The city’s top racing teams – the Bradwell Abbey based Madison Genesis outfit and the women’s Drops Cycling Team – just failed to meet one of their early season targets when they were both denied outright series wins in the televised Tour Series and Matrix Fitness Grand Prix.
And in the case of Drops, they looked like they’d win the Matrix GP series until the very last 500 metres at the end of six hard races.
At Stevenage, Drops’ ace in the pack Alice Barnes put in another dominant performance, just as she had done the previous weekend at the London Nocturne, and left all behind her to fight for second place.
Alice’ Drops team-mates Rebecca Durrell and Laura Massey outwitted the rest of the peloton to take second and third place.
Another team win at Croydon – the team’s fourth Matrix GP team win of the year – meant going into the Portsmouth race they had a massive 56 point lead over the 2014 and 2015 champions Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa.
And that’s how things looked until the very end of last Thursday’s nearly 48 minutes hard fought racing.
Barnes missed the final race as she started her preparation for this week’s Aviva Women’s Tour but, with a lone rider away at the front of the race, Drops riders for the night were grouped together in exactly the right place as the laps counted down.
Into the final lap and, although fighting for second place overall on the night, Drops filled the first, second and fourth positions at the front of the peloton as they chased eventual race winner, 17 year old Jessica Roberts.
But on a difficult turn at the bottom of the circuit, Rebecca Durrell crashed and in the mayhem and caused pandemonium among the pack.
The Podium Ambition riders saw their chance and, together, took the night’s team win to repeat their successes in previous years to make it a hat-trick of series wins.
Madison riders struck out in Stevenage but held on to second place, and came away from Portsmouth just seven points behind the leaders.
But their efforts began to take their toll in the final race and although Alex Blain led Felix English across the line for Madison’s first 1-2 of the 2016 Series, the combined efforts of those front two backed up by their third and fourth counting riders meant they just missed out on a third team win of the year – and possible overall victory – by less than a minute.