Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir 2 Day Stage Race – Round 6 – HSBC-UK Women’s Road Series
Newly crowned U23 National Road Race Champion Melissa Lowther, Team Breeze wins round six of the HSBC-UK Women’s National Road Series two-day Northumbrian Water Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir by twenty-one seconds over Hayley Simmons, WNT Pro Cycling after the pair rode clear on stage one of the race.
Lowther went into stage two eleven-seconds ahead of Simmonds taking the race leaders pink jersey – their nearest rivals some three minutes back, giving them a good buffer going into the second day.
Mel Lowther said “I’m really pleased”, talking about yesterday’s win. “I just went in with no pressure and to see how I would do. Up till the last couple of laps I wasn’t sure how it was going to play-out – but I just felt so strong! I knew Hayley was strong.
Once us two got away, I knew we would stay away and I had the kick at the finish”.
That climb of Horseshoe Hill is a real leg sapper! Mel replied “I knew it was going to split up there-it was just a case of being in the right position going up onto it.
I hadn’t seen it before we started racing. I was wondering how far it was to the top.
I got into a little break again (as in stage-one) and as long as we were working, we could stay away again)”.
Stage winner today Laura. You started off three minutes behind Melissa so I think you knew you weren’t in with a real chance of the overall win. “I didn’t have good legs yesterday”, Laura replied “so I was a bit disappointed not to make that selection with Mel and Hayley-but I felt a lot more like myself today.
I’d practiced the finish (yesterday’s finish she was referring to with a grin) so I knew when to change gear, bla, bla, bla. So yeh, I’m happy-pleased with the result today”.
Good conditions prevailed in the Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir moving from the season opener in early April to July in the latter part of the series.
Seventy-three riders took to the start of stage one, a simple five lap circuit around the Derwent Reservoir setting off from a new HQ based in Edmundbyres, already part of the circuit.
A neutralised start along to the beginning of the ascend to Manor House saw the group riding steadily to the top before a three-rider break formed with Sian Botteley, Team OnForm, Emma Lewis, Aprire Bicycles-HSS Hire and Molly Patch, Fusion FT Fierlan.
The group pulled over a minute on the peloton on lap two, but by the midway point the peloton had fragmented into four pieces by the chase as they were caught and a new group of nine formed. Series leader Chanel Mason, Storey Racing was in the second group fifty-nine seconds back.
As the bell lap approached Botteley had dropped back leaving eight leaders with a four-minute advantage. Lowther, Massey, Simmonds, Joscelin Lowden (Aprire), Natalie Grinzcer (WNT), Hannah Payton (Drops), Lizzy Banks (Storey Racing) & Genevieve Whitson (Isorex Cycling Team).
The group attacked each other with Lowther and Simmonds going clear by over one-and-a-half minutes and half a lap remaining.
Entering the grounds off the reservoir for the final kick up-to the finish line, Lowther distanced Simmonds by eleven seconds. It was a wait for the remainder of the breakaway group to fight for GC placings and Laura Massey came in third at three-twenty-six.
Sophie Wright, Strada Sport brought the next group home containing series leader Mason over eight minutes down.
Sixty-eight riders started the more difficult stage two of the Northumbrian Water Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir taking in two reservoir laps before heading over the Bale Hill climb out of Blanchland, the first time this ascend has featured in the women’s peloton, for one lap, then two final laps of the reservoir circuit and the same finish as in stage one.
The first activity of the day saw Rebecca Johnson, Aprire HSS and Ellen McDermott, EDCO Continental clipping off the front halfway around with a 12s lead before McDermott was reeled back in. As the second lap approached Johnson extended her lead to thirty-two seconds.
Johnson maintained her lead up the main ascend of the day to claim the big Queen of the Mountains points with a one-twenty-five advantage, but the GC contenders were hot on her heels before losing contact back down at the loop.
Sophie Wright brought the next group across the summit with Emma Lewis, Aprire HSS third and eventual QoM overall winner. Race leader Lowther, Massey and Mason were all in there as they made their way back down to the finishing circuits and a group of ten had one-fifty-two on the peloton. This soon extended out to three-ten as the bell rang out for the final lap.
The group contained women’s series leader Mason and second place Lizzy Banks. In there too were Lowther, Massey, Simmonds, Wright, Lowden, Grinczer, Payton and Annesley Park, Drops.
It was left to the final climb to the finish line on the Reservoir to decide the outcome of stage two and the overall Tour GC, and this time Lowther and Massey sprinted it out, Massey taking the win.
Storey Racings Lizzy Banks took third and series leader Mason eighth.
Mel Lowther took the overall GC ahead of Hayley Simmons. Laura Massey joined them on the podium in third place.
Lizzy Banks seventh in stage one and third in stage two gave her enough points to reclaim the HSBC-UK National Women’s Series leaders jersey, staying with Storey Racing going into the penultimate round, the Newton Longville Festival of Cycling on July twenty-third.
Results Stage 1 Top Thirty
1 55 Melissa Lowther Team Breeze 2:47:15
2 68 Hayley Simmonds Team WNT +11
3 65 Laura Massey Drops +3:26
4 93 Joscelin Lowden Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire st
5 64 Natalie Grinczer Team WNT +3:28
6 67 Hannah Payton Drops +3:32
7 39 Elizabeth Banks Storey Racing st
8 81 Genevieve Whitson Isorex Cycling Team +5:42
9 98 Sophie Wright Strada Sport +8:13
10 79 Annabel Simpson Drops st
11 16 Anna Henderson Team OnForm +8:17
12 37 Alice Sharpe NCC Group-Kuota-Torelli +8:19
13 23 Anna Kay EDCO Continental st
14 43 Jennifer George Storey Racing st
15 66 Rose Osborne Drops st
16 45 Chanel Mason Storey Racing st
17 18 Julie Esrkine Team OnForm st
18 29 Jennifer Holden Fusion RT Fierlan st
19 7 Jennifer Powell Team Ford Ecoboost st
20 76 Ffion James Abergavenny Road Club st
21 100 Kim Baptista NCC Group-Kuota-Torelli st
22 38 Sophie Thackray NCC Group-Kuota-Torelli +8:23
23 10 Charlotte Colclough Bianchi Dama UK +8:24
24 13 Georgina Panchaud Bianchi Dama UK st
25 27 Alana Prior EDCO Continental st
26 30 Jennifer Hudson Fusion RT Fierlan st
27 21 Alicia Speake Team OnForm +8:27
28 82 Lauren Murphy Liv Cycling Club – Epic Coachin st
29 56 Annasley Park Drops st
30 48 Sophie Enever Team 22 st
Results Stage 2 Top Twenty-five
1 65 Laura Massey Drops 2:50:14
2 55 Melissa Lowther Team Breeze st
3 39 Elizabeth Banks Storey Racing +4
4 93 Joscelin Lowden Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire +7
5 64 Natalie Grinczer Team WNT +10
6 68 Hayley Simmonds Team WNT st
7 67 Hannah Payton Drops +11
8 45 Chanel Mason Storey Racing st
9 98 Sophie Wright Strada Sport +17
10 56 Annasley Park Drops +20
11 7 Jennifer Powell Team Ford Ecoboost +2:16
12 30 Jennifer Hudson Fusion RT Fierlan +2:17
13 79 Annabel Simpson Drops st
14 76 Ffion James Abergavenny Road Club +2:19
15 43 Jennifer George Storey Racing st
16 62 Rebecca Carter Team WNT +2:20
17 13 Georgina Panchaud Bianchi Dama UK +2:22
18 21 Alicia Speake Team OnForm st
19 81 Genevieve Whitson Isorex Cycling Team st
20 37 Alice Sharpe NCC Group-Kuota-Torelli st
21 66 Rose Osborne Drops st
22 23 Anna Kay EDCO Continental st
23 5 Kelly Murphy Team Ford Ecoboost +2:28
24 48 Sophie Enever Team 22 +2:33
25 27 Alana Prior EDCO Continental st
General Classification Overall Top Twenty.
1 55 Melissa Lowther Team Breeze 5:37:29
2 68 Hayley Simmonds Team WNT 5:37:50
3 65 Laura Massey Drops 5:40:55
4 93 Joscelin Lowden Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire 5:41:02
5 39 Elizabeth Banks Storey Racing 5:41:05
6 64 Natalie Grinczer Team WNT 5:41:07
7 67 Hannah Payton Drops 5:41:12
8 81 Genevieve Whitson Isorex Cycling Team 5:45:33
9 98 Sophie Wright Strada Sport 5:45:59
10 45 Chanel Mason Storey Racing 5:45:59
11 56 Annasley Park Drops 5:46:16
12 79 Annabel Simpson Drops 5:47:59
13 7 Jennifer Powell Team Ford Ecoboost 5:48:04
14 43 Jennifer George Storey Racing 5:48:07
15 76 Ffion James Abergavenny Road Club 5:48:07
16 37 Alice Sharpe NCC Group-Kuota-Torelli 5:48:10
17 23 Anna Kay EDCO Continental 5:48:10
18 66 Rose Osborne Drops 5:48:10
19 30 Jennifer Hudson Fusion RT Fierlan 5:48:10
20 13 Georgina Panchaud Bianchi Dama UK 5:48:15
HSBC-UK Women’s Road Series leader board after round six
1: Lizzy Banks Storey Racing 120
2: Laura Massey Drops Pro Cycling 110
3: Melissa Lowther Team Breeze 105
4: Chanel Mason Storey Racing 104
5: Hanna Payton Drops Pro Cycling 101
6: Natalie Grinczer Team WNT Pro Cycling 85
7: Hayley Simmonds Team WNT Pro Cycling 84
8: Sian Botterley Cycle Team OnForm 62
9: Sophie Wright Strada Sport 61
10: Grace Garner Wiggle High5 56