It’s been a great week for Team FBUK – ABUS with riders hitting every step of the podium. The week began in Corwaren, Belgium with a depleted team of 3 riders on the start line, due to illness of the 3 other riders based in Belgium. However, with a good race plan and great finishing sprint, FBUK rider Lorna Webb got 3rd in the bunch sprint to take the teams first podium of the season. Line Ramsrud of Norway gained 11th place on the day, with Emma Silversides taking 21st.
Confidence was high going into the weekend, where the team had 2 races in Belgium, one Major UCI international in Holland, and also a UK race for the development team.
Saturday was the Ronde van Gelderland in South West Holland. It is part of the Dutch top competition series and is ranked as a UCI 1.2 race. With a blend of experience and development in the team, FBUK – ABUS set out in the 140km race hoping for good showing in the lead group. After 70km, entering the hills for the final 70km of the race, FBUK- ABUS had 3 riders in the front group, including Cath Hare, Helen Wyman and Julie O’Hagen, who joined the team as a guest rider for the day. This was also the first UCI race for South African team member Yolandi du Toit.
The first hill saw the lead group down to just 60 riders from the 200 starters and in the final 6km lap for the finish, Helen worked to get Cath in good position for the sprint, with Cath ending the race in 23rd place, and Helen in 45th. The other team riders played vital roles in the early stages and the team were very happy with the result.
The team then returned to their Belgium bases, and that of team sponsor Tim Harris (www.thetableandchairgroup.com) to prepare for a Belgian national race in Begijnenbijk, which is only 20km from the team house. With the race being local, the team were determined to put in a good performance in front of local crowds, and weren’t disappointed. After 40km of the 100km race, local professional Sofie Goor and Helen Wyman of Team FBUK – ABUS, left the bunch and rode the last 60km alone. Helen finished 2nd behind the very strong Vlanderen rider. Behind these two, Cath Hare, Emma Silversides, Line Ramsrudd and Gabby Day rode very strongly on the front of the bunch with Cath taking 8th place in the bunch sprint.
Following 2 days and 240km of racing, with tired legs, the team travelled to Westkerke for its final races before returning to the UK to compete in the Cheshire Classic. The team were instructed to sit in the bunch for the first 40km to allow them sufficient recovery from the efforts of the two previous days. By this point a group had gone away containing 8 riders FBUK chased hard and brought the gap down from 2 minutes to just 20 seconds, but unassisted in the chase, the team launched Helen into a small group and she took 10th place.
Finally, back in the UK, the FBUK – Schwalbe development team were racing in the Women’s Team Series. With only 5 riders in the full field, Laura Bissell, held her nerve in the final sprint to take victory for the team. Team Captain of the development team Tracey Fletcher also finished 15th in the sprint. This race also marked the return of Clare Gross to racing after several months of illness following the cyclo-cross season.
All efforts now move towards the Cheshire Classis and team retaining the National Series after it was won last year by Helen Wyman.
For more information on the team and riders please see: