Last week saw a solo victory for MG Maxifuel rider Hannah Barnes, which puts her into the lead of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series ahead of Round Three tomorrow in Redditch.
Barnes’ victory leaves her two points ahead of Round One winner Natalie Creswick in the individual standings and a six point lead over MuleBar Girl – Sigma Sport, Louise Mahe in the sprint standings.
Barnes went clear at the night’s opening sprint and was never again headed, sweeping into the lead of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series and taking the race win and combativity award, whilst also holding on to the sprints competition lead.
Behind Barnes a select chase group formed, with Boddy leading them home ahead of MuleBar Girl – Sigma Sport duo Louise Mahe and Round One winner Natalie Creswick.
The lead ebbed backwards and forwards but the group couldn’t pull back Barnes, despite a number of big efforts, in particular from Champion System’s Sarah Byrne.
We're following Natalie Creswick of Team MuleBar Girl-Sigma Sport on her journey through the series, giving you a riders view of the race!
It might be the coldest and wettest spring since the 60s but try telling that to the Johnson Health Tech GP Series. The sun came out again last week, just in time for Round Two in the Essex town of Colchester, after rain all day, it was dry for the crit, I think we were all pretty happy with that.
Round One in Stoke had gone extraordinarily well for Team MuleBar Girl – Sigma Sport. I won, Lou came in third and the team took second spot in the coveted team standings, despite us only having two in the scoring top 20. So, for Colchester we called in the cavalry. Well, not entirely called in, but we were very happy to have Emily Barnes racing in between A Levels – her exams mean she is only able to do a few of the rounds - and Clem Copie, fresh from a work trip to Germany, which saw her confined to hotel rooms and a turbo.
We all work and study full time and sadly, those things sometimes get in the way of the racing we all wish we were doing, but that just means we are just a happier and stronger team when we can all join ranks on the start line.
The racing started off at a pretty fast pace, even in the ‘neutralised’ first two laps behind the camera bike. We'd talked through race senarios beforehand but when the claxon goes in a crit race, there's no opportunity for talking to team mates until we are all safely over the finish line. Hannah Barnes (MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling) was the one to watch and she made a move following the first sprint with Lou again in close proximity. Unfortunately, this time she managed to slip away by herself with me, sadly, positioned too far back. We had a leader’s jersey to defend though and with both Lou and I in contention of being able to win the series overall it would never be a case of sitting back and letting Hannah take the win. With Clem in the front group as well, I set myself to dragging back Hannah who was hanging just ahead.
The lead dangled for a long time at around 6-8 seconds and behind us riders were dropping off the pace eventually leaving nine of us in the chase group. Frustratingly though, no one else seemed to want to do much to help. Hey ho, we had plan B and we finally managed to do a lead out, which Lou and I have spoken about for ages. With a lap to go I got on the front and set Lou up for her second podium, another 3rd place and despite me thinking I couldn’t sprint, I did for 4th place. Clem meanwhile gave it absolutely everything and brought home 6th, all three counting riders in the top 10 and guaranteeing us top team – we were ecstatic!
I know I have said it before but really, we are a bunch of friends who love riding and racing and all things bike so to have Team MuleBar Girl – Sigma Sport in first place on the team standings is amazing. Enjoying ourselves and wanting to do each other proud most definitely counts for something in most walks of life but nowhere is it truer than in the Jonhson Health Tech GP Series.
We learnt a lot this week, growing steadily over the past few years it is the first time as a team we have been in such a prominent position in the individual and team standings. There is always going to be a great deal to take forward from every race and now we can’t wait for Reddicth on Tuesday. Although I think I’m still in need of a few MuleBar recovery bars in the meantime!
Johnson Health Tech GP Series - Standings after Round 2:
Johnson Health Tech GP Series - Team Standings after Round 2:
There are three remaining rounds to be raced in the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix series, the next is in Redditch tomorrow evening.
Johnson Health Tech GP Series - The Rounds:
What is the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series?
This year the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series enters its third season, running alongside the well-established Pearl Izumi Tour Series on spectator friendly town and city centre circuits, organised by SweetSpot Group, the company behind the successful revival of The Tour of Britain and the creation of The Tour Series.
The Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series grew from the one-off Horizon Fitness Grand Prix, which supported Stoke-on-Trent's Tour Series round in 2010, and featured television highlights on ITV4 from the start.
A four round Series was launched in 2011, which grew to five events 12-months later. Riders such as Olympic Champions Joanna Rowsell and Dani King, plus double Junior World Champion Lucy Garner have raced in the Series, while Britain's top domestic riders such as Helen Wyman, Hannah Barnes and Annie Simpson continue to be a regular feature in the events.
Jon Johnston, Managing Director of Johnson Health Tech UK, sponsors of The Series had the following to say about this years event:
With 2013 being such a pivotal year for women's cycling, we are delighted to be able to support the Series again. Feedback received following last year has been great, and with several brand new women's teams entering, this Series looks like it will be the best yet.