(written by Pan Pan Fan of Look Mum No Hands! RT with additional words by Maryka Sennema. Photos courtesy of LondonCycleSport)
Lydia Boylan takes the first league win of 2012 and the leader's jersey
Forty-two riders representing approximately eighteen local teams were greeted with warm weather and sunshine for the opening race of the London Women’s Cycle League at Hog Hill this past Saturday, March 24th. The winds near the flat stretches of the one-mile circuit were heavy, ambitious to tire out the legs and lungs of potential break-away riders.
As the race began, the pack eased into a steady pace for the first few laps, keeping everyone together. An attack from the start by Lisa Gunn of Team Wynda Milla UK Youth shed a few riders as she soloed ahead, only to be disappointed by a puncture and crash soon after. Luckily, her speed and quick-thinking got her safely out of the way of the nearing riders. Undeterred, Gunn took a lap out and returned to the race. Charlotte Easton of Look Mum No Hands RT (“LMNH”) also put in an attack on the hill and stayed off the front for over half a lap before Nicola Juniper of Corvida Allpress RT bridged the group to her.
Approximately twenty minutes through the hour-long circuit and after the first prime won by Francesca Morgan Sadler of Lee Valley Youth CC, Juniper put in an aggressive attack on the windy flat stretch of the course, immediately putting time between her and the peloton. Jo McRae of LMNH RT immediately spotted Juniper’s speed and jumped with her, with Astrid Wingler of London Phoenix CC courageously bridging the gap to join them. The three break-away riders flew away from the main group, working efficiently with one another. The pack struggled with organisation as teammates of Juniper and Boylan were controlling the pace while a few riders were ambitious on catching the break, whose gap was diminishing slowly.
Exhausted from the efforts of the break, McRae felt herself losing the other two as the peloton neared them on the hill. It was stroke of strategic brilliance that saved LMNH. As McRae lost Juniper’s wheel in front of her, Lydia Boylan of LMNH (last year’s LWCR’s leader), surged to catch the break of Juniper and Wingler, swapping places with McRae. With fresh legs from conserving strategically prior, Boylan helped Juniper and Wingler increase the time gap from the closely chasing pack from ten seconds, to twenty, to well over thirty. However, the early break-away efforts and windy back-stretch had taken a toll on Juniper and Wingler. With each lap, Boylan led the pace up the hill, surging just enough to force Juniper and Wingler into the red zone. Five laps to go, Boylan took a risky move and attacked on the hill, knowing that she was fresher than the other two and that her team mates would be controlling the chase of the bunch. Despite a lap of valiant chasing, first by Wingler and then by Juniper, Boylan increased her lead to a solo flier off the front. The peloton, meanwhile, resigned to letting the break-away stick, several teams frustrated with their chasing efforts.
In the end, neither Wingler nor Juniper were able to catch Boylan, who soloed off to a first place finish. Their sprint, however, was closely contested, with Wingler edging out Juniper by a tyre width. The pack finished with Jane McInnes of London Dynamo Prologue winning the field sprint for 4th place, Anna Grundy of LMNH RT coming in close second for 5th place, and Emily Barnes of Corvida Allpress RT next in an overall 6th place. Special congratulations go to Siobhan McNamara of Inverse RT for coming in as the 1st cat3/4 and an overall 8th place finish.
The race for 2nd place was won by Astrid Wingler (right) of London Phoenix over Nicola Juniper of Corvida Allpress by a tyre width.
It was an exciting day for women’s racing, as the league saw a large number of starters and a dynamic race. We were all happy to leave with sore legs, participant badges, and a nice sun-tan for March.
The podium along with 3/4th cat winner Siobhan McNamara of Inverse-Cyclaim (left) and Lydia in her red Rapha league leader's jersey.
Race video shot by John Mullineaux of UKCyclesport
1 2 Lydia Boylan Look Mum No Hands
2 23 Astrid Wingler London Phoenix
3 16 Nicola Juniper Corvida Allpress
4 34 Jane McInnes London Dynamo
5 12 Anna Grundy Look Mum No Hands
6 1 Emily Barnes Corvida Allpress
7 18 Bethany Hayward Welwyn Whlrs Youth A
8 41 Siobhan McNamara Inverse RT
9 27 Coralie Glaunes Pearson Cycles
10 8 Louise Fellingham London Dynamo
11 25 Jo McRae Look Mum No Hands
12 21 Helen Ralston Pearson Cycles
13 22 Fiona Stephenson PM
14 9 Vikki Filsell Pearson Cycles
15 19 Nicole Oh Pearson Cycles
16 24 Elinor Winter Corvida Alpress
17 4 Elizabeth Chittenden Eagle RC
18 30 Elise Sherwell Look Mum No Hands
19 37 Helen McKay Look Mum No Hands
20 11 Julie Granshaw Wynda Milla RT
21 13 Lisa Gunn Wynda Milla RT
22 40 Charlotte Easton Look Mum No Hands
23 5 Monica Da Polenza Wynda Milla RT
24 28 Deborah Coyle Greenwich Tritons
25 31 Charmaine Brown Pearson Cycles
26 17 Francesca Morgan Sadler Lee Valley Youth CC Youth A
27 7 Nikki Engelbach Pearson Cycles
28 15 Vanda Jeffreys Reading CC
29 32 Helen Keaton Pearson Cycles
30 42 Charlotte Roberge Dulwich Paragon
31 35 Aimee Wright High Wycombe
32 29 Sophia Joy Elan CC
33 33 Sarah Stewart Greenwich Triton
34 26 Clare Gillott Dulwich Paragon
First 3/4th cat - 41 Siobhan McNamara Inverse RT
Prime - 17 Francesca Morgan Sadler Lee Valley Youth CC