The 2015 British Cycling Women’s Road Series begins on 11 April with the two-day Alexandra Women’s Tour of the Reservoir.
Following its inaugural edition in 2014, the Alexandra Women’s Tour of the Reservoir has expanded to a two-day format for 2015, echoing that of the men’s Elite Road Series event taking place on the same weekend.
The event is the first of eight rounds of elite women’s racing running from April to July. After the Tour of the Reservoir, the series encompasses the Hillingdon Women’s Grand Prix, The Curlew Cup, The Otley Grand Prix, the Stafford Kermesse, the Essex Giro 2-Day and the Ryedale Grand Prix.
How the series works
Riders are awarded points at each race in the series dependant on their finishing position - the higher the position the more points. The rider with the most points at the end of the eight races wins the title of Women’s Road Series champion.
The 2014 British Cycling Women’s Road Series saw Nicola Juniper begin her assault on the series title with a win at the Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir and Juniper returns to defend her title in new colours as part of a five-rider Team Giordana - Triton squad.
Juniper has a win under her belt already this season, taking top honours at the first of the CC Hackney Primavera Circuit Races at the end of March.
Second-placed in Durham last year, Alexie Shaw is also back with a new team, IKON – Mazda, with eight riders making the starting line-up.
Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International has an enviable list of talent on show for the opening event of the series, with Joanna Rowsell, Katie Archibald and Ciara Horne the headline names in a strong eight-rider line-up that also includes 2014 series runner-up Gabriella Shaw.
Archibald was a force to be reckoned with in the 2014 series, taking wins at the Cheshire Classic and Curlew Cup and finishing the series third overall despite only riding three events. After a big season on the track riding for Great Britain Cycling Team, the Tour of the Reservoir will mark Archibald’s competitive return to the road.
Wiggle Honda brings just two riders to Northumberland but will make quality count with Olympic and former world champion Dani King and Anna Christian making the start list.
King made the decision to focus on the road back in October 2014 but a serious accident a month later left her with a collapsed lung and a long period of rehabilitation, the Tour of the Reservoir marking her return to racing.
Matrix Fitness are splitting their energies between the domestic and continental duties, with Jessie Walker, Penny Rowson, Elinor Barker and Lucy Shaw providing their challenge.
Both Walker and Rowson return from European duties, Walker having ridden Gent-Wevelgem and Rowson tackling Omloop Het Neiuwsblad, while Barker switches from track to road after winning team pursuit silver for Great Britain at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Paris.
The Alexandra Women’s Tour of the Reservoir takes place over two days in the area around the majestic Derwent reservoir in Northumberland.
Stage one on 11 April comprises 13 laps of a kerrnesse circuit at the eastern end of the reservoir, totalling 60 kilometres (37 miles).
The longer 90-kilometre (56 miles) stage two on 12 April will see four laps of an anti-clockwise circuit of the Derwent reservoir, starting near Carrick Corner and finishing on the reservoir dam road north east of Edmundbyers.
The area is renowned for its exposed moorland scenery and testing roads, with challenging weather conditions likely to play a part in the weekend’s action.
How to follow the race
- Racing starts at 9am on Saturday and Sunday at the reservoir dam road to the north east of Edmundbyers, Northumberland.
- A full race report and images will appear on the British Cycling website.