Leah Dixon (Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm) and James Shaw (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) both won the second stage to complete overall victories at the Tour of the Reservoir.
Dixon won stage two of the Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir – round 4 of the women’s HSBC UK | National Road Series – to overhaul team-mate Rebecca Durrell’s lead after stage 1, while Shaw’s dramatic win – in round 5 of the men’s series - also elevated him into pole position overall.
No pain, no gain for Dixon
Dixon’s victory came after she launched a solo attack off the front of a leading group of five, pulling away from eventual second and third-placed riders, Jennifer Powell (Bianchi Dama) and Claire Steels (Brother UK Fusion RT), with around 10 miles left.
The trio had been part of a long-time leading group along with Dame Sarah Storey (Storey Racing) and Christina Wiejak (Team Jadan Weldtite – Vive le Velo) but the group thinned out as the brutal, 70-mile stage took its toll.
Dixon said: “What a difference a season makes! This time last year I was in the break on day one, then I didn’t even finish day two – I managed to make it round the big lap, then I just got off at the top of the climb!
“To win today is just incredible. It was so painful, but I’m really glad I managed to get the win for the team.”
The stage 2 podium replicated the overall standings, while Durrell retains her series leader’s jersey. The Queen of the Mountains was won by Niamh Fisher-Black (Torrelli-Assure-Madison).
Poker face pays off
Shaw’s win came as he outsprinted Madison Genesis rider Matt Holmes, after 110 miles of racing came down to a winning margin of inches on the line.
Shaw’s team-mate Pete Williams had done much to animate the middle section of the race, but when he was caught by three chasing riders, the race began to come back together.
Shaw was part of a leading group of five which were caught by five chasers – including Holmes – in the final miles of the race, but it was Shaw who ensured that the stage and overall victories would be his with a dramatic sprint to the line.
He said: “I had really bad stitch under my right ribs, and I had to put a bit of a poker face on to pretend everything was fine.
"Thankfully once we got over the final climb it went away, but I could feel Matt coming down that final straight, gaining on me all the time, and I thought that line couldn’t come quickly enough!”
Wins for Durrell and Wood
Steve Lampier claimed third place on the stage, while the overall podium was completed by Holmes (second) and Mark Christian (Team Wiggins Le Col) third. Adam Kenway (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) was King of the Mountains.
Both races began yesterday, with Durrell and Wood both getting wins on the board.
The women’s race was a cagey affair, with no riders allowed to get off the front of the peloton for a sustained period of time, despite attacking riding from Storey Racing’s Chanel Mason and Fisher-Black in particular.
A large group went into the final stages in contention, but it was Durrell who proved strongest on the hilltop finish, winning ahead of Pfeiffer Georgi (Team Sunweb) and Anna Kay (Experza-Footlogix).
A break was allowed to get away in the men’s race, with a group of ten – Chris Latham and Adam Kenway (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother), Jordan Peacock (Spirit Tifosi), Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis), Will Bjergfelt and Ben Hardy (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling), Scott Auld (Ribble Pro Cycling), Callum MacLeod (Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes), Damien Clayton (Andy Moore Autocentres Racing) and Ben Healy (Team Wiggins le Col) – establishing a lead of almost seven minutes at one point.
They were eventually caught by a chasing group of 16 riders with 20 miles to go, and that group stayed together to set up a grandstand finish on the final climb, which Wood won, ensuring that Jacob Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Tom Moses (Madison Genesis) had to settle for second and third respectively.
Both national series now take a break, as riders turn their attentions to competing for the red, white and blue national champions’ jerseys at the HSBC UK | National Road Championships in Norfolk next week.
The time trials will be contested on Thursday, while the new national road race champions will be crowned on Sunday.