Katie Archibald takes victory at 2014 Curlew Cup

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Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) closed the gap on Nicola Juniper at the top of the 2014 British Cycling Women’s Road Series with victory in the Curlew Cup.

Team Echelon’s Juniper had started the series in imperious fashion and has led from the first round.

But Archibald has hit good form at the right time and is now just four points behind her rival with five rounds remaining.

"This was the best race we've had as a team," Archibald said. "Everything went to plan, everyone did their job and more, so I'm really chuffed with the way things went.

"We had a couple of options to see who felt good to go for the win but we waited for the Ryals to see who was feeling the best.

"We hit the small climb on the small circuit hard to try to thin out the bunch, any breaks were covered by Lauren (Creamer) so when we got to the Ryals we hit it hard and kept the pressure on over the top and for the run in. The Ryals was going to be the place where the race would be decided so we knew we had to break the race up before it got there.

"The Scott girls were riding well up the climb and making it hurt but we had it at the end, they did a lot of chasing throughout the race and Sarah and myself sat in and watched to see how things developed, I think I had fresh legs for the sprint."

The race was decided by a bunch sprint, but not before the infamous Ryals climb had taken its toll and decimated the field to leave only the strongest in contention.

Earlier in the race the bunch had stuck together for the first lap, with only a few probing attacks going off the front and being quickly pulled back.

Charline Joiner (Pearl Izumi) took the first prime, and was to go on to take the last two as well and play her part in a good day for Pearl Izumi.

Matrix Fitness looked to be setting the pace on the second lap, but it was Anna Christian (Epic Cycles) who launched the first attack which proved troublesome. First she attacked with Alice Cobb (Shutt VR/Squadra Donne) and gained 12 seconds before being reeled in.

But on lap three, just as the leaders came out of Stamfordham, Christian went again at a fair pace, causing several riders to drop out the back of the bunch at the sudden increase in pace.

But by this time the Pearl Izumi team had sparked into life, continuing the pace as Sarah Storey and Archibald hit the front and pulled back the lone attacker, as the pace continued to split the race apart.

Going through Stamfordham for the last time Lucy Coldwell (Velosport Pasta Montegrappa) put a big effort in and got 20 seconds’ lead with the bunch slow to react.

Molly Weaver (Epic Cycles-Scott) jumped to the front and tried to chase down Caldwell, getting to within about eight seconds. But her lead grew again to around 27 seconds and the pace was high so the bunch was now down to 14 riders.

More Epic Cycles-Scott rider joined the chase and were clawing into the lead, with Caldwell finally caught after seven miles alone.

At the Ryals climb the strong riders again came to the fore and Alexie Shaw (Epic Cycles-Scott) led up the hill. But as they headed towards the finish, it was Series leader Archibald who popped out to take a bunch finish, with Juniper racing well to take second.


Results

1 Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) 2-42-35
2 Nicola Juniper (Team Echelon) at 1sec
3 Jessie Walker (Matrix Fitness)
4 Gemma Neill (unattached)
5 Gabby Shaw (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International)
6 Alexie Shaw (Epic Cycles-Scott) all same time
7 Rebecca Rimmington (Merlin Cycles) at 3sec
8 Julie Erskine (Velosport)
9 Anna Ewing (VW Breda)
10 Jane Barr (Velocity) all same time

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