The B-side: a closer look at National B road racing
Milan San Remo, the Wally Gimber Trophy, Olympia’s Tour, the Gifford Road Race, and the Grand Prix Criquielion. There is a lot of racing this weekend that is going to float our boat. But if there is one race we are particularly excited for, it’s The Peaks 2 Day stage race.
Why? It’s set amidst stunning Peak District scenery, it has arguably the best line-up of any British road race this season so far, it hosts the first women’s national road event of the year, it’s put together by a vibrant new team of young race organisers, and it’s a rare UK stage racing opportunity at the national level. In short, we can’t wait.
What is it?
The Peaks 2 Day is a brand new National B stage race organised by the dynamic James Hawkins, Eugene Cross, and the Yomp Bonk Crew. Set in the Peak District, the event includes both men’s and women’s editions. Both feature three stages across two days (19 and 20 March), taking in some savage yet picturesque terrain. Stage races are a rare occurrence at the national level, so it’s little surprise this year’s inaugural event will star the strongest start list of any national road race so far this season.
How it works
Each race – men’s and women’s – will have an overall winner i.e. the rider that completes the three stages in the shortest time. There will be a race leader’s jersey awarded to the leading rider on time after stage 1 and after stage 2. The overall winner of each race will receive a winner’s jersey.
In addition, there is a climbing competition with points being awarded for the first six riders across the top of the nominated climb on each lap on stages 2 and 3. The points awarded will be as follows: 1st (6 points); 2nd (5 points); 3rd (4 points); 4th (3 points); 5th (2 points); 6th (1 point). There will be a KOM/QOM jersey awarded to the leading rider on points after stage 1 and after stage 2. The overall winner of the KOM and QOM competitions will receive a winner’s jersey.
The race begins on Saturday morning with a tough grippy, technical individual time trial on road bikes. The course is 12 kilometres long, starting and finishing on Batham Gate Road in the village of Peak Dale, northeast of Buxton. It features two ninety-degree left-hand turns early on before a steep, tricky descent to the bottom of Bole Hill.
The road immediately rises as the riders hit Bole Hill, a one-kilometre climb that begins with gradients well over 10%. This will be a real leg-sapper, and riders will need to manage their effort well here in order to have some power left for the rest of the course.
The road is then undulating until the riders approach the finish line, where they will be treated to an uphill finish in the closing few hundred metres.
“There’s no hiding on this course and there’s no getting lucky”, organiser James Hawkins tells us, “You just need the legs to win.”
If the riders aren’t already feeling it after the stage 1 TT, then stage 2, which takes place on the same day, will soon change that. Now, if you are looking at the VeloViewer profile below and thinking, ‘that looks familiar’ that’s because it is. Yes, stage 2 features the same course as the morning’s stage 1 time trial.
The main difference here is that the start/finish line is atop Bole Hill, opening up the prospect of a savage uphill finale to both the men’s and women’s stages.
The circuit is 12.4 kilometres long with 269 metres of evaluation, according to VeloViewer. The men will have to tackle it seven times (87 kilometres in total), while the women take on five laps (62 kilometres). The KOM/QOM point is the start/finish line on Bole Hill.
Hawkins told us, “It’s definitely one for breakaway riders; because of the nature of the course, there’s not a big advantage to being in the group, so we definitely expect there to be gaps and splits formed.”
The race moves just west of Sheffield for the final stage on Sunday. The stage takes in a 10.4 kilometre circuit that skirts the Damflask Reservoir. The profile might look gentler than the Bole Hill course profile, but with 251 metres of elevation per lap, this is still one for the puncheurs and climbers.
The men face ten laps of the circuit (104 kilometres), while the women will complete eight laps (83 kilometres). The start/finish line is Kirk Edge Road, just before the junction with Coal Pit Lane, with the KOM/QOM point at the top of the Long Lane climb.
“Any Sheffield cyclist is familiar with the Parish of Bradfield”, says Hawkins. “The 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart came through Bradfield, leaving behind some yellow painted bikes that have remained there ever since, and it is full of steep and stabby climbs.
“In slight contrast to Bole Hill, Bradfield has well-paved roads and a long fast descent into a flat section before turning left onto Long Lane, the main climb. Long Lane, otherwise known as the golf course climb, is a completely straight and steep climb where breaks are bound to be launched. The KOM is on the crest of the hill which then flattens off for a bit before turning onto Kirk Edge Road.
“Kirk Edge Road is a long drag with panoramic scenic views on either side of it. This is also where the finish line is situated on an uphill sprint. The course then drops down to High Bradfield, and then onto the descent. This is another course that is almost certainly going to be won by a small breakaway, and will make for some very exciting racing.”
The men’s race features the strongest line-up of any national road race so far this year, with 12 UCI Continental riders among the 60-man field.
New Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling signing Alex Peters is perhaps the standout name. The winner of Ryedale Grand Prix last year, we hear the former-Team Sky rider was in excellent shape at the team’s recent training camp. His teammates Zeb Kyffin and Ross Lamb could also go well.
WiV SunGod bring three riders, including new signings Toby Barnes and Lancaster Grand Prix winner Josh Whitehead. Both riders were excellent in the National Road Series last season and will be ones to watch. First-year senior Lukas Nerurkar (TRINITY Racing) is another rider we will be keeping a close eye on. He won a stage of the Junior Tour of Yorkshire last season, so is clearly no stranger to winning on this type of terrain.
There are some strong elite riders too. George Wood and Adam Mitchell will both be cards to play for Cycling Sheffield, while Spirit BSS have national road rankings leader Farley Barber and Angus Hawkins as potential challengers.
Two wildcards are hill climb specialist Adam Kenway (Matlock CC) and Kieran Savage (Yomp Bonk Crew). Kenway holds the second fastest time on the Bole Hill course on Strava and is at one with the steep stuff. Savage is another local and was one of the top elite riders during the 2019 season. After a spell in France, he is back in the UK and could be capable of a surprise.
Look out for James Hawkins (Cycling Sheffield) and Eugene Cross (Bristol) too. Yes, the organisers are also racing!
As with the men, the women’s race features a strong field in what will be the first women’s national road race of the season.
Leah Dixon (Bianchi HUNT Morvelo) is an obvious pick. The Welsh road race champion has stepped down to the elite team level after three seasons with the Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank UCI team.
The CAMS-Basso team have a strong selection. Scottish road race champion Becky Storrie already has eight UCI race days under her belt and has a real chance of success here. New signing Danielle Shrosbree had a breakthrough ride at the national road championships in October and like Storrie should be in good shape after racing two UCI stage races already this season. Beth Morrow is another strong option for the team too. All three riders featured in the hilly Ryedale GP last season.
Corinne Side (Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes presented by Heidi Kjeldsen) was consistently good last side and will be accompanied by strong teammates, Bexy Drew and Lucy Ellmore. Connie Hayes (AWOL- O’Shea) was another prominent rider at last year’s Ryedale GP and, after a strong 2021, is someone who could go even better in 2022.
Others to watch include 2021 Volta a Portugal Feminina Cofidis stage winner Lucy Lee (Team LDN – Brother UK), Daisy Barnes (Brother UK – Orientation Marketing), another of our breakthrough riders from the nationals last year, and Nicole Coates (Torelli-Cayman-Islands-Scimitar).
Note: High Density, Bristol and Richardsons/WWCC are all composite teams.
|#||First Name||Last Name||Club / Team Name||Cat|
|5||Charlie||Renshaw||Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy||2nd|
|10||Thomas||Ashcroft||Dolan Ellesse Race Team||2nd|
|11||Jack||Crook||Dolan Ellesse Race Team||1st|
|12||Conor||McKinnon||Dolan Ellesse Race Team||1st|
|13||Joe||Wilson||Dolan Ellesse Race Team||1st|
|14||Cameron||Biddle||Embark – Bikestrong||1st|
|15||Michael||Chadwick||Embark – Bikestrong||1st|
|16||Joseph||Rees||Embark – Bikestrong||1st|
|17||Dean||Watson||Embark – Bikestrong||1st|
|22||Ethan||Browne||JRC-INTERFLON Race Team||2nd|
|23||Taylor||Hill||JRC-INTERFLON Race Team||2nd|
|24||William||Jewitt||JRC-INTERFLON Race Team||2nd|
|25||Oliver||Sawyer||JRC-INTERFLON Race Team||2nd|
|26||Marcus||Burnett||Kuwait Pro Cycling Team||1st|
|27||Matthew||Clements||Kuwait Pro Cycling Team||1st|
|28||Tom||Andrews||Lifting Gear Prod- CyclesInMotion||3rd|
|29||Tobias||Edwards||Lifting Gear Prod- CyclesInMotion||3rd|
|30||Luke||Hind||Lifting Gear Prod- CyclesInMotion||2nd|
|31||Andrew||Nichols||Lifting Gear Prod- CyclesInMotion||1st|
|33||Cameron||Jeffers||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||1st|
|34||Zeb||Kyffin||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||Elite|
|35||Ross||Lamb||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||1st|
|36||Alex||Peters||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||1st|
|44||Simon||Wyllie||Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus||2nd|
|49||James||Bentley||Team PB Performance||1st|
|50||Jacques||Coates||Team PB Performance||1st|
|51||George||Peden||Team PB Performance||1st|
|52||Jude||Taylor||Team PB Performance||1st|
|53||Lukas||Nerurkar||TRINITY Road Racing||2nd|
|57||Kieran||Savage||Yomp Bonk Crew||Elite|
|58||Tom||Yiangou||Yomp Bonk Crew||2nd|
|59||Francis||Woodcock||Team Farto – BTC (Mens)||2nd|
|60||Fergus||Jones||Yomp Bonk Crew||2nd|
|#||First Name||Last Name||Club / Team Name||Cat|
|1||Benjamin||Bright||Coed Llandegla N Wales MBA||2nd|
|2||Samuel||Hillen||Velo Bavarian Race Team||3rd|
|3||Alex||Raynard||Velo Bavarian Race Team||3rd|
|4||Joe||Thorp||Ribble rechrg Race Team||3rd|
|#||First Name||Last Name||Club / Team||Cat|
|1||Arianne||Holland||Alba Development Road Team||2nd|
|2||Erin||Murphy||Alba Development Road Team||2nd|
|3||Emma||Smith||Alba Development Road Team||2nd|
|4||Charlotte||Gibson||AWOL Worx Galliard||2nd|
|7||Clare||Parkin||Bath Cycling Club||3rd|
|8||Leah||Dixon||BIANCHI HUNT MORVELO||1st|
|13||Daisy||Barnes||Brother UK – Orientation Marketing||2nd|
|14||Abigail||Cooper||Brother UK – Orientation Marketing||4th|
|19||Polly||Burge||Jadan – Vive le Velo||2nd|
|20||Suzetta||Guerrini||Jadan – Vive le Velo||2nd|
|21||Gabriella||Nordin||Jadan – Vive le Velo||2nd|
|24||Bexy||Dew||Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes presented by Heidi Kjeldsen||2nd|
|25||Lucy||Ellmore||Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes presented by Heidi Kjeldsen||1st|
|26||Corinne||Side||Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes presented by Heidi Kjeldsen||1st|
|27||Hannah||Bayes||Saint Piran WRT||2nd|
|28||Rachel||Galler||Saint Piran WRT||2nd|
|29||Abbie||Taylor||Sheffield Dirt Society||2nd|
|34||Sian||Botteley||Team LDN – Brother UK||2nd|
|36||Lucy||Lee||Team LDN – Brother UK||1st|
|37||Kerry||Middleton||Team LDN – Brother UK||2nd|
|38||Grace||Castle||Tofauti Everyone Active||2nd|
Stage 1, 19 March
First male rider off at 9.00, first female at 9.30.
Stage 2, 19 March
Men: 11.00 – 13.30 approx.
Women: 14.30 – 17.00 approx
Stage 3, 20 March
Men: 9.00 – 12.00 approx.
Women: 14.00 – 17.00 approx
Featured photo: Craig Zadoroznyj/SWpix.com. 2021. National Road Series – The Ryedale Grasscrete Women’s Grand Prix. Connie Hayes (AWOL O’Shea).