Ciara Horne (Node 4-Giordana) has won the Two Days of Bedford Women’s International Stage Race by just one second after a brave attack in the final few miles of the last stage on Bank Holiday Monday.
The final stage was an 8-lap 50-mile race run off in rainy conditions which eventually led to it being shortened by one circuit. It was dominated by Elinor Barker (Scott Contessa) who attacked alone on the first lap and held her lead to the finish.
Barker started the day fifth overall, 26 seconds off the yellow jersey of Sarah Storey and 21 seconds behind second-placed Ciara Horne.
Her lead grew to a maximum of around a minute and a half, but Horne chased her down in the final couple of laps, and although she didn’t get close enough for the stage win she did just enough to take the overall victory, beating Barker by one second on GC.
What they said
Final stage winner Elinor Barker said: “That was pretty hard, I knew the wind on the hills and the bowl would be hard work, I had to save myself a little bit where I could so I could really kill it there.
“When I attacked first I wished that someone would have come with me and towards the end I felt the same but once I had got into it, it was really about finding my rhythm. The team didn't plan the attack, we knew we had four riders in the top ten and we had to get someone up the road but it wasn't decided that anyone of us would go.
“We have a really strong bunch of girls so it could have been anyone one of us who attacked but the timing was right for me to attack and they controlled the bunch really well when I went. I was given times wherever I was on the course which were all different but I couldn't get any official times while I was out there so I wasn't sure if I was going to get the overall.”
Overall race winner Ciara Horne said: “I lead Lucy (Garner) out for one of the sprints because I'm riding for Node4 as a guest this weekend so to me it made sense to ride for Lucy and then we heard there was a rider up the road by about 1 minute 20 seconds.
“I thought if I get on the front I could drag the group along and protect Lucy but they let me get away so that idea kind of backfired. I kept hearing the gap was dropping so I thought sod it I'm going to try and close it. Elinor is a very talented rider and she is very strong so I thought that was a good ride.
“I haven't ridden many road events, I'm really a pursuiter and I love time trials so I just time trialled it back home but I've never been so glad to see a descent, I was dying out there. The course was awesome, I loved it, it was challenging so it split everyone up. I came into the weekend not thinking about the overall, it was about looking after Lucy. This was best road race I've won so far.”
Stage three report (Individual time trial)
Sarah Storey (For Viored RT) will wear the leader’s yellow jersey heading into the fourth and final stage of the Two Days of Bedford Women’s International Stage Race in Bedfordshire on Bank Holiday Monday.
Victory by ten seconds in the two-mile individual time trial on Monday morning gave Storey the lead on GC by five seconds over Node 4 rival Ciara Horne, while World Junior Champion Lucy Garner (Node 4) is third, nine seconds behind Storey.
Storey clocked 4-23 for the course despite being included in the later starters who had to ride in rain showers, while Elinor Barker (Scott Contessa Epic) was second, ten seconds behind, and moves up to fifth on GC.
Horne took third on the stage, 12 seconds behind Storey, but will have her rival in her sights in the final stage with just five seconds separating them on GC.
Monday saw 17 fewer competitors sign on after several crashes throughout Sunday took their toll on the start list.
The final stage begins at 1.30pm, and takes in a tough 50 miles which features several big climbs.
Stage two report
Amy Roberts (Scott Contessa Epic) took victory in the opening road race of the Two-Days of Bedford Women’s International Stage Race at Keysoe in Bedfordshire.
The 17-year-old from Llanelli edged ahead of breakaway rival Ciara Horne (Node 4-Giordana) at the end of the 50-mile second stage.
The pair had broken away with just two kilometres remaining, and managed to establish and hold a gap of 14 seconds over their rivals, with World Junior Champion Lucy Garner (Node 4-Giordana) settling for third place.
The race was marred by several crashes, one of which caused a major split in the bunch which never came back together and left a front from of 30 and a chasing group of 20.
But other smaller crashes also left their mark on the race, with two-times event winner Sarah Storey (For Viored RT) one of those to hit the tarmac. However, Storey did finish the stage and is expected to contest the final day.
The day had begun with a team time trial, and it was Node 4 who showed their strength with victory, covering the four-mile course in 10:08 to win by just one second ahead of the For Viored team, while Scott Contessa Epic were third fastest with 10:16.
What they said
Stage two winner Amy Roberts said: “That wasn't planned, it was a really unexpected result. I was feeling really tired in the race but the Scott girls did a great job today.
Ciara (Horne, Node 4) went with about 2km to go to the line and I just thought I'll try and chase her down, when I caught her we pretty much worked together to keep away from the bunch and I managed to get passed her at the end to take the win.
“It was a hard race from the start, Sarah(Storey) kept the pace high on the first few laps but I kept in there. It’s been a good year so far, it’s helped to be part of Scott Contessa Epic, all girls together and also we are all juniors which has brilliant.”
1 Ciara Horne (Node 4-Giordana
2 Elinor Barker (Scott Contessa Epic) @ 1sec
3 Lucy Garner (Node 4-Giordana) @ 1:01
4 Sarah Storey (For Viored) @ 1:02
5 Amy Roberts (Scott Contessa Epic) @ 1:25
6 Molly Weaver (Scott Contessa Epic) @ 1:39
7 Corrine Hall (Node 4-Giordana) @ 1:44
8 Emily Kay (Scott Contessa Epic) @ 1:46
9 Helen Wyman (Matrix Fitness) @ 1:51
10 Harriet Owen (Node 4) @ 1:55
1 Elinor Barker (Scott Contessa Epic) 1:54:05
2 Ciara Horne (Node 4-Giordana) @ 8sec
3 Lucy Garner (Node 4-Giordana)
Stage three (2-mile individual TT):
1 Sarah Storey (For Viored) 4:23
2 Elinor Barker (Scott Contessa) @ 10sec
3 Ciara Horne (Node 4-Giordana) @ 12sec
4 Molly Weaver (Scott Contessa Epic) @ 18sec
5 Lucy Garner (Node 4-Giordana) @ 20sec
6 Amy Roberts (Scott Contessa Epic) @ same time
7 Emily Kay (Scott Contessa Epic) @ same time
8 Helen Wyman (Matrix Fitness) @ 21sec
9 Tamina Oliver (Abergavenny RC) @ 23sec
10 Adele Tyson-Bloor (VC St Raphael) @ 25 sec
Stage two (50-mile RR):
1 Amy Roberts (Scott Contessa Epic) 2:09:30
2 Ciara Horne (Nod 4-Giordana) @ same time
3 Lucy Garner (Node 4-Giordana) @ 15sec
4 Sarah Reynolds (Matrix Fitness)
5 Corrinne Hall (Node 4-Giordana) all @ same time
6 Emily Kay (Scott Contessa)
7 Laura Massey (Vivelo Bikes)
8 Lauren Creamer (Abergavenny RC)
9 Tamina Oliver (Abergavenny RC)
10 Harriet Owen (Node 4-Giordana)
Stage one (Team TT):
1 Node 4-Giordana 10:08
2 For Viored 10:09
3 Scott Contessa 10:16
4 Matrix Fitness 10:23
5 Abergavenny RC 10:48
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.