Race Results - Cheltenham & County CC
Cheltenham & County CC - Women's National Series - UK - 56miles (90km)
The race rolled out up a 12% climb within the first 1km of neutralised riding. The riders were stopped and re-grouped just before joining the circuit for the start-proper, which was 45km long - to be covered twice - doubtless a relief to the riders who faced the tough climbs "only" twice. At 6 miles everything was still together, but by the top of the KIlkenney climb at 7.5 miles, there were 2 riders away - Nina Davies and Katrina Hair - teammates in the forthcoming Ster Walcheran (NL),but combatants today!
These two managed to stay away for the remainder of the race, although they were joined by Julie Mann and Dianne Moss with just 10 miles to go, at 46 miles. The gap reached over one minute at 14 miles. The bunch mainly stayed together, apart from the departure of Mann and Moss at 22 miles - the pair taking 24 miles to reel-in Davies and Hair. A group of 6 did go off the front when Mann and Moss went away and hung off the front for 6 miles, before being brought back. Survival in the bunch then become a matter of hanging on, only 8 were left at the end of the race - the others had been dropped on the hills which, according to riders afterwards, seemed so much harder the second time round.
Mann and Moss had the leaders in sight for about 16 miles - tantalisingly close at 40seconds, but seemingly unable to close the gap. Whilst the bunch were consistently at about 1 minute 40 for much of the race.
Catching the leaders at 46 miles, it didn't take Julie Mann long to catch her breath before she tried her legs on the narrow hill at Perrots Brook, but her fellow chaser and the caught pair reacted and went with her. After descending the Fossebridge at 55mph, 2 miles later and even upon entering the final kilometre, the 4 were looking at each other and slowed to only 20mph at times, as each waited for the other to make a move.
Upon passing the 1km to go board, the riders were freewheeling - anticipating the sprint which was sure to happen soon - if only someone would go for it.... Hair led Davies then Mann then Moss, who was tightening her shoes.
Moss started the sprint as the riders started the
hill, Mann went with her. Davies jumped onto Moss's wheel as did Hair.
Into the final 100m Moss was leading Hair & Davies, Mann was on the
outside. At 50m to go, Moss was still leading, but Hair had the legs to go
by & take the line. Mann did not contest the sprint.
Jacqui Marshal led the sprint in for 5th (1st junior) ahead of what was left of the bunch. 9th was Helene Carbin - in from the USA less than 24 hours earlier with a creditable performance despite her jetlag.
Post-race, Katrina Hair said afterwards, "I'm really chuffed". In response to whether she had intended to go so early, she admitted that she "has never really made a break before, but was going for the King of the Mountains, got away & kept going. Nina (Davies) was on my wheel so we just went. It worked well really - she's smaller and just shoots up the hills and I go along the flat and do a time trial." (Katrina is known as a tester).
In response to a question as to whether Mann and Moss left the leaders "dangling" at 40seconds ahead of them for so long on purpose, Dianne replied that she had suffered a bug during the week and was struggling to get through and help Julie (Mann) with their chase. This was why it had taken them so long to get in contact. She said that once they saw the leaders, it didn't take long to catch them. (In fact, the lead went from 40 seconds to "caught" in just 2 miles - Webmaster). "Julie did a mammoth task to get us up there. I feel sorry for her really".
Result : 56miles in 2hr 32mins
1st Katrina Hair - Team Scotland
2nd Dianne Moss - SP Systems-Wightlink
3rd Nina Davies - Port Talbot Wheelers
4th Julie Mann - Triangle RT - Voodoo
5th Jacqui Marshall - VC St Raphael
6th Karyn Byrne - Tunstall Wheelers
7th Elizabeth Smith - SP Systems-Wightlink
8th Helen Gutteridge - Beeston RC
9th Helene Carabin - Mathis Brothers CRRC, Oklahoma, USA
10th Jackie White - Tunstall Wheelers
King of the Mountains Prize - Katrina Hair