Monica Greenwood and Finn Crockett took fantastic victories at the fifth round of the National Circuit Series in Sheffield.
Monica Greenwood (DAS-Handsling) proved the strongest of a two-rider breakaway that dominated much of the race in Sheffield, outsprinting Amy Gornall (Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee).
The win in Sheffield is confirmation of Greenwood’s form this season, coming after an early season podium in the National Road Series, consistent top results in the National Circuit Series, and victories in Belgium.
DAS-Handsling and Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee took control of the front of the race early on.
The uneasy truce was broken as Alba Development Road Team’s Arianne Holland and Sophie Enever took it in turns to attack up the slight rise to the finish, stretched the peloton over the next few laps as the strength of DAS-Handsling, Alba Development RT, and Pro-Noctis took over.
After 15 minutes, a lull in the pace saw last year’s series winner Emma Jeffers (DAS-Handsling) go solo. However, the move never gained more than a handful of seconds and she was reeled back in a lap later.
As the race approached the halfway mark, Greenwood launched a stinging attack from the front of the bunch, powering up the finishing straight with Gornall a few metres behind.
The two dominant teams of the race so far seemed content with the race situation and the leaders worked well to establish a gap, aided by their teammates back in the bunch, which almost came to a crawl as the DAS-Handsling riders fanned out across the road.
The gap continued to grow over the next few laps and, with two laps to go, it was clear that the breakaway was destined to make it all the way to the line.
Coming into the final lap, Gornall led Greenwood along the back of the course, looking over her shoulder and keeping the pace high to guard against a late attack.
The duo rounded the final corner together, with Greenwood slotting into the lead just before the turn. She accelerated hard coming into the finishing straight and opened up a small gap to Gornall almost immediately, holding her lead all the way to the line.
Jo Tindley (Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee) rounded out the podium, winning the bunch sprint for third.
Corinne Side finished safely in the bunch, her seventh place doing enough to retain the series lead ahead of Round 6 in Newark.
Finn Crockett joined a select group of five who dominated the Sheffield Grand Prix, working together to carve out an unassailable lead before a sprint that saw two Saint Piran riders top the podium.
The victory was the 24-year-old Scot’s first win for his new team, having signed mid-season after the collapse of his previous team earlier in the year. Saint Piran did well to make sure they had a numerical advantage in the early move and it paid dividends in the finale.
Alec Briggs (TEKKERZ CC) was quickest off the line, marked by the riders from Wheelbase-CabTech-Castelli and series leader, Ben Chilton (Ribble Collective). The course featured tight corners and cobbles to test the riders, and it was soon apparent that racing from the front would be the best option.
The fast start took its toll at the back of the bunch, but it was Jake Scott (Bolton Equities Black Spoke Pro Cycling) who finally forced an attack clear on the third lap. He was marked by James Hartley (Cycling Sheffield), Harry Birchill (Saint Piran), and Chilton.
Sensing the potential of the move, Toby Barnes (Dolan Ellesse Race Team) and Crockett jumped across the gap just before the finish line. A few seconds later, the bunch hurtled past, led by the Wheelbase-CabTech-Castelli team working to protect Matt Fox’s second place in the series.
The breakaway quickly set to work, keeping a high pace that pulled away from the bunch. However, Hartley was suffering and, after 15 minutes, he lost contact on the slight uphill drag to the line before being swallowed back up by the bunch a few minutes later.
Over the next half an hour of racing, the gap grew as the chasing bunch was reduced to a select group of 20 riders. Fox, Briggs, and his TEKKERZ CC teammate, Benjamin Tuchner, led the charge behind, but they couldn’t match the cohesion of the leading five riders. By the time the break had five laps to go, the gap was over a minute.
The front group slowed in the final laps, with each rider expecting the others to attack. However, the stalemate remained in place until the finishing straight, where Crockett powered out of the final corner and held his lead all the way to the line, beating Birchill and Chilton by a bike length.
Ben Chilton’s third place extends his lead ahead of Fox before the men’s penultimate round of the National Circuit Series in Colne next week.
- Finn Crockett (Saint Piran)
- Harry Birchill (Saint Piran)
- Ben Chilton (Ribble Collective)
- Monica Greenwood (DAS-Handsling)
- Amy Gornall (Pro Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee)
- Jo Tindley (Pro Noctis-Heidi Kjeldsen-200 Degrees Coffee)