After the intensive racing of May, there was no let up for the team as the month kicked off with the CiCLE Classic on Sunday 3rd June.
Starting at 2pm from Sherrard Street in Melton, the 3rd Women’s CiCLE Classic race followed the same 105 km course the Junior Men’s had covered earlier on the same day. The Women’s race was due to finish around 5.15pm in the centre of Melton back at the start point.
Over 120 Elite, Cat 1 & 2 women took to the start in this year’s race, although a notable absentee was 2017 winner, the Olympic, World, European and multi British National Champion Katie Archibald. The number one spot was be taken by Becca Durrell, winner of the first ever Women’s CiCLE Classic back in 2016.
Admiral Liv AWOL entered five riders, Hannah Bayes, Charlotte Broughton, Connie Hayes, Clover Murray and Poppy Wildman. A reconnaissance ride a few weeks earlier had given the team an insight into the hurt they were likely to expect and the challenges ahead, with this race being one of the toughest on the calendar.
Despite their brave efforts, and along with 73 others from the 121 string start line, all five riders were swept up by the broom wagon during the race. Connie Hayes tweeted afterwards “Spent some time early on at the front yesterday CiCLE Womens before I attacked off the back on a hill! Learned a lot from my time in the bunch and there where good riders in my little group when we met the broom wagon so I am okay with it!”
Earlier on the weekend, the Youth Development riders Charlotte McGreevy and Harley Pell had been in action in the third leg of the 2018 British Cycling Youth Circuit Series, at Hillingdon. Junior teammate Zoe Brookes was back at her old club to help support the two riders and ended up assisting in more ways than expected.
The race was, as it always seems to be at Hillingdon a close, tight peloton for most of the race, with the odd attack off the front that never lasted for any length of time. The group hit the final bend and en masse went into a full sprint. The crunch and snapping of carbon could be heard far and wide as riders came crashing down less than 100m from the line. Those near the front escaped, as did Charlotte who finished with a great 14th result, some went off the side, and some were unlucky like Harley and went down. Zoe came to the rescue and supported her past the line so that she got a finishing time and 34th, which wasn’t bad considering.
The following Tuesday evening Isla was in action at the Lotus Car Cycle Race League 2018 in Norwich. This is her first race back after injury, so it is great to see her back on her bike and racing, taking 4th at the finish. The next evening, and back in London for the Dulwich Paragon CC Crystal Palace Crits – 2018, and Hannah Graveney was racing the E/1/2 Women category. A tough line up including several Elite and Cat 1 riders. Hannah finished in 13th place.
The award-winning MR PORTER Nocturne returned to the City of London on Saturday 9th June for a spectacular day and evening of bike racing and entertainment. The unique format has riders on folding bikes, penny farthings, fixed gear bikes, with both amateur cyclists and elite professionals racing across an action-packed programme on the exiting Cheapside race circuit. There’s a race for every bike in this celebration of cycling!
And Admiral Liv AWOL was present for the second year in a row, with Hannah Bayes, Zoe Brookes, Hannah Graveney, Connie Hayes and Clover Murray racing. Like the OVO Energy Tour Series, this is a brutal elite level criterium, raced at full speed from the word go, with lapped riders pulled out before the end of the race.
Like so many of the elite races, lapped riders are withdrawn before the finish, and with laps taking between 90-120 secs, it was hard not to be caught. Despite that the team has a couple of great rides, with Hannah B in 10th place and Clover 21st, out of the 26 finishers.
Connie, Hannah G, and Zoe, unfortunately, got swept up. Zoe tweeted “Bit of a disaster of a race for me (at) Nocturne cycling last night after struggling with illness all week, but was a great event to race at and I did get a cool photo!! 📷Alexander Naylor
Another day on, another race, the Cyclopark Women’s Grand Prix finale at Gravesend, featuring Elizabeth Marvelly, Connie Hayes, Clover Murray, Hannah Bayes and Isla Rush, who was making her debut with other members of the team. It was an exciting affair with fantastic teamwork.
One main peloton held together at a fast pace from the word go, with the odd attack now and again, including a few from our own Connie.
Unfortunately, the pace was too much for still recovering rider, Isla Rush, and she had to withdraw. Despite this, it was really great to see her mended, in the new team colours and back on her bike racing.
Back in the main group, with Connie pushing forward, the rest of the team tried to manage any riders trying to chase down the attacks, and eventually about halfway through the race, a solid break of 7 riders including Connie broke free.
Slowly and surely the lead group kept notching up the pace, and the lead extended until they had a clear gap that wasn’t looking likely to be caught. And an impressive performance by Connie who did a good share of her turns on front helping to pull it away.
The rest of the team continued to keep everything in check and showed clearly how well they have gelled together as a group, and a pleasure to watch.
When it came to the final sprint up the hill (the course was running in reverse to the normal direction for Cyclopark races) Connie surprised herself by still having the legs to go for it, and pulled off a great 5th pace against some tough competition. She tweeted in amazing afterwards “Think I would have laughed if someone told a 15-year-old me who got dropped on a weekly basis at the Friday night youth series at Cyclopark, that I would manage to get 5th at today’s team series race there. Huge thank you to @EpicCoaching for teaching me how to race!”
A great finish and very happy team, with final placings for Elizabeth at 27th, Hannah B at 28th and Clover 31st. Great racing ladies!
And to conclude, a tweet from Isla “So proud of my teammates at the Women’s Team Series at Cyclopark today- especially Connie, what a ride!!! Getting back into racing again is hard and I’m learning a lot, but I’m determined to get back to where I was before my crash 👊 Thank you so much for the continued support @AdmiralUK @AdmiralLivAWOL @LivCyclingUK @PerkinsGarages it wouldn’t be possible without you guys!”
Pat Hayes commented “Great Women’s Team Series Cyclopark Grand Prix. The break got away after 10 miles. A great 5th place for Connie. Thank you to everyone involved in organising and Project 51 Events”. A full set of race photos is available on Flickr.
A number of the team compete on a regular basis at local time trials. On Tuesday night’s you can usually find Connie Hayes doing the 10 mile TT around Lee Valley Velopark. Lauren Higham was out on the 13th, for the Stevenage Cycling Club Evening 10 (map), picking up a 3rd place with 26:56. She tweeted “Great 1st time out on a new TT course tonight with Stevenage CC.”
Charlotte McGreevy raced in a couple of Dulwich Paragon CC Crystal Palace Crit rounds this month. The first one was on 12th June, saw her finish in 2nd place, and a week later she bettered that by one place. For the win, of course 🙂
Connie was at the Milton Keynes Bowl on Thursday 14th for the Corley Cycles / Abbeygate Developments Summer Series Round 9, where a reasonable 16 string field were present. Following on from her determined 5th place success at Cyclopark the previous weekend, Connie surprised herself again. “How on earth did I win a bunch sprint🤷🏼♀️😊” was her reaction after taking the win!
And on the same evening, Hannah Graveney was out at the Gravesend for the Cyclopark Summer Series Round 9. Unfortunately, she was the only woman riding so had to compete with the men, but it’s all good race training, finishing 28th overall, and of course, 1st woman.
In between her rounds of Crystal Palace Crits, Charlotte McGreevy was busy with rounds 7 and 8 of the Spring in the Park Series at Cyclopark, Gravesend. In the first of these, on Friday the 15th June, she took 3rd place, and the following week, for the time-trial round she took the top spot.
Harley Pell had a busy two-day racing weekend, taking 3rd place at the Lee Valley Youth CC Youth Races #5 – National Series Warm-Up, and the next day taking the win at the Ipswich Grass Track Omnium 2018. Harley tweeted “Great to be back racing this weekend after my crash at Hillingdon and GCSE’s. Pleased with my results 3rd at Hog Hill road race. 1st at Ipswich Grass track.”
Connie and Hannah were back again along with Poppy Wildman for the Team MK Central League Road Race on Sunday 17th around the Greens Norton Road Circuit. Sadly it was a day without any results, but Connie looked back on it prudently with the comment “Before it all went wrong! Found out the hard way this week that you win some, yet you definitely lose some! Unfortunate to DNF yesterday, but I listened to my body and did the right thing. After last weeks results I am not surprised and hopefully, I will be back up there again soon”. We’re sure you and the others will be.
Wednesday night, 20th, and Connie Hayes and Isla Rush were in Ipswich for the Suffolk Cycle Race Series in Trinity Park, along with 14 others. Both ladies put in a good performance, with Connie just missing podium in 4th and Isla in 8th.
Saturday 23rd, and it was track racing for Zoe Brookes at Herne Hill Velodrome for the Women’s League – round 3. The day kicked off with a good 3rd place in her scratch heat, followed by 5th in the flying 200m time-trial, 2nd in the win-out and 4th in her 7.5km scratch.
Both Hannah’s (Bayes and Graveney), Lauren Higham and Charlotte Broughton took on the 2-day Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir elite race. This is a particularly tough weekend of racing, and part of the HSBC UK National Women’s Road Series. The Tour of the Reservoir represents the only two-day race in the Series calendar.
Both days started at Edmundbyers in the North Pennines (County Durham) racing around or near Lake Derwent with the first-day consisting of less mileage, 65.5 miles and the final day including extra circuits of the route, increasing the mileage to 75.7 miles.
From the team, on the first day, Charlotte came in 67th, followed by Hannah Bayes 70th and Hannah Graveney just making the cut in 80th. With scorching temperatures across the Pennines, it was a hard task, and unfortunately, the three remaining riders on day 2 did not finish.
On the same day, back down in sunny London, Charlotte McGreevy was back at Cyclopark for a warm up to the following weekend’s Youth Tour of London. The Youth Summer 1-day stage race consisted of a prologue and a circuit race and Charlotte took 3rd spot on the podium.
And also on Sunday 24th, at the West Suffolk Wheelers Track Meeting (incorporating BC National 800m Championship), Harley Pell took two wins and three 2nd places, across the 5 events that included women’s 8km, women’s devil, women’s 800m, women’s 1 mile and mixed 500m handicap.
A few days later, on the evening of Wednesday 27th, Hannah B and Charlotte were in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, for the 2018 Ilkley Cycle Races. A challenging 1.5km town centre circuit, saw them finishing 18th and 14th respectively.
The same evening, youth rider Harley Pell took the win in the Suffolk Cycle Racing Series week 3.
After a two month break from racing while her exams were on, it was back to Cyclopark Summer Race Series round 11 on Wednesday the 28th for Rosie Wallace. Like Hannah in round 9, Rosie had to race alone against the men. But nice to come back with the win!
The month finished under a scorching sun with a new event in the British Cycling Youth Circuit Series, the 2 day, 4 stage, Youth Tour of London. A prologue plus 1hr circuit race on the Saturday at Redbridge Cycling Centre, followed the next day by a 30min sprint and 1hr circuit race at Gravesend Cyclopark. An intensive two days of racing that would certainly test the riders.
If you ever thought the few seconds on a prologue (time-trial) didn’t really matter as you could pick up the seconds easily on the longer races, think again. In the three circuit races, both Harley Pell and Charlotte McGreevy finished with the main front group and were given identical times, along with several others, but the difference in final GC placings was purely down to the initial prologue.
Both riders put in great performances with Harley just missing out on top 10, in 11th spot, and Charlotte in 18th place. The time difference was less than 4 seconds between the two. over 2 and a half hours racing! Well done to both riders. Harley tweeted “What a great weekend of racing at the London 2 day Nationals thanks Huw Williams. Really pleased to have come away with 11th in GC. Especially after doing hog hill stuck in 1 gear!! Thanks, mum and dad for getting my bike fixed so I could start today.”
Featured photo by Simon Blackwell.