Features Reports

2021 Women’s CiCLE Classic: report and results

Abi Smith wins the first elite road race for 666 days

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.

Race summary

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.

2021 HSBC UK National Women’s Road Series – Women’s CiCLE Classic – Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England – Abi Smith of Team Breeze on her way to winning the Women’s CiCLE Classic. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

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.

Talking points

  • 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.
2021 HSBC UK National Women’s Road Series – Women’s CiCLE Classic – Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England – Ellen McDermott of Team Boompods. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

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.


192Abi Smith – U23Team Breeze
290Ellen McDermottTeam Boompods
391Eluned King – U23Team Breeze
415April Tacey – U23Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur
510Natalie GrinczerCAMS-Basso
681Amira MellorSpectra Wiggle p/b Vitus
765Jo TindleyPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen
8122Sophie Thackray – U23BC Private Member
98Jessica FinneyCAMS-Basso
1039Samantha StuartCrimson Orientation Marketing RT
11135Zoe Bäckstedt – JNRTormans-ACROG
12126Grace ListerCero – Cycle Division Racing Team
13140Flora Perkins – JNRVC Londres
1451Francesca HallLoughborough Lightning – TRG
1583Lucy Gadd – U23Storey Racing
16102Danielle ShrosbreeTeam LDN – Brother UK
1762Corinne Side – U23Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen
1813Elizabeth Bennett – U23Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur
1985Beth Morrow – U23Storey Racing
2060Samantha FawcettPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen
2140Mary WilkinsonCrimson Orientation Marketing RT
22130Monica GreenwoodMacclesfield Wheelers
23110Eilidh Shaw – JNRTofauti Everyone Active
2488Georgia Hilleard – U23Team Boompods
25134Gabriella Homer – U23Team Rupelcleaning – Champion Lubricants
2698Lucy LeeTeam LDN – Brother UK
2774Megan DickersonSKODA DSI Cycling Academy
2875Lucy Ellmore – U23SKODA DSI Cycling Academy
2933Becky StorrieBrother U.K – Cycle Team OnForm
3012Hayley SimmondsCAMS-Basso
3186Isabel Darvill – U23Team Boompods
3311Katie Scott – U23CAMS-Basso
34107Grace Castle – JNRTofauti Everyone Active
35112Olivia BentleyWeston Homes-Torelli-Assure
3670Bexy DewSaint Piran Womens
37116Alice LethbridgeWeston Homes-Torelli-Assure
3822Jasmine JonesBianchi Dama
39111Nicole Coates – U23Weston Homes-Torelli-Assure
4014Emily MeakinDrops-Le Col supported by Tempur
4196Harriet DoddTeam LDN – Brother UK
4293Jenny Holl – U23Tekkerz CC
437Megan BarkerCAMS-Basso
44136Ella Barnwell – U23Team Breeze
459Emma EdwardsCAMS-Basso
4661Amy GornallPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen
4737Gwenno Hughes – U23Crimson Orientation Marketing RT
4856Millie Couzens – JNRPH-MAS – Paul Milnes Cycles
4943Beth Harley-JepsonJadan – Vive le Velo
50118Beth Maciver – U23Scotland
515Phoebe MartinAWOL OShea
52115Rebecca SealWeston Homes-Torelli-Assure
534Connie Hayes – U23AWOL OShea
5472Christina WiejakSaint Piran Womens
55104Heather MayerTeam Watto-LDN
5647Emma Jeffers – JNRJRC-Shutt-Ridley Race Team
573Charlotte BroughtonAWOL OShea
58132Suzetta GuerriniTeam Watto-LDN
5964Poppy ThompsonPro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen
60100Polly MasonTeam LDN – Brother UK
6195Francesca CuttsTeam LDN – Brother UK
6242Madeleine Gammons – U23Jadan – Vive le Velo
6328Sian BotteleyBrother U.K – Cycle Team OnForm
6436Melissa GreavesCrimson Orientation Marketing RT
65124Elizabeth SandersAvid Sport
6650Alderney Baker – U23Loughborough Lightning
6778Xan Crees – U23Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus
68128Ffion JamesHope Factory Racing
6932Rebecca RichardsonBrother U.K – Cycle Team OnForm
Number of starters: 127

Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com