Shier powers to solo victory as Saint Piran takes clean sweep at Lancaster Grand Prix

Shier powers to solo victory as Saint Piran takes clean sweep at Lancaster Grand Prix

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Published: Monday 17 July 2023
Images: SWPix

Ruth Shier powered to her first National Series win while Saint Piran claimed another clean sweep of the podium in the men’s race at the Lancaster Grand Prix, with Zeb Kyffin taking the win.

Women’s race

Ruth Shier (Hutchinson-Brother UK) took a convincing win at the Lancaster Grand Prix over a minute ahead of her rivals, breaking away solo with a powerful attack in the final 20km.

A challenging race of attrition saw the lone leader win ahead of a bunch kick taken by Jessica Finney (AWOL O’Shea) ahead of Lucy Lee (DAS-Handsling). National Road Series leader, Monica Greenwood took fourth with Robyn Clay (Pro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffee) coming in fifth.

Loughborough Lightning opened up the racing early on, pushing the pace in what was a sign of things to come. However, any attacks were quickly reeled back in and the combined forces of DAS-Handsling, Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee, and Hutchinson-Brother UK sent riders to the front, driving the pace to deter attacks and splinter the peloton on the rolling course.

Over the next hour of racing, accelerations from Shier, Finney and Anya Tamplin (Loughborough Lightning) were neutralised by the high pace at the front of the bunch, and it seemed that no-one would break the stranglehold on the front of the peloton. The pairing of Lucy Lee and Danni Shrosbree (DAS-Handsling) took it in turns to force the pace over the Proctor Moss Road climb to ensure the QOM competition went to one of the DAS-Handsling riders.

As the bunch slowed with two laps to go, Shier seized her opportunity on an innocuous rise, attacking hard and quickly gaining a small advantage.

Finney, Jo Tindley (Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee) and the remaining DAS-Handsling riders tried to chase, but it was too late. Shier proved unstoppable, crossing the line one minute and two seconds ahead of the bunch. A fast and furious bunch sprint behind saw Finney take a fine second place ahead of Lee who sprinted to third.

Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee also enjoyed success with Corrine Side deservedly taking the Combativity Award on the day after a strong attacking performance. Meanwhile, Lucy Lee was crowned Queen of the Mountains award.

National Road Series leader Greenwood finished in fourth, retaining her lead in the series. With only four points separating her and Robyn Clay (Pro-Noctis–Heidi Kjeldsen–200 Degrees Coffee), the next round in Ryedale promises to be a battle for the series on 20 August.

Men’s race

Saint Piran swept the podium with a classy display of strength at the Lancaster Grand Prix, with Zeb Kyffin taking first ahead of Jack Rootkin-Gray and Harry Birchill.

Tim Shoreman (Wheelbase-CabTech-Castelli) finished in fourth ahead of Finn Crockett (Saint Piran) from what was left of the chasing group over five minutes down on the leaders.

As the peloton rolled out from Lancaster, Wheelbase-CabTech-Castelli controlled the race from the gun. Wet and windy conditions promised a tough race with limited opportunities to save energy over a challenging 152km route with almost 3,000m of climbing and the bunch was stretching under the pressure early on.

Just 10km in, a large crash towards the front of the bunch took down a number of riders and splintered the peloton while the demanding course made chasing difficult and a front group of a dozen riders formed.

Those represented included a strong contingent from Saint Piran in Kyffin, Rootkin-Gray, Birchill, and Bradley Symonds, alongside Thomas Armstrong (Wheelbase-CabTech-Castelli), Ed Morgan (Wales Racing Academy), Jacques Coates (Team PB Performance), George Kimber (Embark Spirit BSS) and Matt Lord (Richardsons Trek DAS).

An uneasy truce ensured the breakaway stayed together for the next 50km, swelling to include George Wood (Cycling Sheffield), Tyler Hannay (Saint Piran) Damien Clayton (Embark Spirit BSS) and Dean Harvey (Trinity Racing).

With 80km left to race, Rootkin-Gray attacked over the King of the Mountains climb as his teammates Kyffin and Birchill took advantage of their superior numbers and bridged across with Logan Maclean, but he was unable to match Saint Piran’s strength and dropped off soon after. Behind, the chase fell apart and riders were strewn across the road.

The Saint Piran trio settled in and held their pace while the chasers slowed and the gap grew quickly, even reaching six minutes at one point.

The three teammates rode into Williamson Park together for the finish, with Kyffin crossing the line slightly ahead of Birchill and Rootkin-Gray, celebrating as a team after a stunning display of strength.

Rootkin-Gray also won the King of the Mountains competition, having driven the pace up the Proctor Moss Road climb each lap. Wood’s noble efforts were also noticed with the Combativity Rider award after his early efforts to challenge Rootkin-Gray for the KOM competition.

With the previous National Road Series leader Alex Richardson (Saint Piran) not starting, Zeb Kyffin takes the series lead into Round 3 at the Ryedale Grand Prix next month.