the UK peloton – and there is plenty more to come! Especially suited to longer races that reward endurance and toughness, Julie is also one of the best team players we have ridden with.Embedded image permalink

While a couple of our riders are moving on to UCI teams (which we are delighted about as this is one of the key success measures for our team), we are very pleased to have retained the core of this year’s team.

We’ll reveal more next week, but the first of our returning riders are Karla Boddy and Lexie Shaw.

Karla has been at the very heart of this year’s team and one of the biggest factors in its success. Every team needs a “road captain” , and Karla has fitted into this role perfectly – a natural leader, Karla has the ability to read a race, evaluate options and communicate immediately and clearly to the team. She also has the grit and commitment to ride herself into the ground to set the team up for the best possible finish. We are so happy to have her with us again in 2015!

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Karla leading from the front as always!

Lexie simply possesses one of the biggest engines in the domestic peloton – she has just two speeds. Fast and very fast. A huge mile-eater with incredible levels of endurance Lexie has initiated breakaways all season, delivering several big wins and podium places in the process. Lexie’s season ended early following a broken elbow sustained in Belgium, and the pressures of her full-time job sometimes meant that fitting in training and racing was tricky to say the least – but with a new job about to start that promises a little more flexibility 2015 could be a very big season for Lexie!

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Lexie takes the final stage of Measom 2 Day after a trademark breakaway

Team Plans for 2015!

tor6Over the past three seasons Epic Cycles and Scott Sports have been the two main sponsors for the successful Epic Cycles-Scott Women’s Race Team. Going into 2015 we will see one or two changes in sponsorship, but with the same team management and owners. 
For more details or to enquire about opportunities with the team please contact us at race.team@epic-cycles.co.uk

One feature of the team over the past three years has been its evolving terms of reference – in years one and two the emphasis was very much on the development of junior riders, while in year three the focus has been on bringing together a balanced and talented group of senior riders with the aim of riding together as a cohesive team, rather than as a collection of individuals.

This evolution will continue in year four, with renewed focus on rider development and a primary aim to act as a path into the professional ranks and/or competing in UCI races for those with ambitions to do so.

To support this aim we are working closely with the newly announced Matrix-Vulpine UCI Team. Our expectation is that a number of our riders will have the opportunity through this relationship to ride with the Matrix team as stagiaires in UCI races during the 2015 season, offering them the chance both to race in the pro peloton and to demonstrate what they could offer to a UCI pro team.

We also aim to build on our successes in the area of team work, and will be targeting key events in the UK domestic road racing scene, with a view to building on our list of 2014 victories and podium places.

The team will, as in 2014, be managed in a professional manner and we hope to further contribute to raising the standard of women’s race team management in the UK.

Aims

• To provide team environment and structure in which riders can develop and progress, either to riding at a higher level within the UK scene or to a career as a professional cyclist.
• To build on the number of podium places achieved in key UK races during 2014.
• To provide opportunities to take part in UCI races and gain exposure within the pro peloton.
• To raise the profile of our riders, team, and sponsors.

The Team

While we anticipate that some of this year’s line-up will be moving on to new teams, we are hoping to retain a number of our existing riders for 2015.

In signing new riders we are aiming, as in 2014, to assemble a strong and ambitious team who have complementary strengths and skills, so that we are able to enter races with different leaders and tactics according to the nature and timing of each race.

As in previous years, the team will not been built around a single star rider or to specialise in a particular type of race. Instead, we will aim to perform consistently well in all types of road racing, throughout the entire season.

Our planned team size of around 10 riders should provide sufficient cover for key events, while maximising the opportunity for individual riders to participate in a full programme of races without too many occasions where we have more riders than places available.

Our preference is for the team to be made up of a mix of over and under 23 seniors, but we do not have a rigid age or experience profile in mind. It is anticipated that most/all will be in some form of employment or education – full time availability to race is not a requirement.

A track record of participation and progression in road racing is essential. Previous race success (in terms of podium spots) is secondary to a positive attitude and a commitment to team work.

For more details or to enquire about opportunities with the team please contact us at race.team@epic-cycles.co.uk

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Ryedale GP 2014 – race report

Thanks to Karla for another great race report from the Ryedale GP! 

The penultimate round of the series saw a smaller Epic Scott WRT enter with riders currently at the Tour of Bretagne along with many other UK domestic teams. This meant the start sheet was missing a few key names but with it being the Junior womens Nat Champs there was still a lot of quality.

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Nikki Juniper went into the race having already wrapped up the series win but with the motivation to well and truly seal it after an attack just 20km into the 70km race.

Initially the move looked manageable for the peloton but on a fairly innocuous left hand bend into the college the lead rider in the peloton slid out….taking over a dozen riders with her. The impetus of the chase was momentarily lost and with riders chasing hard after the crash there were some tired legs going up the next climb as Juniper consolidated her lead to over a 2 minutes into the final lap.

Alexi had a battle to get back on after the crash (relatively unscathed) but this was shortly followed by Laura getting a puncture. Both had hard chases to regain their place in the lead group of 20 or so riders.

Juniper was long gone and on a day where things could have gone better for Epic Scott WRT Laura built on her top ten series ranking by leading the bunch over the line for a hard fought second place. Alexi finished just behind in 13th position.  

Well done to Nikki Juniper on both the GP and series win; she looked, and was, unstoppable on Sunday.  And a further well done to the new Junior National Champ Beth Hayward from Matrix Vulpine. 

Essex Giro – 2-Day Stage Race

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.

Top 20(ish) in the PrologueStage 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.

eg1Stage 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.

eg2Super ride by Gillian. Thrilled of LM. And most of all love my team.

Brief Race Report – the Curlew Cup – a top team ride!

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.

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