With the rain clearing just as the riders took to the start line, changing road conditions, and particular focus on the cobbled climb of Michaelgate would prove to make for an anxious race.
As the flag dropped, and the neutral car pulled away, a crash immediately devastated the peloton. With over a-dozen riders involved, many more were held up and forced to chase. Isabel Darvill, Maddie Howden (RP Vision), and Elizabeth Bennett (LIV-Epic) were caught up in the chaos, but luckily all came away unscathed.
With a teammate up the road, Shaw patrolled the from of the bunch, along with Lauren Dolan and Jess Roberts (LIV-Epic). As the gap swayed from 20s to 50s throughout the first four laps, it seemed as though the split was going to happen at any moment, but to Dolan’s angst, it didn’t…
“Every time it split over the top with about 12 riders, and I was in it every time, but DROPS had a rider up the road so were preventing any chase or split to stay away, so the main bunch always got back on about 2/3 miles after the climb.”
It was with two laps to go, that Shaw’s race came to an abrupt end, colliding with road furniture at high speed, and ending her day in hospital. Now with only two teammates left in the peloton, Durrell’s chances of survival were diminishing, as several other teams bag to prosper from her lack of protection at the front of the chase. With one lap to go, the catch was made, and with only 20 or so riders realistically left in contention, the result was up in the air.
The final ascent of Michaelgate proved the relentless toll the cobbled climb had taken on the riders over the past 8 laps. Having ridden a great race to that point, the Epic riders couldn’t quite match the pace of Alice Barnes (DROPS), and she stormed away from the remaining peloton to take a great solo victory.