Road race targets top women riders

Timing is often everything in sport, and the date of the West Country’s new two-day Women’s Road Race is aimed at attracting as many of the UK’s best pro and semi-pro riders as possible.

The three-stage event will be held over the weekend of April 21-22, 2018.

That’s just before two of the biggest races on the ladies’ domestic calendar – the Bedford Three-Day and the Tour de Yorkshire – and it should provide the perfect build-up for riders intent on doing well in those tests.

Organised by British Cycling-backed South West Road Race Group, the new race will spend its first day at Paignton’s Torbay Velopark, where there will be two stages.

It will start with a three-lap Time Trial, followed by a fast and furious Circuit Race of one hour plus five laps. The Velopark track is 1.5-kilometres long.

With time gaps likely to be tight, it should mean that the second day, featuring a 53-mile Road Race based between Sampford Courtenay and Hatherleigh, will be decisive.

Rated as a ‘National B’ event, it will be open to all riders from Elite category downwards.

With more and more women taking up cycling, there is an increasing demand for competition to match, and the new South West race is a welcome addition to the schedule.

The organisers have deliberately made it a two-day race, in the belief that top riders might be reluctant to travel to Devon for a one-day test, and it will also give invaluable experience to improving ladies intent on climbing the UK ladder.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.