Matrix Fitness Grand Prix 2017

Team Time Trial

The thirteen team Matrix Fitness Grand Prix concluded in Stevenage this year. Round 8 saw a first for the women’s series event, a team time trial around the one kilometre circuit of the Old Town.

Going into this final round, Drops were 50 points ahead of WNT and Breeze, both on 581 points and the day was divided into two events. The Team Time Trial on the afternoon followed by the final race in the series on the evening.

Two laps of a flat course for each team in reverse order set after Motherwell saw Team RGB Building Supplies setting a time of 2:55.696 and Team Jadan Weldtite p/b Vive le Velo 2:53.963 taken on the third rider across the line.

Team WNT took the overall glory 2.653 seconds ahead of Team Breeze who comprised of mainly track pursuit riders Manon Lloyd, Elinor Barker and Eleanor Dickinson. Olympic Champion Archibald steamed ahead of the WNT train around the two laps whilst Storey Racing came in third. This put WNT back in second overall just one point ahead of Breeze before the final race later in the day.

 

It was down to the final race of the series to decide the overall victory but a 1-2 for Drops confirmed the 2017 winners and a first individual win for Durrell, Lucy Shaw was second.

Drops with their first Matrix Fitness GP Title led the competition from start to finish. Team Breeze regained second place with Team WNT finishing third overall.

Rebecca Durrell was the clear leader in the individual competition whilst Ejay Harris secured the Eisberg Sprinters Jersey going clear for the first sprint of the night.

Several attacks off the front of the race from Breeze, WNT, Sunsport Velo and OnForm’s Anna Henderson came to nothing as the pace was fast throughout the race and it was left to a thirty rider bunch sprint to decide the out-come all coming back together with three laps remaining, positioning into the final corner being crucial.

Anna Henderson attacked once more on the bell lap with team-mates Sian Botteley, Amy Hill and Alicia Speake close by. Mel Lowther for Team Breeze jumped on the back wheel along the back straight with Elinor Barker third and Charlotte Broughton forth.

The sprint started on the penultimate corner with Drops Lucy Shaw taking the lead. Archibald second goes wide as Rebecca Durrell’s speed puts them side-by-side. Durrell digs deeps, it’s a 1-2 for Drops as both arms punch the air with joy.

All-in-all the Matrix Fitness GP provided good competition throughout the eight rounds with more team taking the start than ever before.

I’m really, really chuffed. The pressure was always going to be on for the team in the last round, even if it’s just from within ourselves.

I knew I’d already won the Individual overall before the start of tonight’s race but I’d deliberately not said anything about that as that would have been even more pressure. So now we’re just all relieved!

Rebecca Durrell

Stage Winner, Drops Cycling

Series Wrap-Up 

2017 saw the introduction for a team based event, similar to the already established Tour Series awarding the main prize to the best team performance through the series, as well as an individual race winner per event and an overall winner at the finish in Stevenage.

The competition also rewarded the Brother fast lap trophy each round and the Eisberg leaders sprint jersey to add dimension to the race to the highest points rider overall.

Starting off in early May in Redditch in the Midlands the series then moved South to Wembley Park before heading West to Bath and then across the border to Scotland, for the penultimate round in Motherwell and back down to Stevenage for the final.

Alice Barnes, Drops Pro Cycling won round one in Redditch soloing ahead of Katie Archibald, Team WNT and Elinor Barker for Team Breeze. Rebecca Durrell finished fourth and Lucy Shaw’s seventh for Drops, they were the first to pull on the red Matrix Fitness leader’s jerseys moving forward into round two in Stoke ahead by a solitary point over Team WNT with 95 points and Team Breeze third with 88 points.

Katie Archibald wearing the Eisberg Sprint Jersey by default won round two in Stoke with Alice Barnes not in attendance. Four riders broke free including National Criterium Champion and team-mate Eileen Roe along with Manon Lloyd for Team Breeze and Rebecca Durrell for Drops.

Roe softened up the other riders before Archibald finished the job off for WNT.

Annie Simpson was the best of the rest over a minute behind for Drops as they retain the lead again by one point over WNT.

Archibald now holds the Eisberg Sprint Jersey for round three.

With no time to rest the series moved a short distance away to Northwich and a new circuit for the battle to re-commence.

This time a different winner emerged and a different team stood on the podium in the form of Team Breeze. Emily Nelson took her first victory with team-mate Eleanor Dickinson a close second and collecting the best team prize on the night.

Matrix Fitness GrandPrix 2017, Round 7 Motherwell - Eileen Roe

Barnes was back for Drops but no Archibald for WNT so Dickinson became the new Eisberg Sprint leader moving their team into second place overall after three events. Drops lead with 284 points, Breeze 277 points and WNT 268 points.

Durrell’s seventh place finish moved her one point ahead of Nelson in the individual classification with Lydia Boylan for WNT third.

Wembley Park provided the back-drop for round four in the series and a fourth different winner in as many rounds. A brilliant solo victory for Jess Roberts, Liv Epic Coaching her second to-date winning last years final round in Portsmouth.

Leaving the bunch behind to fight for the team competition, Roberts distanced herself with two laps remaining as Durrell won the bunch sprint ahead of Nelson, Barnes and Boylan.

Drops extend their lead by 9 points and Durrell extends her individual lead by 2 points. Eleanor Dickinson retains the Eisberg Sprint Jersey.

Round 5 returned to the rain drenched streets of Croydon where a fifth consecutive new race winner emerged with Ejay Harris for Storey Racing giving them there first ever victory.

Storey Racing had the upper hand around this slippery circuit as they finished 1-2 with Neah Evans in the four rider group that broke free from the main bunch. Annasley Park crossed the line third for Drops with Boyan fourth for WNT.

Harris catapulted herself into second position behind Dickinson in the Eisberg Sprint competition whilst Drops remain the leaders of the Matrix Fitness leaders jerseys 27 points ahead of Breeze, then WNT, then Storey Racing.

Round six moved across the Country to Bath were rain soaked the riders once more, showering the bunch sprint and sixth consecutive different race winner.

This time in was National Criterium Champion Eileen Roe for WNT returning to duty in the Tour Series putting her into the record books and a historic fifth individual win in a bunch sprint once more.

Storey Racing duo Harris and Evans took second and third very closely behind Roe and Anna Henderson secured OnForm’s highest finish to-date.

Ejay Harris won both Eisberg Sprints moving into the lead jersey for the penultimate round 9 points ahead. Durrell remains individual leader and her Drops team now have 51 points advantage ahead of Breeze.

The penultimate round of the Matrix Fitness GP crossed the Boarder for a fourth visit to Motherwell and a square course with a punchy drag up-to the finish line.

Again it was a four ride break that got free including last year’s winner in Motherwell Eileen Roe along with Annasley Park, Drops, Manon Lloyd, Breeze and Lizzy Banks for Sunsport Velo.

The race had been softened again by Scotland’s Roe and Archibald both previous winners but eventually settled with a large group thirty seconds back.

It was Roe that took the victory and back-to-back wins, her sixth to-date breaking free for a solo effort on the final half lap to the applause of an enthusiastic home crowd.

Roe had asked for assistance from team-mate Archibald at the back-end of the race and dewily made her way across the gap to the leading quartet.

I’m just so chuffed with our result tonight,

We said at the start of this year’s Matrix Series that we were determined to win and that’s exactly what we’ve done.  Becky really deserved her win tonight, she’s worked so, so hard over the winter.  She’s had highs and lows and tonight is certainly a high for Becky and a high for the team.

Tom Varney

Stevenage after final race, Team Manager - Drops Cycling

Seeing the danger, Durrell followed, then Melissa Lowther and the three ebbed their way closer to the leaders.

The seven came together for the final lap before Roe made her move approaching the final corner.

Durrell edged Archibald out sprinting for second by a tyres width before Boylan’s bunch sprint for eight place gave WNT the team victory on the night moving them back into second in the team competition.

Drops remained leaders 50 points ahead of WNT and Breeze.

Ejay Harris remained the Eisberg sprint leader and Durrell the individual leader.

1, Rebecca Durrell, GBR, Drops, 32-laps, 44:44.323
2, Lucy Shaw, GBR, Drops, + 0.088
3, Katie Archibald, GBR, Team WNT, + 0.195
4, Elinor Barker, GBR, Team Breeze, + 0.460
5, Charlotte Broughton, GBR, Team Ford EcoBoost, + 0.574
6, Ellie Dickinson, GBR, Team Breeze, + 0.715
7, Gaby Shaw, GBR, Team WNT, + 1.373
8, Anna Henderson, GBR, Team On Form, + 1.544
9, Ejay Harris, GBR, Storey Racing, + 1.644
10, Amy Hill, GBR, Team On Form, + 1.591

Rebecca Durrell, 1:15.238

1, Drops, 719pts
2, Team Breeze, 666pts
3, Team WNT, 659pts
4, Storey Racing, 494pts
5, Team On Form, 439pts

1, Rebecca Durrell, GBR, Drops, 254pts
2, Annasley Park, GBR, Drops, 205pts
3, Manon Lloyd, GBR, Team Breeze, 199pts

1, Elizabeth Jane Harris, GBR, Storey Racing, 41pts
2, Rebecca Durrell, GBR, Drops, 22pts
3, Ellie Dickinson, GBR, Team Breeze, 21pts

Chris Maher

Chris Maher

Photographer & Writer

Based in the North East of England; photographer Chris Maher specialises in sports photography with his main interests in Cycling and Super Bikes. Chris has covered sports events from local and national level right up to the Olympics for CyclingShorts.cc.
Website: www.ChrisMaher.co.uk

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