Abi Smith became the first person to win a National Road Series race since 18 August 2019 with a dominant win at the Women’s CiCLE Classic on Sunday.
The race stayed together in the early stages, with no major breaks forming. Instead, it was a race of attrition, with around 30-40 riders left in the bunch at around the halfway mark. Abi Smith (Team Breeze) struck out alone with over 40 kilometres to go and gradually built up a commanding lead. Behind, a chase group of 12 riders formed, which then swelled to 30. Sammie Stuart (Crimson Orientation Marketing RT) and then Jess Finney (CAMS-Basso) launched attacks in an effort to bridge to Smith, but both were brought back.
Smith crossed the finishing line for the first time – taking the Melton Mowbray pork pie prize in the process – with a lead of over a minute on the chasers. With just the 15 km finishing circuit remaining, things looked finely poised. But Smith’s lead quickly increased from there. With 10 km to go she led by 1’53” and by the 3 km to go the gap had opened up to 2’32”. She eventually crossed the line 2’19” ahead of the chasers, the largest winning margin in the race’s five-edition history.
From the chase group, Ellen McDermott (Team Boompods) won the sprint to take second place, with Smith’s teammate Eluned King finishing third.
😁 “I’m so chuffed… I can’t believe it!”— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) June 27, 2021
🎤 The Women’s CiCLE Classic winner Abi Smith was all smiles after her breakaway victory! pic.twitter.com/fR28akEQze
- Elite road racing is finally back! We couldn’t make it up to Melton Mowbray to witness the race in person but boy oh boy it was good to have closed roads racing back in the UK. And by all accounts, Colin Clews and his team put on a fantastic event and should be applauded.
- Abi Smith confirms her potential. Three of the top four riders – Abi Smith, Eluned King and April Tacey – were on our list of U23 women to watch in 2021. All of their performances were impressive and for first-year elite rider Smith, in particular, the result confirmed the promise that she’d demonstrated so ably as a junior but hadn’t yet had the chance to prove as a senior.
- Ellen McDermott’s best result yet? Team Boompod’s Ellen McDermott is no slouch. She’s a former Irish crit champion, has had top 10s in the Tour Series, top 20s in the National Road Series, and has racked up impressive results on the track in the past. But second place in the CiCLE Classic is arguably her best result on the road so far and marks her out as one to watch for the rest of the season.
- Juniors Zoe Bäckstedt (Tormans-ACROG) and Flora Perkins (VC Londres) have already racked up impressive results this season, with the former winning Junior Tour of Yorkshire and finishing third in Halesowen, and the latter third in Yorkshire and first at Banbury. With both riders finishing just outside the top ten today, Bäckstedt and Perkins confirmed their status as two of the best junior road racing prospects in the UK.
Series standings & calendar
National Road Series standings here.
Round 2 of the women’s Series will be the Ryedale Women’s Grasscrete Grand Prix on 22 August.
|1||92||Abi Smith – U23||Team Breeze|
|2||90||Ellen McDermott||Team Boompods|
|3||91||Eluned King – U23||Team Breeze|
|4||15||April Tacey – U23||Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur|
|6||81||Amira Mellor||Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus|
|7||65||Jo Tindley||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen|
|8||122||Sophie Thackray – U23||BC Private Member|
|10||39||Samantha Stuart||Crimson Orientation Marketing RT|
|11||135||Zoe Bäckstedt – JNR||Tormans-ACROG|
|12||126||Grace Lister||Cero – Cycle Division Racing Team|
|13||140||Flora Perkins – JNR||VC Londres|
|14||51||Francesca Hall||Loughborough Lightning – TRG|
|15||83||Lucy Gadd – U23||Storey Racing|
|16||102||Danielle Shrosbree||Team LDN – Brother UK|
|17||62||Corinne Side – U23||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen|
|18||13||Elizabeth Bennett – U23||Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur|
|19||85||Beth Morrow – U23||Storey Racing|
|20||60||Samantha Fawcett||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen|
|21||40||Mary Wilkinson||Crimson Orientation Marketing RT|
|22||130||Monica Greenwood||Macclesfield Wheelers|
|23||110||Eilidh Shaw – JNR||Tofauti Everyone Active|
|24||88||Georgia Hilleard – U23||Team Boompods|
|25||134||Gabriella Homer – U23||Team Rupelcleaning – Champion Lubricants|
|26||98||Lucy Lee||Team LDN – Brother UK|
|27||74||Megan Dickerson||SKODA DSI Cycling Academy|
|28||75||Lucy Ellmore – U23||SKODA DSI Cycling Academy|
|29||33||Becky Storrie||Brother U.K – Cycle Team OnForm|
|31||86||Isabel Darvill – U23||Team Boompods|
|32||127||Kim Baptista – U23||ENEICAT-RBH GLOBAL-MARTIN VILLA|
|33||11||Katie Scott – U23||CAMS-Basso|
|34||107||Grace Castle – JNR||Tofauti Everyone Active|
|35||112||Olivia Bentley||Weston Homes-Torelli-Assure|
|36||70||Bexy Dew||Saint Piran Womens|
|37||116||Alice Lethbridge||Weston Homes-Torelli-Assure|
|38||22||Jasmine Jones||Bianchi Dama|
|39||111||Nicole Coates – U23||Weston Homes-Torelli-Assure|
|40||14||Emily Meakin||Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur|
|41||96||Harriet Dodd||Team LDN – Brother UK|
|42||93||Jenny Holl – U23||Tekkerz CC|
|44||136||Ella Barnwell – U23||Team Breeze|
|46||61||Amy Gornall||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen|
|47||37||Gwenno Hughes – U23||Crimson Orientation Marketing RT|
|48||56||Millie Couzens – JNR||PH-MAS – Paul Milnes Cycles|
|49||43||Beth Harley-Jepson||Jadan – Vive le Velo|
|50||118||Beth Maciver – U23||Scotland|
|51||5||Phoebe Martin||AWOL OShea|
|52||115||Rebecca Seal||Weston Homes-Torelli-Assure|
|53||4||Connie Hayes – U23||AWOL OShea|
|54||72||Christina Wiejak||Saint Piran Womens|
|55||104||Heather Mayer||Team Watto-LDN|
|56||47||Emma Jeffers – JNR||JRC-Shutt-Ridley Race Team|
|57||3||Charlotte Broughton||AWOL OShea|
|58||132||Suzetta Guerrini||Team Watto-LDN|
|59||64||Poppy Thompson||Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen|
|60||100||Polly Mason||Team LDN – Brother UK|
|61||95||Francesca Cutts||Team LDN – Brother UK|
|62||42||Madeleine Gammons – U23||Jadan – Vive le Velo|
|63||28||Sian Botteley||Brother U.K – Cycle Team OnForm|
|64||36||Melissa Greaves||Crimson Orientation Marketing RT|
|65||124||Elizabeth Sanders||Avid Sport|
|66||50||Alderney Baker – U23||Loughborough Lightning|
|67||78||Xan Crees – U23||Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus|
|68||128||Ffion James||Hope Factory Racing|
|69||32||Rebecca Richardson||Brother U.K – Cycle Team OnForm|
Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com