Andreas Stauff leads the way on Haytor
Matthias Brandle of the IAM Cycling team held on for victory in Exeter, attacking his breakaway companions on the final SKODA King of the Mountains climb to take the win in front of packed crowds in the city centre.
The Austrian rider was part of the day’s four strong escape group, and with the peloton bearing down on them as they approached the SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Stoke Hill on the outskirts, Brandle attacked to distance his companions.
Shane Archbold and Maarten Wynants valiantly held off the peloton on the fast descent into Exeter to finish second and third, eight seconds down on Brandle, with Sonny Colbrelli leading in what remained of the peloton a further six seconds down.
Omega Pharma Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski came in seventh, safely in the lead pack to retain the Friends Life Yellow Jersey for the second day, with no major changes to the Friends Life General Classification behind him.
The Pole also keeps the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, with Sky’s Ben Swift narrowing the deficit to just three points. Elsewhere Sebastian Lander of BMC Racing retained the YodelDirect Sprints Jersey, while Mark McNally extended his lead in the SKODA King of the Mountains Jersey, picking up points behind the break on both the Mamhead and Haytor climbs.
The break on Dartmoor
“We had to chase yesterday, because it is my job I had to go really deep to chase the breakaway back,”said Matthias Brandle speaking afterwards
“Today I got in the breakaway and thought maybe it was possible for a stage win, that’s what I tried to do. And finally its happens.
“No one really believed, but then they give us a little bit more and then we chatted some more and now we go full speed ,we started to try and then it was 2’30- 2’40 and it was impossible for them to get us back.
“Finally we really worked well together and it was me who could take the win I had the best legs on the last climb, I tried to push as hard as I could, I managed to break them down and so it was a really nice victory for me but also to win a stage at the Tour of Britain, they are really good guys here and I’m really happy that I could take the win for my team.”
The four rider break of Andreas Stauff (MTN Qhubeka), Shane Archbold (An Post Chain Reaction), Maarten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling) and Brandle went within the first few miles of racing from Exmouth, striking out on a venture which would see the latter three never reigned in.
With a maximum lead of just over three minutes, Omega Pharma Quick-Step were content to slowly reel them in, before a large effort by Garmin Sharp brought the lead tumbling down.
On the climb of Stoke Hill it was enough to provoke fireworks from the peloton, with several riders striking out but none being able to bridge the gap to Wynants and Archbold, who continued to chase Brandle all the way to the finish line.
The day’s Rouleur Combativity Award was added to the stage victory for Brandle, while IAM Cycling also celebrated further success by moving into the lead of the Friends Life Team Classification, a closely fought affair with the top four teams – IAM, Tinkoff Saxo, Movistar Team and Team Sky – separated by just 30 seconds.
Sebastian Lander & Michal Kwiatkowski
Speaking afterwards, Omega Pharma Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski said;
“We were trying to control that gap to around three minutes, we knew that Brandle had three minutes in the GC so was not a dangerous break away for us. We knew that if someone from another team wants to win the stage they have to take control and chase down the brea away, Garmin did it and I am really thankful to my team mates today they put me out of pressure. Out of the four stages so far this was the first one that I could really relax, it of course was tough, hard with the one kilometre climb and the fast decent into the finish.”
Friday morning sees the modern Friends Life Tour of Britain make its debut in Bath, as the historic city hosts the start of Stage Six to Hemel Hempstead, taking in over 200 kilometres of Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, including three testing SKODA King of the Mountains climbs in the Chiltern Hills.
Highlights of Stage Five are on ITV4 at 2000 on Thursday 11 September, with live coverage resuming from 1300 on Friday on ITV4, for Stage Six from Bath to Hemel Hempstead. Full details of the television coverage of the Friends Life Tour of Britain, including British Eurosport’s live coverage, can be foundhere.
For full Stage Five results, click here.
Heather catches up with Harry Tanfield (KTM road-and-trail.com) the winner of the Yesss Electrical Elite Men’s Race at the Tickhill Grand Prix 2014.
After the stunning success of the 2014 Tickhill Grand Prix; Heather catches up with the event organiser ‘Rapid’ Rich Stoodley to find out his thoughts on what he’s achieved with the big race day held in a tiny town called Tickhill.
CyclingShorts.cc talks to Jacob Scott (Haribo Beacon) and Marcin Bialoblocki (Velosure Giordana) on their podium spots in the Yesss Electrical Tickhill GP Men’s Elite 1/2/3 race.
YESSS ELECTRICAL MENS ELITE 1/2/3
2.MARCIN BIALOBLOCKI – Velosure Giordana
3. JACOB SCOTT – HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team
4. JON MOULD – NFTO
5. RICHARD HEPWORTH – Velosure Giordana
6. RUSS DOWNING – NFTO
8. MATT CRONSHAW – Velosure Giordana
9. BRAD MORGAN – Velosure Giordana
10. WILLIAM BJERFELT – Metaltek Kuota RT
Ann Walsham of Women’s Cycling Sheffield – 3rd in the women’s 3/4 Cat race at Tickhill GP talks to CyclingShorts.cc.
Giant Sheffield Women’s Cat 3/4 Podium
1. Fiona Hunter Johnston
2. Kirsty Boak – Marton Race Team
3. Ann Walsham – Womens Cycling Sheffield Race Team
Image ©chrismaher.co.uk / CyclingShorts.cc
I read something recently about how women’s cycling is in excellent health in the UK and I have to say that I was very surprised by that statement. Yes, there has been an increase in the number of races available, but there have also been a few races which have been cancelled due to low rider numbers and other races practically begging riders to support events (I am guilty of the latter), so you may be able to see why I am surprised.
At the beginning of this year, I was one of three coaches who saw nearly 100 female riders attend novice race training sessions in the North West and North Wales. My aim was to inspire at least 20% of those attending to try road racing, which kind of worked with the first event that I am involved in having 74 entries in advance, nearly doubling the number of entries for the same event the year earlier.
However, as the season progressed, there came the inevitable drop off in numbers, and now I have two events in August which have just 17 and 15 riders entered in advance at present. These are the CDNW events at Oakenclough on 10 August and Great Budworth on 23 August. These are events which are restricted to second, third and fourth category riders, there is an overall league and a league for those who started this year as fourth category riders (currently unique in the UK, I believe, and something that I devised to try and encourage women to have a go at road racing without having to worry about more experienced riders in the race).
Back in May this year, prompted by another article about women’s cycling, I wrote about the sport from a grassroots’ perspective where I urged female riders to enter in advance to show the organiser that his/her race was being supported to prevent them being cancelled, especially where road racing was concerned due to the cost of putting an event on. Unfortunately, there now seems to be a few issues which are making cancellations more prevalent:
- There are more races being held which leads to a dilution in rider numbers;
- Women don’t seem to support road races, for a variety of reasons, possibly because they are more expensive, harder to win licence points and tend to lead to riders having to take a leap of faith to try something different;
- There is still a massive issue with rider retention – of the 70 women who registered for the CDNW league last year, only around 40 of them have registered this season, with even less actively taking part;
- Racing is expensive, especially when you find yourself in a crash;
- Cycling is actually a hard sport, which leads to many riders becoming disillusioned early on and then giving up practically straight away because “it isn’t for them”.
Image ©chrismaher.co.uk / Cycling Shorts.cc
I have to say that organisers don’t help sometimes. There seems to be a misconception that there are similar numbers of men and women racing, which is totally untrue. Mid-week races are especially difficult for women as there are probably less than 100 women who race regularly in the UK and have the time, money and inclination to travel to all of the races, but as the majority of these have to take time off work to attend, there are only so many days’ holiday you can afford to take to use to attend a bike race. Many organisers then complain that their races aren’t being supported by the riders, and those who do support events then get irritated because it is the same people attending the events, and the riders then feel like they are being treated unfairly just because they don’t have the time or money available to attend.
Prize money can sometimes hinder race entry numbers too, unfortunately. If there is a significant cash prize for the winner, the race tends to attract the better riders (who may not have as many commitments as other riders), so those riders who end up making the numbers up never get a look in for prize money and are less likely to enter just so someone who is practically a full time rider can win the race. Which makes sense to me – I have a career (outside of cycling) and I often don’t have time to do any training during the week, so I don’t need to pay £20 to enter a race to be dropped on the start line because I am still recovering from working, when others in the race are as fresh as a daisy. That may seem like a negative comment to make, but it’s a reality that many female riders face, I’m afraid.
Having said that, Tickhill Grand Prix on 24 August is leading the way by having an elite women’s race (E/1/2/3) and a women’s support race (3/4 categories only), both of which have sponsorship from Giant Sheffield, so if there are any readers out there who want to have a go at town centre racing but want to do it without racing against the top domestic riders, why not enter the support race, which you can do by clicking here.
I always try to be positive and look for solutions to resolve issues rather than just complaining about the problem and doing nothing about it. British Cycling is now looking at women’s cycling in an attempt to resolve the position, but even I am struggling at the moment to see how the sport can move forward. Only with more opportunities can the sport of women’s cycling in the UK hope to develop properly, but there does seem to be a fair few people who don’t want the sport to progress. There are good points to social media, but just because you get 40 re-tweets to a link to a website doesn’t mean that you will get any more entries. Neither does complaining about riders not entering an event – they’re even less likely to support an event if they feel that they are being coerced into riding.
Image ©chrismaher.co.uk / Cyclingshorts.cc
Women’s cycling is still years away from achieving equality with the men’s sport; how can it when the numbers participating are nowhere near to the number of men racing? Sport should be aspirational, a means for people to achieve outside of their everyday lives, but women’s cycling is anything but that at the moment. Most domestic races are run by local clubs who have to have an event break even as they don’t have reserves to fall back on, so it usually means that in order for a race to go ahead, there will be a minimum number of riders required to meet the costs of running it. Unfortunately, road racing has additional costs to circuit races, especially if you have accredited marshals, which means that you tend to need at least 20 entrants in order for an event to go ahead, and that’s without prize money. If a race is lucky enough to have a sponsor, then the organiser will want to protect the sponsor’s investment by ensuring that there is a decent field – it doesn’t look good if somebody has put up £1000 in prize money and then 10 people turn up, so if you find yourself being annoyed that an organiser of a sponsored event is complaining about the lack of entries, think twice before making a comment.
I guess in conclusion there are a few things that everybody needs to bear in mind about women’s cycling – there is a long way to go before it can be described as being in excellent condition, it needs rider support to develop and, I am afraid ladies, that if you want businesses to sponsor an event that you are riding in, then you need to enter in advance to support the organiser’s attempts to offer as near to equal opportunity as he/she can provide.