London Nocturne – Women’s Race


20 year old Alice Barnes (Drops Cycling Team) destroyed the huge field that lined up for the women’s JLT Elite Criterium that featured in this year’s crowd pleasing London Nocturne

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London Nocturne – Women’s Race

from – Gordon Wiseman

20 year old Alice Barnes (Drops Cycling Team) destroyed the huge field that lined up for the women’s JLT Elite Criterium that featured in this year’s crowd pleasing Mr Porter London Nocturne, the now mainstay of the capital city’s racing calendar celebrating its tenth anniversary race.


This year being held around at 1.5km circuit under the shadow of St. Pauls Cathedral, many considered this to be a more technical and so demanding circuit than the old 1.1km tour around the iconic Smithfield market that’s been the home to the Nocturne in previous years.

From the very start, the strongest teams featuring in the Matrix Grand Prix series, Drops (Alice Barnes), Nikki Juniper (Team Ford Ecoboost) and Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa (Claire Rose and Grace Garner) powered away from the fast splintering field.

By the start of the third lap a large group of riders had detached themselves from the rest and in no time the Barnes, Rose, Garner and Juniper quartet had done even more damage at the front of the race.

In the what seemed like already ‘racing for fifth’ group of another 15 riders, the main three teams were well represented and Drops Lucy Shaw and Abi Van Twist were like team-mates of the other leading teams, not doing anything at the front of that group to pull their team-mates back.


With about twenty minutes gone Barnes suddenly pulled away from the front of the leading four and from that point no other rider had a chance as she left all behind her standing. “As we came onto the finishing straight I had a dig, looked behind me and saw no one was keeping up and so thought ‘now’s the time’ and so I just went from there” she explained breathlessly after the race.

Nikki Junpier – winner of the Nocturne in 2014 – told her side of the story; ‘I’d just done my turn on the front and saw Alice flash by. As I was still catching my breath there was nothing I could do when Alice went and that was that really”.

With her lead extending lap after lap, Barnes soon started lapping the third group of riders racing around the circuit whist Juniper and Rose seemed to have started to work together to hold their race for second knowing that any attempt to pull back the 20 year old was forlorn.

And regularly lapping at just over 2 minutes a lap – her quickest lap of the evening was timed at 1m 59s, over 4 ½ seconds quicker than the next fastest lap, that recorded by Grace Garner, Barnes was only a few hundred metres behind the Juniper/Rose duo as she took the chequered flag after 36 minutes of fast and furious racing.

The canny Juniper worked on the basis that she should have the jump on Rose and so determinedly stuck to her wheel and as the pair sprinted for second place that is exactly how that battle finished. So Juniper has now finished in every podium position in the last three years. … continued after advert


Lucy Shaw did all she was told to do by her team’s management and so was fresh enough to out-sprint the fast finishing Charlene Joiner (Team Ford Ecoboost) for fourth place leaving Grace Garner to frustratingly finish in sixth place despite her earlier efforts.

Alice Barnes (winner) – “I’m pretty happy with that, you can’t get better than first. But to do it in that style, I’m more than pretty proud of that. I felt really good through the race and the crowds were just amazing. The whole way round the course they were so loud. They were making so much noise I had no idea how much of a gap I had as I just couldn’t hear the commentator on the start/finish straight.

“It really was a case of just dig in and go as hard as I could. I didn’t expect to be able to win as I did. The four of us went away to start with and I just sort of went for it, a real do-or-die attack but it worked so, yes, it went quite well. And on being reminded that this was the sixth Family Barnes win at the London Nocturne: “Oh yes, it’s certainly great to add my name to the other Barnes wins. I’ll have to text her now to tell her!”

And what’s next? “I’ve got the Stevenage and Croydon rounds of the Matrix series then I start preparing for the Aviva Women’s Tour. And with my mum and dad having just moved to Kettering, the race finishes in what’s now my ‘home’ town and with Hannah racing in the Tour as well, that’s going to be great to be able to finish the race there”.

Nikki Juniper (second) – “To be honest, because of what happened at Stoke I was only concentrating on Grace and Claire because I thought they would try to do the double like they did there. So I didn’t expect Alice to attack like that so all credit to her. Technically she’s such a classy rider. When she went I’d just done a turn so when she went passed I was kind of stuffed.

“I clung onto Claire’s back wheel, I’ve so much respect of her as a rider and she she’s going really well this year. I knew we could drag each other round and once we knew Alice had gone we just worked together to race for second. I knew that, all being equal I should be able to out sprint her and so I positioned myself onto her back wheel for the final corner and took the sprint for second. I guess that’s just bike racing”.

Claire Rose (third) – “I knew I didn’t have the legs for the sprint coming to the line so I went for the long one and basically gave Nikki the best lead-out ever. After enjoying my win at Stoke this was really good racing. All the teams went hard from the gun but that’s what you want in crits like this, it makes it fast, makes it furious. I never raced at Smithfield but this is a really technical circuit and it was the perfect place for Alice to show what a brilliant rider she is on technical circuits like this.”

1. Alice Barnes Drops Cycling Team
2. Nicola Juniper Team Ford Ecoboost
3. Claire Rose Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
4. Lucy Shaw Drops Cycling Team
5. Harriet Owen Matrix Fitness p/b Corley Cycles
6. Charline Joiner Team Ford Ecoboost
7. Grace Garner Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
8. Lauren Creamer Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa
9. Henrietta Colbourne Team Ford Ecoboost
10. Neah Evans Glasgow Whlrs



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