Report – London Nocturne Women’s Crit


Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours) rode away from her rivals in the Women’s Criterium at the London Nocturne

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Report – London Nocturne Women’s Crit

Saturday 6 June | from – Gordon Wiseman

Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) proved once again in Saturday evening’s Schwalbe Elite Women’s Criterium that, if she’s allowed to open a gap at the front of a race, then there’s very little anyone in the UK women’s race scene who can do much to stop her.

Another field of nearly 80 riders lined up for arguably the top women’s crit of the year and once again the organisers – the Face Partnership – had drawn some of the sport’s top names including 2010 Commonwealth Games road race champion Rochelle Gilmore and her Wiggle-Honda team-mate British Crit champion Eileen Roe, to the race.

But the rider with Number 1 on her back was last year’s winner and current Matrix Fitness Grand Prix series leader Nikki Juniper (Team Giordana Triton) and after some of the gutsy performances she’s already shown on British roads this year it was evident she wasn’t going to give up her crown easily.

From the very start the Pearl Izumi riders showed they had the winner’s spoils very much in mind as they threw different riders off the front in an effort to draw out the top names with Gabby Shaw the first to drive the pink, black and white jerseys to the front of the race.


That caused problems for some very early on in the race with one accident bringing Nikki Juniper down but, after taking a lap out she re-joined the race and despite her obvious injuries was soon back in the thick of the action.

Eileen Roe was another to hit the deck. Just as the riders were starting their seventh lap with Clemence Copie now leading the Pearl Izumi challenge, the field spread right across the tight Smithfield circuit and as one rider tried to slip inside Roe she got too close to the barrier and cause a three rider crash. Roe was able to re-join and, like Juniper, made her way to the pits and after a lap out also re-joined the fray.

The Pearl Izumi plan soon paid dividends as Katie Archibald hit the front but with ten laps gone, although the chasing group that included riders such as Roe, Juniper, Louise Mahe (IKON Mazda) and Juniper’s team-mate Grace Garner tried to stop the flood that is Archibald, the former Team Pursuit World Champion was slowly and inextricably pulling away from the rest of the field.

With 30 minutes racing finished and just 5 laps to the end of the race Archibald led the front group by 40seconds and, lapping at around 1min 30secs a lap, she increased her lead at the finish to nearly a minute, raising her arms in salute of her efforts as she crossed the finishing line after just over 38 minutes racing. Another Archibald tour de force.

Behind her a battle royal was being fought out for second place which Eileen Roe just took over Nikki Juniper as they crossed the line. Charlotte Broughton (Corley Cycles-Drops RT) sprinted to an excellent 7th place with experienced observers asking what she’d have been able to do if she hadn’t been sprinting on junior gears.


Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) – “That was great, the crowds were, again, so noisy tonight! I had really difficulty hearing by DS shout out the time gaps so I wasn’t sure if the gap I had was 15 or 50 seconds and that made it difficult to gauge my efforts. It felt like I was attacking myself sometimes!

“I’m probably not the most successful rider when it comes to bunch kicks so I know I’ve got to work off counter attacks. We started the race with a plan to fire riders off the front to make the other teams work to bring us back and that meant we were never in a position of having to chase others, they were always chasing us.

“That’s one of the advantages we’ve got with the depth we have in our team. We’ve got five riders and every one of us can make the legs hurt of all our competitors. And that includes making my legs hurt as well!

“I think that’s made up for my crash last year when I was in the lead. And that means I can sleep peacefully tonight!”

Eileen Roe (Wiggle-Honda) – “I was very unlucky being brought down in that accident so early on in the race. It shouldn’t really have happened as the other rider tried to come up inside me and there just wasn’t enough room between me and the barrier. But there were other accidents in the neutralised zone as well. I think with the race being delayed by about 30 minutes made everyone a bit nervous.

“I got back to the pits and was a bit angry. Everyone was telling me ‘it’ll be OK, you’ll get lap out’ but I was angry, it shouldn’t have happened. Maybe at the end of the race in the final sprint but not so early on.

“But getting second place after all that was really great. Especially as I’d lost my top three gears so was really starting to spin out so as we hit the finishing straight I was always starting to spin out of gears.

“And I just love coming here. It’s a long way to come but the atmosphere is just so loud. The noise as you hit the finishing straight is amazing. Back at the pits I couldn’t really hear my coach telling me what the time gaps were because of the noise. But that’s what we come for, to race in front of a crown like that is a privilege”.

VeloUK wasn’t able to speak with Nikki Juniper (Team Giordana Triton) after the race as she had to seek medical attention after doing her podium duties. In her early race incident she was brought down in another rider’s accident and suffered a bad injury to the back of her head and multiple arm and leg abrasions. From that point onwards she was racing on sheer adrenaline alone.

At this point it isn’t known if she’ll be fit enough to race in the last two rounds of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix series in Peterborough and Bath and defend her series lead.

1 Katie Archibald Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International 38:36.6
2 Eileen Roe Wiggle-Honda
3 Nicola Juniper Team Giordana Triton
4 Becky Raybould Null
5 Rochelle Gilmore Wiggle-Honda
6 Emily Kay Team USN
7 Charlotte Broughton Corley Cycles Drops RT
8 Henrietta Colborne Bonito Squadra Corse
9 Katie Curtis Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International
10 Annasley Park Team Giordana Triton
11 Lucy Chittenden Bonito Squadra Corse
12 Jennifer George Les Filles Race Team
13 Gabriella Durrin Neon Velo Trek
14 Gabriella Shaw Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International
15 Louise Mahe IKON Mazda
16 Rebecca Mackay Aprire Bicycles / HSS Hire
17 Grace Garner Team Giordana Triton
18 Lydia Boylan Team WNT
19 Abigail Dentus team de ver cycles
20 Clemence Copie Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International
21 Jessie Walker RST Racing Team
22 Emily Nelson Team USN
23 Bethany Hayward Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International

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