DAY 1 - Prologue & 1st Stage (5 Stages)
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After 5 stages of the 3 Days of Bedford International Stage Race, Lorna Webb – Impsport Composite Team, took the General Classification after a fine win in the opening Prologue and then taking out the afternoon's circuit race as well, ahead of strongly fancied Angela Hunter – GS Strada.
The morning's one lap of the Milton Keynes Bowl was held in windy condition when 78 riders faced the time keeper for the technical burst around the National Cycling Circuit. Lorna Webb took the honours – and the first yellow leaders jersey with Isabbel Hoffman – Team Bianchi Holland and Cycling Irelands Colette Swift.
The 51 kilometre circuit race started at a very fast pace with the bunch losing riders as early as the first lap but there were precious bonus seconds to be won with the 3 sprints that enlivened the race. With an exciting sprint Lorna Webb won by half a wheel in front of Angela Hunter with Helen Gutteridge – Team Luciano in third and the rest of the main bunch hot on the wheel marks.
DAY 2 - Stages 2 and 3
Winning 3 of the 4 stages covered so far, Lorna Webb – Impsport Composite, staked her claim to the overall title. With a constant battle between her, Angela Hunter – GS Strada and Dutch rider Isabelle Hoffman for the vital bonus seconds it was thought that the morning's time trial which Hunter won by some 40 seconds would seal matters, however it was down the 80 kilometre road race around the Keysoe circuit in the end. Held in real summer sun, the pace was fast from the start and those bonus seconds still on over at the sprint point and the main hill on the course. Up the finish hill for the last time and it was super Lorna who crossed the line first with Helen Gutteridge – Team Luciano in second place trailed closely by 3rd place Amy Hunt – WCRA.
DAY 3 - Stage 4
Lorna Webb - Impsport Composite Team proved to be the star of the 3 Days of Bedford International Stage Race by winning the final stage to add to her 3 wins already. But with no time bonuses for stage placings it was the very experienced Angela Hunter – GS Strada who took the final Yellow Jersey to round off a wonderful weekend of top class racing held in brilliant sunshine.
The 5th and final stage took place on the Astwood-Chicheley circuit when the riders covered 80 kilometres at a real cracking pace; Before sore legs could get used to another days efforts the speed was really picked up with the first sprint of the race and those oh so vital bonus seconds.
That first sprint set the tone of the race and it was fast all the way but as is common with women’s racing – no one was prepared to give in and sit in the race headquarters.The battle for the Sprint title and the Hill competition was just as fierce as that for overall leadership and after the points were finally worked out it was Isabelle Hoffman – Team Bianchi-Holland who took Hill Competition title and the jersey with Lorna Webb the Sprint Competition title.
On the final climb of the day the top riders were getting themselves placed and hitting the line first Lorna Webb claimed ALL the 5 stages of this race with Team Luciano’s sprinter Helen Gutteridge 2nd just ahead of Angela Hunter.
Special mention must be made of those riders in the lower categories; Gabby Day – Impsport Composite won the 3-4 category section with Caroline James Eastern Region Velo taking the 2nd category title.Best Junior was Nikki Hunt – WCRA. A special Combativity Prize was donated by Han Leunk from Holland and after considering many fine riders, the panel agreed that it went to the aggressive but nice Colette Swift.A special prize was donate by Rachel McKay and Paul Brown for the last 2 riders on General Classification a pair of Easter Eggs!
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