The 2017 Tour de Gladhouse produced a worthy winner in Genevieve Whitson (Isorex Cycling Team) as she put her past experience as Hill Climb Champion to good use and overhauled Jesse Mitchell (www.Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk) just before the line to claim victory.
The rider of the day however was surely Georgia Mansfield (RT23) who, with the help of her teammate Amanda Tweedie, stayed with the main group through the race and became the 2017 Scottish Junior Women’s Road Champion.
Those of you familiar with the Eastern Promise RR will know the Gladhouse Circuit which cuts through Midlothian, dipping in and out of the Scottish Borders. Using the established HQ at Eddleston, the Edinburgh Road Club had put together a course that started and finished just after the 1.5km climb away from the A703.
Heading out to recce the route, the first person we met was Ken Whitson, broom in hand and surrounded by a white dust cloud as he cleared the junction of any gravel. This is an undulating course with few options for recovery and enough short, sharp inclines to keep everyone on their toes. After a slight delay the riders were released and immediately two riders tried to move away. Amanda Tweedie and Series leader Ellen McDermott (EDCO Continental) were testing the will of the bunch but they were soon brought back by the efforts of Anne Ewing (Veloclub Edinburgh) and new recruit to RT23 Ashleigh Fraser.
This pressure however had the effect of dropping some riders out the back and this became the order of the race…one main group followed by ones and twos as they gradually drifted further back. In the bunch, Jesse Mitchell and Ellen McDermott were keeping the pace up and Anne Ewing reminded everyone that they were not on a ‘cake and coffee’ run whenever the pace dropped.
Ultimately, as it always would, it came down to that final climb and standing at the finish line we had to gauge how it went. From what we can gather, Jesse Mitchell rode away from the group at the bottom and the bunch splintered as everyone scrambled up the hill. After the twisty section, there is a long ramp before cresting the hill with another 50 metres to the line and as we watched, it was the Dooleys rider who appeared first. She wasn’t alone though as Genevieve Whitson was hunting her down and the Isorex rider, fresh from Belguim, was on her just after the summit. She came around and put several bike lengths into her rival with more than enough time to raise a hand in salute as she crossed the line, Jesse Mitchell crossing just after her and thumping her bars in frustration.
The next group appeared above the rise and it was Series leader Ellen McDermott leading home Sharon Bird (ERC), who put in an excellent performance, and Anne Ewing. Then came Lulu Bartlett (The Racers) fighting all the way to the line and riding a borrowed bike, her own having cracked a few days before the event. Next was Juli Rourke of the organising club and then came Amanda Tweedie, looking over her shoulder for her young teammate all the way to the line. We discovered afterwards that she had a sick front shifter and had been struggling to change at the front. And then our newest Scottish Champion came over the hill and Georgia Mansfield shyly raised her arms in victory as the spectators cheered her home. This young rider has bags of potential and is beginning to believe in herself. Her recent trip to Belgium with Team Torelli has given her a huge boost and her coach Peter Ettles believes she can go all the way. With teammates like Amanda Tweedie and Ashleigh Fraser she’s well on her way! Team 22 rider Ellie Park claimed second in the Junior race followed by Glasgow Cycle Team’s Gemma Penman in third.
And so it was back to the hall for the usual cake and tea fest while the full results were worked out but we had our winners for today, and our new Scottish Junior Champion. Ellen McDermott retains the Series lead and is looking good for the overall competition.
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