The Curlew Cup is the latest instalment of the Women’s National Road Series and after four rounds the competition couldn’t be more open.
Above: Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda) celebrates victory at the Surf 'n' Turf stage race but who will be celebrating in Northumberland?
Thus far the Women’s National Road Series has seen four different winners on four disparate parcours. Anne Ewing (Breast Cancer Care) was triumphant in the two day City of Perth GP stage race, which kicked off the 2013 series in fine style.
Action moved on to the north west at the end of April for the Cheshire Classic, which saw MG-Maxifuel's Karla Boddy take victory, completing a fine team effort. From the rolling roads of Cheshire the series moved to the closed circuit of the Hillingdon GP, where sprint specialist Emily Kay capitalised on the bunch finish before round four saw Wiggle Honda’s Amy Roberts take victory in the two-day, three stage CDNW Surf ‘n’ Turf.
After four rounds Eileen Roe (Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team) leads the overall standings ahead of teammate Anne Ewing and Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda).
Above: Dame Sarah Storey (For Viored) took victory at the inaugural Curlew Cup in 2012.
Although only in its second year, The Curlew Cup, sponsored by Northumberland National Park and part of the Virgin Money Cyclone weekend, is contested on a circuit steeped in cycling history. The 55 mile event will use the short circuit of the long running Beaumont Trophy Road Race, starting and finishing in the village of Stamfordham.
Although eschewing the notorious Ryals climb of the men’s event, the Curlew, named after the avian symbol of Northumberland National Park, still has the grinding climb of Wallridge, which riders will face four times before the final sprint into Stamfordham.
The inaugural 2012 event saw a win for Dame Sarah Storey riding for For Viored but with Storey on maternity duties the coast is clear for a new winner. If it comes to a bunch sprint into Stamfordham, few would bet against Scott Contessa Epic RT’s Emily Kay, with the on-form Hannah Barnes also a pundit’s choice.
The top two overall contenders Eileen Roe and Anne Ewing will be keen to tighten Breast Cancer Care Cycling Team’s grip on the series but with only a four women team, their ability to control the race will be limited, faced with big, strong squads from Matrix Fitness, MG-Maxifuel and Scott Contessa Epic RT.
Racing begins at 9:30am on 30 June with report, results and reaction on the British Cycling website.