Tour of Britain - Women’s Race report - Road Cycling UK

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Tour of Britain – Women’s Race report

Buckingham Palace in background. Photos courtesy

With a back drop akin to the Tour de France, racing along the Mall and passed Buckingham Palace, it must have seemed positively ethereal to many of the 45 women riders who started in today’s race. These women, like most racers in this country, are used to racing amongst cars on open roads or on motor racing circuits, so it was a real treat to have barriers, closed roads, police support and a huge crowd cheering them on during the 10 laps of this exciting circuit race.

The action was fast and furious from the gun, with Trek SIS’s Nikki Harris and Sutton CC’s Louise Mahe shooting off up the road. With Mahe choosing to back off, knowing that this attack might be suicide, she dropped back to the bunch but Harris kept on with the solo effort and it seemed like she had a great gap until, on the second lap, some concerted chasing from VCL’s Emma Trott, Raleigh ERV’s Michelle Bergstrand and several other riders, closed Harris down.

Next to chance her arm, in a well timed moved, was Agisko-Viner’s Mel Williams, who shot down the opposite side of the road into the strong back-straight breeze and opening up easily the largest gap of the day, about 25 seconds, and holding the field at bay for over a lap, before she too was brought back by an attentive bunch.

Tanja Slater leading out. Photos courtesy

The race continued at a high pace throughout, which meant that the women’s race stayed clear of the junior men’s race that was on the circuit at the same time. In fact the women’s race picked up a few stragglers from the men’s race, but at the same time lost riders off the back of the bunch, as the relentless pace and technical circuit took it’s toll.

Despite the high speed, several riders tried to escape in the later laps; Mel Williams had another go on lap 6 and then VCL’s Alice Monger-Godfrey launched herself down the home straight to stay clear for a quarter of a lap on lap 8, but it was to no avail as the pace picked up coming into the bell lap.

In the final lap, Trek SIS’s super strong Tanja Slater whipped up the pace, causing the riders to line out as she powered into the home straight, hoping to set up a victory for her teammate Harris, who has been a member of the GB track squad for a few years now. As they hammered towards the finish at over 35 miles an hour it looked like a perfect lead out. Except, that it wasn’t Harris on Slater’s wheel, but Planet X’s Janet Birkmyre, who is also a superb track sprinter. With 400 metres to go and with a howling tail wind, it was Birkmyre who struck for home.

Photos courtesy

Nikki Harris tried desperately to come round Birkmyre in the last 100 metres, with the rest of the field fanning out across the Mall searching for the finish line, but Birkmyre, kicked again 50 metres from the line, and surged away to win the TFL Women’s Trophy by half a bike length. Harris hung on for second place and the younger of the two Colclough’s, Katie, from Sleaford Wheelers, was confirmed as third after close examination of photo finish.

  1. Janet Birkmyre Planet X
  2. Nikki Harris Trek/SIS
  3. Kate Colclough Sleaford
  4. Lyndsey Clark Team Quality
  5. Kim Blythe Raleigh
  6. Louise Mahe Sutton CC/De Ver
  7. Sarah Reynolds Evans RT
  8. Laura Trott Welwyn Whlrs
  9. Gundunla Henning
  10. Mo O’Reilly Twickenham CC

David Jack

Photography kindly provided by, have a look at more photos.

Birkmyre and Harris (left) battling for the line. Photos courtesy

Photos courtesy


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