The British Cycling Women’s Road Series heads to the north-west this weekend for the three-stage CDNW Surf ’n’ Turf 2 Day and after three rounds series leader Nicola Juniper will look to press home her advantage at the race’s new home in Preston.
The Team Echelon rider won the opening round of the series, the Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir and followed it up with fourth place at the Cheshire Classic. Juniper capitalised on the absence of her nearest series rivals Mollie Weaver and Lowri Devey and chalked up valuable points at round three in Hillingdon, taking 15th place plus valuable sprint bonuses to leave her 28 points clear at the top of the table.
Juniper’s form looked good at last weekend’s non-series London Nocturne, where she took the win in a dominant performance, in a race where Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International’s Katie Archibald also continued to impress.
A coming together with the barriers ended Archibald’s challenge in London but the Scottish track star is likely to be a big rival in Preston. Archibald won round two of the British Cycling Women’s Series, the Cheshire Classic in an impressive solo break, clearly in great form in the run up to the Commonwealth Games.
With a 1.6-kilometre sprint time-trial as the opening stage of the Surf ‘n’ Turf, Archibald will seek to take an early advantage as she did in 2013 and hold on to it through the remaining stages. With second and third placed Weaver and Devey once again absent from proceedings Archibald will look to move up from sixth in the standings, 38 points behind Juniper.
Ahead of her in the standings however is last year’s Surf ‘n’ Turf winner Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda), fresh from victory in Hillingdon and backed by Olympians Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Dani King.
Archibald’s Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International teammate Gabriella Shaw lies in fourth and will also look to make ground on the leader, with the squad line-up also featuring Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey.
Junior world team pursuit champion Amy Hill is on the start list despite suffering from concussion after a non-racing incident at Hillingdon.
Day one will comprise the short prologue time-trial in the morning followed by a criterium race in the afternoon, both staged on Preston’s UCLAN Arena closed-road circuit. Action moves to the short version of the popular Bashall Eaves road circuit for day two and stage three, an 81-kilometre road race over 13 laps of a 6.24 kilometre circuit.
The British Cycling Women’s Road Series consists of ten rounds before the overall series winner is crowned following the final round at Stafford on 1 August.