In stark contrast to Round 1 of the Junior National Road Series, riders were greeted with glorious sunshine and a hot, dry day at the Bovington Tank Training base near Dorchester.
Racing started early with a strong field of riders, including the current World Champion Zoe Backstedt, competing in the Junior and U23’s National Road Series Women’s race.
As the early mist disappeared and the temperature started to rise it was Libby Smithson (AWOL Worx Galliard) and Lowri Richards (Backstedt Bike Performance RC) who fired the first shots, attacking early in the first of eleven laps around the extraordinary 6.66km circuit. The break was soon chased down, with the bunch then staying together for another lap as the riders felt their way around the circuit and familiarised themselves with the parcour.
The trio of Awen Roberts (Liv Cycling Club), Lucy Gadd (Storey Racing) and Zoe Backstedt (Acrog-Tormans) went on the attack on the first climb of lap three, turning into a headwind at the top with a 20 second gap. The bunch briefly fractured as riders tried to chase down the break but by the end of lap three the trio had extended the gap to 1 minute 3 seconds.
By the time the leading group began their final lap they had started to catch the tail enders and it wasn’t long before they caught the main bunch. Initially deciding to sit back and sprint to a finish behind the group, they sat in behind the them before race Commissaires neutralised the peloton and allowed the leaders to pass and lap the bunch.
As the trio exited the final bend it was Gadd who made the move, knowing she had to go early she surprised the other two by launching her sprint at the top of the slight downhill finishing straight. It proved the decisive move as Backstedt, with the slight disadvantage of racing on junior gears, couldn’t match her jump and had to settle for second place with Roberts finishing half a wheel behind in third.
The result was doubly satisfying for Gadd having been narrowly defeated by Backstedt at the Castle Combe Easter Classic race the previous day.
The peloton went on to complete another lap of the circuit finally crossing the line 12:26 minutes behind the winning group.
The Junior Men's National Road Series race got off to a fast start in the warm afternoon sunshine. Josh Golliker (trainSharp Development Team) made his intent clear from the offset, after puncturing on the first lap he soon chased down the bunch, riding through them and then, along with Cai Curtis-Roberts (Rhyl Cycling Club) who went on the attack during lap two of the sixteen putting an early 10 seconds into a small chasing group of three riders.
More attacks ensued for the next two laps before a more cohesive attempt successfully opened up a 1:06 minute gap during the fifth lap, with Golliker and Roberts joined by Fred Meredith (J2 Holohan Coaching Race Team), Finn McHenry (J2 The Cycling Academy), Jude Chamberlain (J2 Zappi Junior Race Team), Mark Lightfoot (FJ2 Tofauti Everyone Active), Rhys Thomas (FJ3 Maindy Flyers CC) and Ben Wiggins (Fensham Howes - MAS Design).
The lead continued to change as the breakaway group worked together to distance themselves from the bunch, by the halfway point, lap eight, the break had grown to 2:38 on the peloton with Alex Franks (VC Londres) between the two groups attempting to bridge the gap and join the attack.
Sensing an opportunity Golliker launched a solo at attack early into lap eight and with just under half the race still remaining soon opened up a small gap. Now alone and lapping at sub 9:30 minutes for the 4.1 mile circuit, Golliker started to pull away and by lap ten had a gap of 36 seconds on the six chasers with the bunch 2:38 minutes back.
Golliker’s lead continued to extend and by the fifteenth and penultimate lap was out in front by 1:38 on five chasers with a further three at 2:10 and the main bunch at 3 minutes behind. Having been out solo for the best part of 50km Golliker was able to ease slightly and drop his pace for the final lap, crossing the line unchallenged 1:21 minutes ahead of Meredith, with Wiggins in third, a bike length further back and Lightfoot in forth.