Johnston makes it two from two whilst Russell takes a commanding lead in the men’s standings
Fran Bromley leads the 4th Cat group
Lauren Johnston took the sprint win from a hard working 4th Cat group that held off the higher category riders in the handicap pursuit race. With the same four riders finishing at the top of the standings in the 4th cat race we knew that it would be a hard task for the senior riders to bring the group back. Whilst Johnston, Nash (University of Bristol CC), Nott (Army CU), Prince (Cotswold Veldrijden), Bromley and Hodges (both Avid Sport) settled straight into a working group, the riders behind struggled to get organised. Lucy Austin (Army Race Team) charged across the gap and had halved her deficit one third of the way into the race, leaving the other second and third category riders in her wake. In the end the effort told, and with one against six she ended up going backwards in the second half of the race rather than forwards. Johnston was pleased with the win in a tough race:
“Everyone was working really hard which meant the finish was really tough. It was part of the plan, we wanted to get as much of a gap to the third cats as we could.”
Lucy Austin in pursuit
Johnston said that she was worried about the threat of Avid Sport rider Fran Bromley going into the finish. Bromley was disappointed after the race saying “Lauren just went, Molly went and then I tried to follow Molly’s wheel. Rebekah started coming round on my left and instead of carrying on I tried to go on her wheel. I think I just caught myself in, but the others were all riding super strong.”
Behind the leaders, Jenny Bolsom (Bikechain-Ricci) was putting in a solid ride to take the third spot in the series standings behind Johnston and Nash. It is shaping up to be a close run thing between the top riders, and it wasn’t an easy day for those further down the pack with Uni of Bath’s Elizabeth Pressage describing it as a “brutal” race and saying that it was “six people working well together against me on my own”.
Three riders dominated in the 4th Cat race
The men’s 4th cat race saw dominance from another strong co-operating group at the front with Jared Linden (Royal Dean Forest CC), Andrew White (Okehampton CC) and Ben Osborne (NFTO RC) going away early and quickly establishing a large gap. With their gap more than secure, the three started to cat and mouse a little going into the final stages of the race with Osborne like he was starting to play games with the other two and last weeks’ winner Linden looking to follow Johnston’s lead and make it two from two. He came in solo last week and this time around had White to contend with who had the jump coming into the finish. It looked like that was things done and dusted, but White clearly hadn’t seen the video of the finish from the men’s 2/3 race last week – he started to ease up and look over his shoulder as the line approached. Linden hadn’t sat up, and drew up alongside but couldn’t quite overhaul white. Another great ride from Linden puts him up to second in the series standings.
John Russell had to settle for second this week after his close victory last time out, but can settle for padding his series lead by a healthy margin. This week’s race was far more aggressive than last time out, with many of the moves lead by VC Walcot’s Stefan Barnett. With a few small groups getting away early it was a solo move from Barnett that was the only one to stick, but the bunch always had the one rider in its sights and closed him down before the final laps. Team Tor 200 Kalas’ Charlie Revell had been patrolling the front of the bunch throughout and confirmed his dominance taking the sprint by a good margin – no controversy this time around. Revell and Russell were followed in by Will Perrin of Gannet CC, with Barnett rolling in off the back of the bunch having burnt his matches before the sprint.