Horizon Fitness Tour Series Women's Grand Prix
June 17, 2010; by Larry Hickmott
Helen Wyman, Dani King and Hannah Barnes on the podium after the Horizon Fitness Women's GP.
Danni King has won the only women's circuit race to be held as part of the Tour Series in Stoke on Thursday. Countering an attack by Hannah Barnes in the final quarter of the race, King was soon opening up a large gap on the rest of her rivals as her teammates watched for any chase to be organised. Joanna Rowsell, Sarah King and Hannah Barnes were three that tried to chase but even they could see it was a fruitless task with King's teammates lurking ready to attack again should King be brought back.
On a course that sees the riders climbing every lap up through the finish area, King maintained her 30 second lead to the end, crossing the line arms aloft. In the sprint for second place, Hannah Barnes showed what might have been by winning the bunch kick ahead of cyclo-cross star, Helen Wyman.
Afterwards, a delighted Danni King who has won at least seven races this year, said that although it may have looked easy, on the Stoke circuit, it was anything but. "It wasn't easy at all. Our plan was to make it hard at the start and so the team were going through and off at the front and then Hannah Barnes attacked. I knew she was a strong rider so I thought I'll counter. So Helen and Hannah (Rich) worked real hard to bring her back and as soon as she came back, I went."
"I put in a 30 second effort, looked back and there was a big gap so I kept the pressure on. It proved I could do it off the front as well as from a sprint. I'm wearing the national champion colours and that gives me extra confidence on the start line. I started to feel it in the legs with a couple of laps to go but I was loving the race. This gives me the confidence to try this again as it obviously works."
Hanna Barnes having a dig before Dani King jumped away.
Hannah Barnes: Asked did she feel isolated out there with such a strong Horizon Fitness team dominating the race, Hannah replied "yes. I tried to get away, a bit of fun and then when Danni went, I couldn't go with her.There was no way I was going to catch her back again. It was a hard circuit but I loved it. In road racing, there is nothing as technical as this and it was short and sharp. It was great being here racing as part of the Tour Series. It's 3pm in the afternoon and there was loads of people. I had a day off school as well!"
Talking about winning the bunch sprint, Hannah explained "I knew I had to get in the Horizon train and get on their wheels. I got boxed in when they came across and I had to ease off and I thought at that moment my challenge was over. I didn't get to start my sprint until 100 metres to go but because it is uphill, I knew I had to go late anyway as there was also a little bit of a headwind too".
Horizon Fitness had a very strong squad at the race and dominated it. On the front here during the warmup are Gabby Day and Helen Wyman. Even the owner of the team admitted the Women's sport needs more strong teams like this in Britain.
Helen Wyman: In her first road race this year in Britain, the British Cyclo-Cross champion was pleased with the team effort that saw Dani King win her sponsors race in Stoke. "We had a plan that we would ride hard for the first 10 minutes and try some attacks, and if that didn't work, lead Danni out for the sprint. Hannah Rich put in a great attack and then Hannah Barnes also put in a great attack and it was hard bringing that back but when we brought it back, Dani was ready and countered. It was perfect."
"This is my third road race this season and Dani and I were practising stuff at the weekend so we knew that we'd come to this race, and even if nothing else worked out, we knew we could get her the win, that wouldn't be a problem for us. Dani had won at the weekend from our leadout and if you can beat the Belgian girls, then we knew we'd be good here. Knowing that, gave us the confidence to try different stuff and it was really good. Gabby and Hannah were really strong, Penny and Anna too and it was really good. The team worked brilliantly."
Hannah Barnes win the bunch kick for second place.
The women riders line up at 3pm for their race in bright sunshine.
The British Circuit Race Champion Dani King was in super form for this event and her class showed.
Plenty of time to celebrate a great victory for Dani.
The riders set off and already helen Wyman and Horizon Fitness are looking in control.
At one point, the race did split with this group dominated by Motorpoint/Marshals Pasta and Horizon Fitness but Joanna Rowsell brought the bunch up.
With Dani King up the road, former World Champion in the Team Pursuit, Joanna Rowsell settles down to do the chase with Horizon Fitness lined up behind her protecting the lead of Dani King.
1. Danni King, Horizon Fitness
2. Hannah Barnes, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
3. Helen Wyman, Horizon Fitness
4. Hannah Rich
5. Leanne Thompson, Vanilla Bikes
6. Alex Greenfield, Horizon Fitness
7. Melissa Bury
8. Gabby Day, Horizon Fitness
9. Lucy Garner, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
10. Penny Rowson, Horizon Fitness
11. Sarah King
12. Joanna Rowsell, private member
13. Hannah Walker, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
14. Sarah Bryne
15. Charlotte Colclough