Eilidh Shaw (Alba Development RT) was victorious in Kinross as the Ochil Hills played host to the 2023 Scottish National Women’s Road Race Championships.
A reduced bunch sprint saw Shaw sprint to victory in Glenfarg after 80km of racing on Saturday morning.
The peloton rolled out on a crisp, dry morning from Kinross, where four Scottish National titles would be decided.
The racing was on from the early laps with Shaw, who won the junior title last season, launching an attack on the first ascent of the Church Brae on the exit of Glenfarg. Despite missing a large portion of the season with injury, the Airdrie native was out of the saddle, hands on the drops, similar in style to that of the late Marco Pantani. The attack did spread the field out and tested the legs of the bunch, but ultimately the peloton came back together on the descent - setting the theme for the race.
A few testing attacks followed, the most successful of which was Arianne Holland (Alba Development RT), who built a sizeable advantage of over 30 seconds over the peloton. Holland looked strong and was able to maintain the gap for a full 10km tour of the circuit.
The gap did eventually fall to around 20 seconds, where Shaw then bridged across before the rest of the field chased the duo, who were subsequently brought back with 40km remaining.
There was rotten luck for Daisy Taylor (Royal Albert CC) with a snapped chain halfway through ending her chances of the claiming the junior title. Millie Thomson (Deeside Thistle) and Beatrix Kiehlmann (Royal Albert CC) looked the strongest of the riders from the junior field in the mid-part of the race. With Thomson, who represented Team Scotland at the Youth Commonwealth Games this summer, placing a few speculative attacks as the Championships reached its climax.
Several riders were dropped from the peloton as the circuit promoted attritional racing with over 1100m of elevation on the course, leaving a field of around 12 riders fighting it out for the respective national titles as they entered onto the final lap.
With the field coming into view of the finish it was clear that the bunch sprint would have to settle where the medals would be heading. Shaw launched her sprint early with the prevailing tailwind and would not be passed. Scotia Series winner Heather Shanks (North Argyll CC) would come to take the senior silver medal, with Studio Velo’s Rebecca Saunderson the bronze medal.
Millie Thomson (Deeside Thistle) became the junior champion, with Beatrix Kiehlmann taking the silver and Evie White (Alba Development RT) the bronze.
The Vet 40 title headed to Christina Mackenzie (Stirling Bike Club) – an excellent ride by the ultra-endurance specialist who was able to stay with the main field into the final lap. Zosia Martin (Torvelo) claimed silver, with Julianna Rourke (Edinburgh RC) the bronze. While Fiona Cockburn (Torvelo) took home the Veteran 50 title – claiming her first Scottish national title.
After claiming the criterium title earlier this season, Shaw was ecstatic to add another national title to her palmares, and said after:
“It’s pretty amazing, it was a good race as well a good circuit. It started off pretty tough to begin with but came down to the sprint, it was pretty cool.
The tactic from the Alba Development Road Team of making the race hard worked, with Shaw taking the Senior title and teammate Evie White claiming bronze in the junior race. Shaw confirmed as much, saying:
“The plan from the team was to make the race as hard as possible, it didn’t work with the attack on the early climb, but it worked out in the end.
The national champions medals and jerseys were presented by Scottish Cycling Board Member Nigel Holl, a massive thanks from Scottish Cycling to the volunteers that committed their time to help support the running of the event. Without volunteers, bike races simply wouldn't happen.
If you wish to volunteer at future events, then please do get in touch with Scottish Cycling, by emailing us email@example.com
Scottish National Women’s Road Race Champs - Top 10
- Eilidh Shaw (Alba Development RT) – Senior Champion
- Heather Shanks (North Argyll CC) – Senior Silver
- Millie Thomson (Deeside Thistle CC) – Junior Champion
- Rebecca Saunderson (Studio Velo) – Senior Bronze
- Beatrix Kiehlmann (Royal Albert CC) – Junior Silver
- Evie White (Alba Development RT) – Junior Bronze
- Ailsa McLagan (Saint Piran) - Senior
- Arianne Holland (Alba Development RT) – Senior
- Anna Murgatroyd (Vanelli-Project GO) – Senior
- Christina Mackenzie (Stirling BC) – Veteran 40 Champion