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Crash Halts Women's Series Opener
The first round of the Women's Team series had to be abandoned after 42 of the scheduled 62 miles due to a bad crash which forced the road to be closed and the local air ambulance to attend the scene. Three ambulances attend the scene with three women being taken away, one with a bad hip injury and the others patched up at the road side by the race medic.
The race was on very fast roads around Windsor and Maidenhead, and apparently there was a lot of jumping and weaving around in the bunch, according to some of the more experienced riders.
The morning started off under a cloudy sky, but the sun soon came out to warm the race up. The large field of eighty riders soon got the race away on the fairly flat course with a few attacks on the first lap while riders looked for space on the road. The first rider to make a break was Hannah Barnes (Motorpoint/ Marshalls Pasta) with Hannah Leyland (VC St Raphael) and Claire Galloway (Team Zappi) not too far behind, closely followed by the bunch.
On the second lap Hannah Barnes opened up a small gap of about 10 secs over Sarah Byrne (VC St Raphael) who in turn had the bunch close by. On the approach to the finish line it was Louise Mahe (Team mule Bar Girls) first with Hannah Barnes second and Sarah Byrne third.
The next lap saw a couple of crashes in the bunch making for gaps all over the course and riders having to chase hard to get back on. As the riders approached the first Prime it was Lowri Bunn (Abergavenny RC) just piping team mate Fern Cotterill on the line, with Tania Hunt (Surrey League Women's Team) third. Behind the sprint there was a crash in the bunch on a straight stretch of road.
On the last lap before the abandonment it was Amy Roberts (Cardiff Ajax) first across the line with ever present Sarah Byrne second and Claire Galloway (Team Zappi) third.
As we waited on the finish line for the next prime sprint the news came over the race radio that there had been a crash, then the ambulances had been called for then the news filtered through of the abandonment.
At the HQ car park, riders started to appear in dribs and drabs, some with cuts and bruises and everyone with a tale to tell. The organiser Lisa West said "it was a disappointing way to end a race but the race Commissaire made the correct decision in the light of the severity of the incident".