History repeated itself at the Chestnut Homes Lincoln Grand Prix today, as two previous winners of the event, Rebecca Durrell and Tom Stewart, both claimed victory at round two of this year’s HSBC UK | National Road Series.
Durrell (Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm) claimed her second consecutive win in Lincoln after winning a thrilling sprint finish against national road champion Jess Roberts (Team Breeze).
Durrell showed her class over the early laps, consistently reaching the top of the iconic Michaelgate climb at the head of the race. However, the peloton stayed together until an injection of pace from Joscelin Lowden (Brother.uk Fusion RT) began to string the pack out in the closing laps.
Lowden led a strong group of seven across the line for the penultimate time, before mounting a solo attack in the early stages of the eighth and final lap. However, the bunch came back together as the lap progressed, and Durrell’s strength on the climb edged her into the lead.
Although Roberts mounted a strong challenge, Durrell crossed the line in first to secure her team’s second victory in two national series races, following Anna Henderson’s win at the East Cleveland Klondike. Lowden finished third, with Pfeiffer Georgi (Team Sunweb) and Alicia Speake (Campinense – Velo Performance) completing the top five.
Afterwards, Durrell said:
“I could hear Jess breathing right next to me on the way up the last climb! It was a really strong ride by her, and so close on the line. I had so many family members here today and they gave me that extra 0.1 per cent that I needed. That last time up Michaelgate, you’re already digging the dregs of energy from the bottom of the barrel, but they gave me that extra boost to keep on going.
“The girls rode brilliantly. We had a plan going into the race and we executed it perfectly. Anna and I got our heads together in the break at the end and she said she wasn’t feeling great but that she would lead me out. It just shows that if you work as a team you can succeed. It’s a win for the whole team, not just for me.”
Stewart (Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes) – the 2016 winner – proved the strongest in the final stages of the 13-lap men’s race, after the peloton had come back together to ensure a thrilling finale.
After a threatening-looking break – dominated by Stewart’s Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes team-mates – was reeled in by the rest of the field, a strong lead group of over 20 riders were all in contention going into the final lap.
Last year’s winner Alex Richardson was among those to mount an attack, however it was Stewart who judged the final Michaelgate climb to perfection, finishing ahead of Tom Pidcock (Team Wiggins Le Col) and team-mate Andy Tennant to take victory.
After the race, Stewart said:
“It’s a tough race, but I’ve learnt how to ride it over the years, I think. You have to prepare yourself to go extremely deep – you know it’s going to hurt. You have moments where you doubt yourself, and I had that today, but I just identified the biggest threats and started watching each one of those riders, picking them off one by one and gradually thinking ‘I can do this’.
“The last time I won here I came into the finish with three extremely strong guys and I managed to beat them, and that gave me some confidence – this finish obviously suits me. I took a different line to previous years, but still managed to do the trick.”
The next round of the men’s series is the Lancaster Grand Prix, while the women’s series now moves on to the CiCle Classic – both races take place on June 9. Taking the respective series leader jerseys into those races will be Durrell and Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis).