Drops Cycling – or ‘The Droplets’ – finished the Stevenage round of the Matrix Fitness GP at the Tour Series in Stevenage with a 1-2-3 on the podium.
The riders have had strong finishes at all the series events so far, meaning they had a comfortable lead in the Team Competition. However, in Stevenage they showed total domination with Alice Barnes on the top step after a truly incredible solo effort, Rebecca Durrell second and Laura Massey third.
The Stevenage course involved some long straights – as well as some pretty tight 90 degree bends for the riders to negotiate.
Early on in the 45 minute crit, a group of 7 came to the front and extended a small lead, with the bunch behind thinning. However, the main bunch was back together for the first sprint.
The sprint lap was won by Lydia Boylan of WNT, with sprint jersey wearer Nikki Juniper (Team Ford Eco Boost) second and Rebecca Durrell (Drops) third.
Being a flat circuit, a bunch sprint seemed to be the likely conclusion – but with racing well underway, Clem Copie (Les Filles RT) made a break, extending an impressive lead. She was joined by eventual winner Alice Barnes and 2015 victor Nikki Juniper. Barnes then put in a counter attack, creating an impressive 8 second lead.
Coming in to the second sprint, Barnes was still ahead and took first, with Nikki Juniper winning the bunch sprint behind and Gabriella Shaw (Podium Ambition) third.
Despite a chase behind, Barnes continues to ride hard to shake them – her lead extending to over half a minute with around 10 minutes of racing to go. Eventually she was out of sight to the peloton – a handy way of convincing the chasers to start looking around for second place.
With three laps to go, Barnes had an immense lead of one minute – enough for her to almost close down on the rear of the pack. Of course, she crossed the line in first place, with plenty of time to enjoy the moment.
However, the celebrations for Drops Cycling were not over. There was still a bunch sprint to contest – and it was Rebecca Durrell who took the honours, with team mate Laura Massey third.
Of course, Drops are well and truly leading the Matrix GP Team Classification, and Nikki Juniper still holds the points jersey.
The next round takes place in Croydon this evening, and the final race will be in Portsmouth on Thursday evening.