British Cycling’s Women’s National Series gets underway this Sunday with a full field and over triple the amount of prize money compared to last year.
Promoted by Weaver Valley Cycling Club, the Cheshire Classic, one of the longest running races on the calendar, has been granted an increased field size with riders such as seven-time Paralympic Gold medalist Sarah Storey and current best British all-rounder Julia Shaw joining over 20 teams including Matrix Fitness Prendas, For Viored, Node4 Giordana, Hope Factory Racing and Champion Systems Maxgear Kyklos.
The race sees riders complete 10 laps of the 7.7km rolling circuit based on the outskirts of Northwich in the heart of Cheshire. The circuit sees the riders tackle a mixture of winding country road, fast flowing bypass and the notoriously short but tough climb (known as the Cliff to locals) which is home to the finish line. This year also sees the introduction of an intermediate sprint contest at the end of lap five.
"We can’t wait to get the race started. We had over 80 entries which clearly demonstrates the fantastic growth in women’s cycling in the UK at the moment."
Cheshire Classic promoter Terry Veal
Cheshire Classic promoter Terry Veal, who will after this year’s edition take a back seat after promoting races for over 40 years, couldn’t have asked for a better way to sign off: “It’s been a great start, we’ve picked up several new sponsors which has allowed us not only to offer a large prize fund but to also add National Escort Group and paramedic support to the race for the first time. We can’t wait to get the race started.
"We had over 80 entries which clearly demonstrates the fantastic growth in women’s cycling in the UK at the moment.”
The inclusion of arguably the UK’s best time-trial specialist Julia Shaw will raise eyebrows amongst spectators too: “It is an interesting entry but people forget that Julia has entered the race previously and did pretty well too. She will be one to watch, imagine if Julia Shaw and Sarah Storey broke away along the bypass, it could be carnage.”
The race starts at 10am on Sunday 22 April.
The Cheshire Classic has a long standing history in women’s cycling and was one of the first races on the National Series calendar when it first began. Past winners include Mandy Jones, Lizzie Armitstead and Nicole Cooke. This year sees the launch of a dedicated website for the race at www.cheshireclassicroadrace.co.uk and a Twitter feed @CheshireClassic.