The 2013 National Women’s Road Series begins with the City of Perth Grand Prix as a robust field is set to compete over three stages in central Scotland on Saturday and Sunday.
The new addition to the calendar is the first race in an expanded programme of nine events in this year’s series, the Grand Prix consisting of a road race, time-trial and criterium as riders will aim to accumulate some early points in the overall standings.
Stage one on Saturday morning is a 50-mile road race on a five-mile rolling circuit around the beautiful village of Forteviot before stage two on the Saturday evening is a short one-mile time-trial in the grounds of the picturesque Strathallan School in Forgandenny.
Stage three on Sunday morning challenges riders to a one hour city centre criterium in and around the shops of beautiful downtown Perth.
Last year’s overall winner, four-time London Paralympic gold medallist Sarah Storey, will not be present in Scotland but Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team colleagues Penny Rowson (sixth overall in 2012), Eileen Roe, Jane Barr, Kayleigh Brogan, Laura Murray, Gabriella Shaw, Ella Hopkins and Ciara Horne will have aspirations of making an impression for the recently formed team in Storey’s absence.
Fresh from an impressive second place at the opening round of the British Cycling National Mountain-Bike Cross-Country Series at Sherwood Pines, Hannah Barnes (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) will be looking to pick up from where she left the 2012 series when she won the last stage of the Essex Giro 2-Day.
The 2011 national junior women’s road and elite women’s criterium champion’s position is strengthened further with the inclusion of Sunday morning’s final stage crit.
Also on the podium at Sherwood was Lee Craigie and the Cannondale Racing rider will want to bring the form that took her to third in the event. The Scotswomen didn’t compete in the 2012 road series as she was occupied securing the mountain bike cross-country series title but is more than capable of making an impression on the weekend’s racing.
Laura Massey is the highest placed 2012 rider to start in Perth. Consistent performances throughout last year at the Cheshire Classic Road Race, Capernwray Road Race, Surf n Turf Women's 2-Day and Essex Giro 2-Day have given the Abergavenny Road Club rider a firm platform to build-on in 2013.
Great Britain Para-Cycling Team rider Crystal Lane (Scott Contessa Epic) will also be on the start line, the London Paralympian another one to watch.
The series opener is followed by the Cheshire Classic on Sunday 28 April, the full programme can be viewed at www.britishcycling.org.uk/womensnationalroadseries.