Saturday, 9 June 2012

Tour Series so far

Round 1: Oxford

The first round of the Johnsons Health Tech Grand Prix was held in Lou’s university home town, Oxford. The sun was out in full force and representing Team Mulebar Girl; Lou, Natalie, Wiesia and Sarah lined up to tackle a very technical course. After a fast start, Sarah and Wiesia both found themselves in chasing groups, while Natalie and Lou were up in the main bunch. Halfway through a small break of five went away, which stayed away until the end, made up of winner Annie Simpson, Hannah Barnes, Jo Tindley, Corrinne Hall and Jo McRae. A small group made some ground towards the break and Natalie went after them, crossing the line 9th. Lou unfortunately crashed but, being a total hero, managed to stay with the lead group and finish in a very respectable 17th. Sarah and Wiesia both finished outside the top 20 but worked hard right to the end.

Overall standings after round 1:
Natalie 9th
Lou 17th
TMBG 5th

Round 2: Peterborough

The second round was another hot one, on a fast but twisty circuit at Peterborough. This time with Natalie tied up at work, Lou, Sarah and Wiesia were hoping to hang onto the team standing and improve on their performances with lessons learnt in the previous round. The two neutralized laps behind the lead bike were pretty challenging and the group soon split with lots of corners opening up gaps in the big group. Wiesia was working hard dragging a small chasing group round, and Sarah spent a long time working with a slightly bigger group trying to get back onto the bunch. Lou kept both wheels down and was looking strong in the main bunch. Taking advantage of the high pace, Harriet Owen, Hannah Barnes and tour leader Annie Simpson made a move early on and continued to make ground for the rest of the race, passing both chasing groups with just a few laps to go. Harriet Owen took the win and this left the bunch to sprint for 4th. Lou took advantage of the wide stretch of carriageway before the finishing straight and got herself up front in the sprint, taking 7th, and avoiding a nasty crash.

Overall standings after round 2:
Lou 10th
Natalie TBC, for some reason they have left her off the results
TMBG 6th

Round 3: Colchester

It seems the best of the weather had passed as a damp and bedraggled group lined up for the start at Colchester. After several hours of rain and the associated delays to make sure the circuit was all taped up and sandbagged and safe, a smaller than usual group still made an exciting and tough race. Right from the start the pace was demanding and with conditions pretty grim, some big corners and a decent climb split the group up right away. Wiesia got very unlucky and punctured on the second lap, with no support in the pits and no spare wheels she got stuck in cheering for the other girls instead. Sarah spent the entire race alone and, mistakenly believing herself to be the last rider and seeing no chance of catching anyone, pulled out a few laps before the end. Natalie made an attack which strung the group out and a few wheels back, with riders pushing to get onto wheels in order to keep up, Lou found herself pushed right out and having her second crash of the series, she still managed to get straight up and battle round with another rider, eventually finishing 12th. Natalie continued to hold her own in the lead group and with one lap to go made a valiant attack, which sadly got reeled in, but managed to still finish strongly in 10th place in a bunch sprint won by Eileen Roe, with Annie Simpson retaining the leaders jersey.

Overall standings after round 3:
Lou 9th
Natalie TBC, for some reason they have left her off the results
TMBG 4th

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