A huge field of 34 riders turned out for the WCRA Circuit Champs in Warwick on Sunday and were in for a hectic ride through a very narrow, twisty and technical circuit as the single car width circuit made overtaking difficult and those with tentative cornering skills were made to pay.
The dash to the first corner had Louise Mahe (Sutton CC) and Lorna Webb (KSV Gaverzicht) gain a small gap on the charging field but on the second corner a crash which included Jen Tebbutt (Luciano) and Michelle Bergstram (Raleigh ERV) caused all but five riders to be blocked to some degree and the leaders took full advantage of this.
With Webb, Mahe and Lizzie Armitstead (Raleigh ERV) leading the field and Bergstram soon to join them, having taken a lap out, the pace was fast and furious throughout.
The chasing field slowly being left in the wake of the four leaders, it was Laura Bissell ( GS Strada), who has a strong background racing on these tight circuits, who made inroads into the front groups gap, closing within 20 seconds of the front group and eventually picking up Bergstram who couldn’t quite keep pace with the leaders.
Lorna Webb was having a super day and kept a relentless pace, dropping Mahe (Mahe would retire soon afterwards with stomach pains) and opening up a sizeable gap on Lizzie Armitstead.
Armitstead, who recently won the National Circuit Champs on another narrow circuit at Curborough, was not finished yet, as Webb crashed on one of the tight bends but remounting quickly to stay just ahead of Armitstead, who realised the error and used this opportunity to close down on Webb, which she did with 5 laps to go, immediately joining in with the task of staying ahead of the chasers.
With the leaders, Webb and Armitstead, 25 seconds clear of Bissell and Bergstram and a further 15 seconds back to Sara Burling (CC Giro) and Jen Tebbutt (Kuota-Luciano) and a larger group a further 20 seconds back including FBUK’s Lizzie Goodband and Femke Van Schelven, VCL’s Jo Tindley, Halesowen’s Jess Varnish as well as a few others.
As the race unwound the leaders begun lapping backmarkers and with 3 laps to go the race officials pulled those riders out, leaving the three distinct groups plus 3 or 4 individuals on the circuit to tidy up the major placings.
Coming into the finish though it was Lorna Webb who, having spent much of the season on the continent racing these types of events, accelerated into the final bend opening up enough of a small gap to hold off the charging Armitstead and raise her arms in a two armed victory salute.
Third and fourth placings were taken by Laura Bissell and Michelle Bergstram.
A full list of result swill be posted as soon as we get it from the organisers but we can tell you that the event winner was Lorna Webb and the WCRA circuit race champion was Lizzie Armitstead. (Webb’s team is not a member of the Women’s Cycle Racing Association hence why she couldn’t hold the trophy).
Thanks to the organisers for putting on a grand event.David Jack www.natureskiss.net
- 1 Lorna Webb KSV Deerlijk – Gaverzicht
- 2 Elizabeth Armitstead Raleigh-ERV
- 3 Laura Bissell GS Strada
- 4 Michelle Bergstrand Raleigh-ERV
- 5 Sara Burling CC Giro
- 6 Jeanette Tebbutt Team Luciano
- 7 Katie Colclough Sleaford Whls CC/ The Station Fitness Centre
- 8 Jess Varnish Halesowen A & CC
- 9 Annabel Simpson Raleigh-ERV
- 10 Elizabeth Goodband Team FBUK
- 11 Femke Van Schelven Team FBUK
- 12 Jo Tindley VC Londres
- 13 Carrie Bedingfield Team Luciano
- 14 Michelle Buck Fenland Clarion CC
- 15 Gundula Hennig