Round one of the Johnson Health Tech GP series took place in Oxford, where as the defending champions, the pressure was already on the Matrix Fitness – Prendas squad. In what is now a five race series, the format is becoming closer to that of the mens series, and with an increasing amount of teams in the event, it was an impressive field of 45 riders on the start.
The race began in an aggressive manner, with solo moves by last years individual winner Helen Wyman, and Penny Rowson. Both riders tried to take time on the peloton but it was dragged back to them as they tackled the ‘hotdog’ style course.
It was then the turn of Annie Simpson to try to get away from the pack and she was joined by World Junior Champion Lucy Garner and Helen Wyman. The 3 stayed away just long enough to take the 3 top spots in the first of the two sprint laps. Annie took second behind the impressive Garner, but the peloton quickly took them back. Further attacks from the team came from Sarah Reynolds, before a group of 5 riders jumped away halfway through the race.
Simpson was again in the group, along with National Criterium Champion Hannah Barnes and the 5 worked hard to drive the gap up. During the brake they also contested the second and final sprint lap, where Annie again got 2nd and in doing so secured the sprint jersey.
Towards the end of the race, Lucy Garner and Helen Wyman again broke clear of the peloton and worked hard to bridge across to the front group but it wasn’t to be and they were eventually to finish just off the back of the lead group of five, with Lucy just beating Helen for 6th.
Coming into an exciting last lap, the lead five were all together and it looked like it would be a sprint finish. But Simpson had other plans and took to the lead ahead of the only technical section on the course. “I kicked out of the last of the 3 corners and got a small gap” said Simpson after the race. “I’m not an out and out sprinter, so even splitting the group seemed like a good idea. I pushed on all the way down the back straight and knew if I could carry a gap into the last corner, I could take the win. That’s the way it worked out and I couldn’t be happier.”
Annie took both the individual win and the sprint jersey, while the Matrix Fitness – Prendas team took the overall team win by just 2 points from Node4.
Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series , Round One, Oxford, Provisional Results
Round One Individual Result
1) Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness – Prendas
2) Hanna Barnes, Team Ibis Cycles
3) Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael
4) Corrine Hall, Node4 – Giordana Racing
5) Jo McRae, Look Mum No Hands!
6) Lucy Garner, Node4 – Giordana Racing
7) Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing
8) Tamina Oliver, Abergavenny Road Club
9) Natalie Creswick, Mule Bar Girls
10) Sarah Reynolds, Matrix Fitness – Prendas
11) Lydia Boylan, Look Mum No Hands!
12) Adele Carter, Team Hope Factory Racing
13) Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness – Prendas
14) Adel Tyson-Bloor, VC St Raphael
15) Amy Roberts, Scott Contessa Epic
16) Harriet Owen, Node4 – Giordana Racing
17) Louise Mahe, Mule Bar Girls
18) Rachel Stokes, Zappi’s Cycling Club
19) Alice Barnes, Twenty3c.co.uk – Orbea
20) Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse Cyclaim RT
Round One Team Result
1) Matrix Fitness – Prendas, 39pts
2) Node4 – Giordana Racing, 37pts
3) Look Mum No Hands!, 26pts
4) VC St Raphael, 25pts
5) Mule Bar Girls, 16pts
6) Team Hope Factory Racing, 9pts
7) Scott Contessa Epic, 6pts
8) Zappi’s Cycling Club, 3pts
9) Vivelo Bikes / Inverse Cyclaim RT, 1pt
Sprints winner Oxford: Annie Simpson (Matrix Fitness – Prendas)
Sprints standings, post-Round One
1) Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness – Prendas, 8pts
2) Lucy Garner, Node4 – Giordana Racing, 5pts
3) Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 5pts