Winner Anna Henderson was among the riders to heap praise on the East Cleveland Klondike after the event staged its first ever elite women’s race this weekend.
The event has been a popular fixture on the men’s racing calendar since 2017, but this year hosted the opening rounds of both the men’s and women’s HSBC UK | National Road Series.
Henderson, representing Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm, beat Joscelin Lowden in a sprint finish down Guisborough’s Westgate, crossing the line in front of sizeable crowds to become the event’s first ever female winner and establish an early lead in the series.
Afterwards, she said:
“I think that’s one of the best courses we’ve ever done. It was brutal all the way around – so epic, so hard – a really good one. The crowds were pretty much Tour de Yorkshire levels! It was really good and I really enjoyed it. It’s a great place and a great setting.”
Lining up alongside Henderson and the likes of Elinor Barker, Dame Sarah Storey and Anna Christian on the start line was Hayley Simmonds (BTC City Ljubljana), a two-time national time trial champion and Commonwealth Games medallist.
A mechanical forced Simmonds to abandon on the first of the two laps, however she too was complimentary of the event.
“It’s a really tough course. I’d really like to thank the organisers for putting on a women’s race, because it’s probably one of the toughest women’s courses I’ve seen in the UK, and it’s nice to show that we can race over this kind of terrain as well.”
The next stop for the women’s peloton is the Chestnut Homes Lincoln Grand Prix on May 12, after which the series will move on to the CiCle Classic (June 9), the Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir (June 22 and 23), the Curlew Cup (July 7), Stockton Grand Prix (July 14), South Coast Classic (July 27) and the series-concluding Ryedale Grasscrete Grand Prix (August 18).