Drops riders recover to finish strong

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Drops Cycling Team finished on the podium in the Matrix Grand Prix in Redditch at the weekend.

With Drops defending their series lead many were looking to them to take the initiative but after the opening skirmishes, with the first of the mid-race Sprint laps to be contested.

But, as with the men’s Tour Series, the main focus of the Matrix GP is on team placings and Drops, with three riders in the top nine overall – Laura Massey, Rebecca Durrell and Annie Simpson - finished second team overall on the night and so take a commanding 16 point lead

After a second lap break of 13 riders had pulled away, an incident with a group of horses and riders brought a number of riders crashing to the ground leaving a reduced group to be left dangling off the front of the race as the main peloton bided their time until ready to force the pace.

Responding to the encouragement from her team car, Drops Sophie Coleman hit the pedals and opened a significant gap but that only encouraged the peloton – led by Team Breeze – to chase her down.

With Coleman up the road, her team-mates Laura Massey and Lucy Shaw could afford to let the others work but the powerful Juniper out foxed them all in the sprint leaving Massey in second and Shaw in fourth place as they crossed the finishing line.

>> The men in the Madison Genesis squad had races on consecutive nights in Redditch and then Aberystwyth, so it was flat-out racing for them followed by even faster road miles to give the riders the best chance of recovery between the racing.

On Thursday, the team raced cleverly to finish second on the night overall, reducing the gap to leaders JLT to just two points.

Tom Stewart proved again to be Madison’s go-to man of the Series 24 hours later, taking fourth place in the rain soaked end of race sprint that saw six riders covered by less than a second.

But even with Felix English – sixth – and Matt Cronshaw – tenth – supporting him, they couldn’t prevent JLT Condor increasing their overall lead to three points.