Eileen Roe took her first win of 2012, sprinting to victory in Round Three of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series in Colchester. The Fife rider beat American Ruth Winder and Alice Barnes to the finish line on Colchester’s High Street to make it three different winners from race races in the Series.
Round Three began in heavy rain, which relented in the closing stages of the thirty minute race leaving a select dozen clear in front, from which Roe sprinted clear on the gentle rise to the finish, leaving Winder and Barnes battling it out for second.
USA National Team rider Winder had been one of the bright spots of the race, being involved in the action throughout on her first appearance in the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series, eventually claiming second.
Behind the younger of the Barnes sisters took third for Twenty3c.co.uk – Orbea with Laura Massey in fourth. Corrine Hall’s fifth place moves her up into second in the overall individual standings, ten points off the lead.
Simpson’s extended Series lead was guaranteed after Hannah Barnes suffered a rear wheel puncture early on, dropping out of the leading group to eventually come home 21st, one place outside of the points.
The Matrix Fitness – Prendas came home in sixth to claim valuable points, also winning the Sprints competition for the third round in succession, giving her a 13 point lead in that classification.
With Simpson’s teammates Hannah Walker and Penny Rowson securing top 11 positions, Matrix Fitness – Prendas were the best scoring team in Colchester, moving them onto 108 points and a joint lead in the team standings with Node4 – Giordana Racing with two rounds to go.
“This is my first year riding the Series and my first round was last week in Peterborough,” said winner Eileen Roe. “My team mate Hannah Barnes won last year and said how good it was so I really needed to get involved as I love crit racing. It’s on the TV as well which is even better as that doesn’t happen much in women’s racing.
“Hannah and I were racing for four hours in Holland yesterday in the rain. We drove back last night, got to bed at two in the morning so I wasn’t expecting anything special tonight. But you always ride better with a race in your legs and I was more energized but I do need my bed now!”
Talking about the race, Series leader Annie Simpson said;
“It was really hard tonight especially with the weather. I just tried to keep it really fast and get the bunch down. Unfortunately Hannah Barnes went out, who is my main rival, so that helped me, but it was a really great night and it was great to see Eileen win. She’s on a Pro Team and it’s great to have those riders supporting this.”
Looking ahead to next week’s races, Simpson continued;
“Woking next week is a really good course, it’s got a lot of corners like Oxford which I won so I’d like to do well there. Stoke-on-Trent is where our sponsors Matrix Fitness are from so we want to perform there for them. That is like our home round and our team has won the past two rounds there so we feel we need to keep that up. I am really looking forward to it though.
“I still find it weird that I used to ride for others and now they’re working for me. It’s a different kind of pressure but I’ve progressed a lot and I can’t not be happy with how it’s going.”
Highlights of Round Three can be seen as a part of The Halfords Tour Series on ITV4 at 8pm on Wednesday 29th May. Round Three of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series takes place at 17:30 in Colchester on Thursday 7th June.
The Halfords Tour Series and Johnson Health Tech GP Series are sister events to The Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, which takes place every September. To take on the challenge of riding a Tour of Britain route in a Tour Ride, head to www.tourride.co.uk to find our more and to register for your challenge!