Melissa Lowther continued her strong form in 2017 as she took victory in the latest HSBC | National Women’s Road Series race at the Tour of the Reservoir.
This weekend sees the women compete across two days in the north-east with the weekend representing round seven of nine in the HSBC | National Women’s Road Series.
And it was Team Breeze’s Lowther who came away victorious on day one of the Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir, pulling away in the final metres to take the solo win ahead of Team WNT’s Hayley Simmonds with Drops rider Laura Massey in third.
That followed on from her third place finish in Wednesday’s Otley Grand Prix while it was one better than the runners up spot she achieved on stage one of last year’s Tour of the Reservoir.
Under sunny skies, the early breakaway came courtesy of three riders in Molly Patch (Fusion FT Fierlan), Emma Lewis (Aspire Bicycles/HSS Hire) and Sian Botteley (Cycle Team OnForm).
At one point they were able to extend their lead to approaching a minute on the second lap before the chasing pack was able to reel them back in.
That left a large group of nine riders with an 11-second gap over the rest of the field as the race showed signs of breaking up.
Eight push on
After her earlier efforts, it appeared that the rapid pace had caught up with Botteley as she dropped off the back of the leaders with two laps remaining, by which point the lead was up to four minutes from the chasing peloton.
All taking their turns at the front, the remaining eight continued to push the pace although sensing the danger, the peloton – including series leader Chanel Mason of Storey Racing – responded to bring the lead down to two minutes, 20 seconds approaching one lap to go.
Already leading the team series standings, Drops were looking well positioned again for further points with the duo of Hannah Payton and Massey among the breakaway eight while Team WNT also had a further two in the mix in Simmonds and Natalie Grinczer with Storey Racing’s Lizzie Banks also prominent.
Lowther makes her move
It was Simmonds and Team Breeze rider Lowther who looked to make the next move, pushing out ahead by a minute with Massey not out of contention.
In the end though it turned into a two-way back between Simmonds and Lowther with the latter riding away to win by 11 seconds.
Massey was next to cross in third, completing the podium 3:26 minutes back.