Published: 23 June 2018
Written by: Sportsbeat
Dame Sarah Storey drew on years of medal-laden experience as she held her nerve to win stage one of the Tour of the Reservoir.
The 40-year-old, the most successful female British Paralympian of all time, helped her team Storey Racing continue their fine start to the HSBC UK | Women’s Road Series, seeing off the spirited challenge of Bianchi Dama’s Emma Cockcroft.
As competitors took off from Edmundbyers, in County Durham, for the first of two days of racing in the north east, Storey set the initial pace – and she would also go on to cross the finish line first.
Soon, Jo Tindley broke away but as riders passed the reservoir, the NJC-Biemme-Echelon rider was hauled back in.
Three's a crowd
The next competitors who chanced their arm would do so more decisively, with Storey, Cockcroft and Charmaine Porter, of Team OnForm, pulling clear, with Tindley and Fiona Hunter Johnston also attempting to drag themselves into the mix.
At the end of the first lap of the Reservoir Circuit, the leading trio enjoyed a gap of one minute and four seconds, and continued to cruise comfortably ahead of the peloton.
Leah Dixon was one chasing rider that broke clear of the main group to give chase, as did Veloflow’s Illi Gardner, but Storey, Cockcroft and Porter remained relatively untroubled.
That was, up until the latter stages of the Blanchford Circuit, when Porter eventually fell away on one of the course’s biggest climbs to leave Storey and Cockcroft out in front.
The pair eventually enjoyed a lead of 1min 18sec over a five-strong chasing pack and were virtually neck-and-neck as the race snaked back onto one final lap of the Reservoir Circuit.
Cockcroft nosed in front but with 200 metres to go, the experienced Storey made her move and stole a march before easing home to claim victory.
Behind them, Porter made a late attack in an attempt to wrestle back control of third place but she was unable to sustain her challenge and the final place on the podium was claimed by NJC-Biemme-Echelon’s Nikki Juniper, who also finished third in both of the opening two rounds of the HSBC UK | Women’s Road Series.
1. Dame Sarah Storey (Team Storey)
2. Emma Cockcroft (Bianchi Dama)
3. Nikki Juniper (NJC-Biemme-Echelon)