Backstedt takes final stage and overall victory in North West Junior Tour

Backstedt takes final stage and overall victory in North West Junior Tour

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Elynor Backstedt won the concluding stage of the North West Youth and Junior Tour, the fourth and final round of the inaugural 2018 British Cycling | Junior Women’s Road Series, to secure overall victory in the race.

The results were a reversal of the previous day’s classification, this time the Team Backstedt/Hotchillee outsprinted Liv-Halo’s Amelia Sharpe by the narrowest of margins with New Zealand rider Niamh Fisher-Black of Mike Greer Homes WT rounding out the finish after another attacking display.

On a super-tight, 4km circuit whose surface for the most part resembled a gravel race, the action was largely sanitized as riders focused on staying upright and avoiding punctures. Any attempts at splitting the field were nullified as the bunch quickly came back together, the pace dropping as the peloton slowed to pick their way cautiously around the treacherous wet and loose-surfaced bends. This made the prime sprints a huge factor with all of the main contenders targeting bonuses.

A few riders were distanced in the early laps, the demands of the course meaning that hanging anywhere near the back was likely to result in a nigh-on impossible high-speed sprint back to the bunch, but the lead group remained largely intact for the duration with all main GC contenders controlling things at the front.

Series leader April Tacey, Team 22, took an early prime with Backstedt and Sharpe sharing the other two but although each sprint had the effect of stretching the elastic, none resulted in any meaningful break.

On lap eight of 12 Fisher-Black attempt a bunch-splitting move on the only slight hill on the circuit, a punchy, short drag up to the motorway bridge which was enough to significantly stretch the peloton and distance a few more riders but the race came back together for an inevitable bunch gallop. The finish was so tight, with all three riders lunging for the line that no-one knew who had won it until the finish line camera was consulted, revealing Backstedt’s win by the slenderest of margins.

“There was no chance any attacks were going to stick today,” said Backstedt after the race. “I was just focusing on taking some primes and practising my sprints. In the end I just managed to roll Amelia for the win.”

Stage 3 Result:

1 Elynor Backstedt Team Backstedt/Hotchillee
2 Amelia Sharpe Liv Cycling Club - Halo Cycles st
3 Niamh Fisher-Black Mike Greer Homes WT st
4 Amy Monkhouse Team Backstedt/Hotchillee st
5 Corinne Side The Racing Chance Foundation st
6 April Tacey Team 22 st
7 Holly Hoy Cycle Team OnForm st
8 Katie Scott Team Jadan Weldtite-Vive le Velo st
9 Olivia Bent Team Jadan Weldtite-Vive le Velo st
10 Jessica Woodworth Cycle Team OnForm st

Final General Classification:

1 Elynor Backstedt Team Backstedt/Hotchillee
2 Amelia Sharpe Liv Cycling Club - Halo Cycles at 00:15
3 April Tacey Team 22 at 00:20
4 Niamh Fisher-Black Mike Greer Homes WT at 00:29
5 Amy Monkhouse Team Backstedt/Hotchillee st
6 Katie Scott Team Jadan Weldtite-Vive le Velo at 00:33
7 Fiona Turnbull Team Jadan Weldtite-Vive le Velo at 00:48
8 Corinne Side The Racing Chance Foundation st
9 Lily Greenhalgh Torelli-Brother at 00:50
10 Holly Hoy Cycle Team OnForm st

2018 British Cycling Junior Women’s Road Series #4 Day 3