The first round of the 2016 KALAS South West Women’s Race Series was superbly organised by Cycle Sport South Hams on the infamously lumpy Modbury circuit. With last year’s top three finishers missing and defending SW Series Champion Emma Cockcroft of Bikeshed-Bianchi competing on the track, it was anyone’s guess to how the race would unfold. In previous years, it had seen one or two rider breaks succeed in staying away with attacks usually flying on the ‘Modbury Mur’.
However, this edition saw a front group of twenty riders form very quickly and stay together for the majority of the three 21km laps. Plymouth based Elite Velo Kalas Sportswear CRT had the largest showing with eight riders on the start line and they controlled the pace of the bunch well by taking smooth turns on the front for the majority of the first lap. The second lap saw Performance Cycles and Bath University riders take the helm at the front, trying to up the pace and put little digs in but none of their attacks were enough to split the group.
Both Jennifer Powell of Elite Velo and Lauren Dolan of Liv CC-Epic Coaching looked strong on each ascent of the Mur but again the group still stuck together. It was the final descent down the valley towards Ermington that saw the most convincing attacks launched, most notably from Hannah Larbalestier of Bath University and Alexandra Jenkins of Aprire-HSS Hire. However, Perfomance Cycles’ Kate Baker was committed to chasing these down and the group reformed going into the final few kilometres at the foot of the last climb.
A touch of wheels and shoulders saw several riders (including Alex Jenkins) caught on the inside get pushed into the hedgerow, which the rest of the group did well to avoid. Eventual winner Lauren Dolan was perfectly positioned rounding the last corner approaching the finishing straight and took a convincing win just ahead of a very tight sprint for second between Kate Baker and Heidi Viles from Somerset RC-The Bicycle Chain.
Lucy Burgess of Radeon Bike Science RT, Jennifer Powell, Hannah Larabaliester, Lucy Scott of Bath Uni and Bethan Stubbs of Bikeshed-Bianchi rounded out the front group of finishers. A great win for young Lauren Dolan, building on her second place finish at last month’s Primavera Road Race. She now leads the SW Women’s Race Series!
Full results for all finishers:
1. Lauren Dolan (Junior) – Liv Cycling Club-Epic Coaching
2. Kate Baker – Performance Cycles
3. Heidi Viles – Somerset RC-The Bicycle Chain
4. Lucy Burgess – Radeon Bike Science RT
5. Jennifer Powell – Elite Velo Kalas Sportswear CRT
6. Hannah Larabalestier – University of Bath Cycling Club
7. Lucy Scott – University of Bath Cycling Club
8. Bethan Stubbs – Bikeshed-Bianchi
9. Georgie Panchaud – Cycleworks.co.uk
10. Ellie Gilham – Primera -Team Jobs
11. Hester Stembridge – Elite Velo Kalas Sportswear CRT
12. Fiona Reading – Radeon Bike Science RT
13. Joanne Jago – Performance Cycles
14. Zoe Betteridge – North Devon Wheelers-Southfork
15. Sophie Williams (Junior) – Elite Velo Kalas Sportswear CRT
16. Jasmine Gray (Junior) – Elite Velo Kalas Sportswear CRT
17. Rebecca Cornwell – Taw Velo
18. Alice Staniford – Elite Velo Kalas Sportswear CRT
19. Alexandra Jenkins – Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire
20. Karen Wyle Smith – Elite Velo Kalas Sportswear CRT
21. Agata Wiznicka – Aprire Bicycles/HSS Hire
22. Hetty Summerhayes (Junior) – Elite Velo Kalas Sportswear CRT
23. Sue Williams – Revo Racing
Thanks to CCSH for a brilliant race and for the photos! Also, many thanks to Bethan Stubbs, Alex Jenkins and Lucy Burgess for their feedback after the race.
The next round of the SW Women’s Series will be the Four Firs Hilly TT run by Exeter Wheelers on the 27th March.