02 July 2014
Author: Chris Maher, Pictures courtesy of: www.chrismaher.co.uk
Round Six in the Women’s Road Race Series – Pinsent Masons Otley Grand Prix
Round Six of the Women’s Road Series
Lizzie Armitstead returns home to race in this year’s Women’s Otley Grand Prix.
Local girl Lizzie who rides on the continent for Boels Dolmans Cycling Team returns to participate in this year’s event. Preparing herself now for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow at the end of the month, has tapered her training towards that Gold Medal whilst her team mates ride this year’s Giro Rosa.
The Tour De France passes through Oltey on stage one just after the Grand Depart, so this year’s event is extra special with many events planned on the run up to 5th July.
Series leader Nicola Juniper is down to ride, but Katie Archibald isn’t listed to start the race. Third in the series Laura Trott has been entered into the race along with fourth place Gabby Shaw, who’s hungry for the title.
A late afternoon start to the race in the presence of Tour De France Legend Bernard Hinault, and Le Tour Director Christian Pruhomme with over ten thousand spectators lining the course got underway with Series Leader Nicola Juniper at the head of race.
Taking over the lead, to the delight of the crowd was Armitstead by lap two. Getting in on the action behind Lizzie was Pearl Izumi’s Gaby Shaw, not fazed by the power of Armitstead nor the crowds shouting.
Armitstead was using her strength and ability to ride hard on the front, with similar tactics to last weekend’s Nationals. The field had grew in length, and by lap four had split into at least four groups.
A few attacks had been tried, even with the high pace, but Armitstead was joined at the front by Pearl Izumi’s Dame Helen Storey. Juniper (Team Echelon) was beginning to get distanced in group two on the road, along with her closest rival Gaby Shaw. Wiggle Honda’s Laura Trott hadn’t taken a start in this race, nor her team mate Elinor Barker who won the race last year.
By lap six, the pair had extended their lead to twenty-six seconds, and that extended to forty-seven seconds by lap eight.
Towards the last few laps, they seemed to be the beginnings of a chase, and the leaders began lapping the field. But as the bell lap approached, Armitstead and Storey were well clear.
Coming into the final straight, Lizzie Armistead had plenty of time to check behind and prepare herself for the cruise across the line, arms aloft. Storey then arrived and waived to the applauding crowd as she cross the line in second.
The lapped field then crossed the line, before the next group with Juniper and Shaw both sprinting for third position. Gaby Shaw had though that she had done enough of a sprint to beat Juniper, and seemed quite pleased that she had got that third place, but Juniper kept accelerating across the line to clinch the third place, denying Shaw from narrowing the series lead between them both.
1 Elizabeth Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) 37-41
2 Sarah Storey (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) at 16sec
3 Nicola Juniper (Echelon Rotor) at 2-14
4 Gaby Shaw (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) at same time
5 Abby-Mae Parkinson (RST Racing Team)
6 Anna Walker (Epic Cycles-Scott)
7 Melissa Lowther (Matrix Fitness-Vulpine)
8 Elizabeth Holden (RST Racing Team)
9 Jessie Walker (Matrix Fitness-Vulpine)
10 Delia Beddis (Les Filles RT) all same time
Standings after round six
- Nicola Juniper Team Echelon 172
- Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International 135
- Gabriella Shaw Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International 107
- Laura Trott Wiggle Honda 101
- Danielle King Wiggle Honda 64
- Grace Garner RST Racing Team 58
- Elinor Barker Wiggle Honda 55
- Lydia Boylan Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa 50
- Jessie Walker Matrix Fitness – Vulpine 50
- Dame Sarah Storey Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International 50
Nicola Juniper extends her lead in the Women’s Road Race Series after round six.
The odds are getting more favourable now for Juniper to carry the title to the end, as sadly, the Sheffield Grand Prix mid week race later in July has just been cancelled due to lack of entrants.
Latest new is that series leader Nicola Juniper isn’t down to ride the Essex 2Day.
Results by British Cycling
The next round of the Women’s Road Race Series is the Essex Giro 2day 12-13 July.
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My photos are regularly updated on https://www.flickr.com/photos/23913935@N07/