The third week of this year’s Tour Series saw the men of the Bradwell Abbey based Madison-Genesis pro racing team suffer from multiple crashes at both the Croydon and Canary Wharf races but it was 17 year old Charlotte Broughton of the Corley Cycles-Drops RT who put in the star ride of the week in round 3 of the Matrix Fitness women’s Grand Prix series at Croydon.
Although lining up against many vastly more experienced riders – in all three of this year’s Matrix GP rounds the 60 plus fields have included many Commonwealth, World and Olympic medallists including London 2012 Golden Girls Dani King and Laura Trott – the very young Corley Cycles riders have never been overawed.
At the Motherwell race Charlotte had been in the leading group until the first mid-race sprint but had then been forced to retire with sore lungs. But that wasn’t a problem on the twists and turns of the Croydon circuit, possibly the most technical course of the year.
Always in the leading group that formed very early on that was made up of all the regular top riders including series leader Nikki Juniper - who won both mid-race sprints – Charlotte, whose background is on the track and racing mountain bikes, made sure that she was always handily placed after each sprint to cover any attempts to break away at the front.
Eventual race winner Charlotte Joiner (Team WNT) used her technical track skills to open a small gap that quickly pulled her away from the rest of the leading group but, coming out of the final corner Charlotte pressed hard on her pedals to push for second place but was just pipped on the line and had to settle for fourth place. Still her best performance of the year.
Corley’s Andrew Paine, whose been helping co-ordinate the women’s team this year, said after the race: “Simply put, Charlotte had a cracking race tonight. After getting away with that front group she was in a great position and that really made her race. Yes she dropped off a bit and may have struggled a little bit towards the middle of the race but then she dug her heels back in, got stuck back into the middle of that leading bunch and then into the final sprint she got onto Nikki Juniper’s wheel, The wheel to get onto, and I reckon if she hadn’t been on Junior gears then she might have even got second”.
Corley Cycles-Drops RT are now 6th overall in the team competition for the Matrix Fitness GP series.
The men of the Tour Series lined up for the start of their race soon after the winner’s podium celebrations for the women’s racing had finished. Madison’s Mike Northey was an early crash victim as the rider in front of him twitched to his right at one of the circuit’s pinch points.
And, bizarrely, team-mate Tom Scully was later brought down in exactly the same way and at the same point on the circuit! Matt Cronshaw was the fourth Madison-Genesis faller on the night. But as team manager Roger Hammond later said; “It shows just how tough these guys are, to have four fallers in one race when every second counts and we still got second team overall on the night”.
At the front of the race a group of five had formed with the Madison pairing of Tom Stewart – successfully chasing points for the Sprinters jersey – and Tobyn Horton flying the flag for the city’s number 1 race team.
But although it appeared that this five would contest the race finish Stewart over-cooked a corner and crashed on his own. That left Horbyn alone fighting off Kristian House and race winner Marcin Bialoblocki but, as he admitted after the race, Tobyn had used up too much energy in the early skirmishes as he’d helped Stewart back into the lead of the Sprinters Points competition and so had to be happy with his 3rd place overall.
Madison went into Thursday’s race at Canary Wharf with just a two point lead in the Tour Series but yet another early race incident nearly put paid to their Series hopes when Tom Stewart was caught up in another rider’s accident and simply had nowhere to go but into the barriers.
Roger Hammond took the brave decision to tell the other four team riders to hold back for Stewart as nearest rivals ONE Pro Cycling piled on at the front, determined to make the most of their rival’s bad luck.
But that decision ultimately backfired as, although the whole Madison team rode in team pursuit fashion to try to limit their losses, ONE applied such a fierce pace that it shattered the rest of the field and so when each team’s overall time was calculated, by staying together as a solid quintet, Madison-Genesis still finished second overall behind ONE Pro Cycling meaning they take the slenderest one point lead into the final two races this week.
Showing obvious pride in how his team had performed, Roger Hammond said: “It’s really unfortunate to have had the outcome of the race decided again by a crash - especially so early on - but that’s something we cannot control. I really hope the rider that hit the barriers is ok, it looked nasty. How Madison Genesis dealt with the situation though made me really proud of them, that was a really courageous effort and they can hold their heads high after that.”
Riders from both Corley Cycles-Drops RT and Madison-Genesis were in late night action at the evocative Jupiter London Nocturne on Saturday night in what has become one of the key dates in the UK racing calendar.
In the Schwalbe Elite Women’s Criterium Charlotte Broughton proved that her 4th place in Croydon wasn’t a one-off as she sprinted to 7th place at the end of nearly 40 minutes fast and crash strewn racing whilst in the men’s Santini Elite Criterium Tobyn Horton just failed to repeat his win from last year as Mark McNally proved to be the top placed Madison rider finishing in 4th place.