History: A look back at the 3 days of Bedford Stage Race

Jon Miles looks back at the history of the Three Days of Bedford Stage race as it approaches its 25th birthday

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History: A look back at the 3 days of Bedford Stage Race

2005 (3 day, a true international event with teams from Italy, Holland, Ireland, Malta and Germany as well as England, Scotland and Wales!): Emma Pooley in one of her first ever events finished 5th overall after finishing 5th in the ITT behind the TT and overall winner Anna Zugno, a former World Junior TT Champion who was riding for Nicole Cooke’s old team Safi – Pasta Zara Manhatten.

Also riding was Helen Wyman, who finished every stage no lower than 6th, but never higher than 3rd either, and finished 3rd overall. Fellow ‘cross riders Nikki Harris finished 9th overall, and Gabby Day was 24th. The biggest name for the future was Lizzie Armitstead, who as a junior finished down in 44th place, and also down there was Jo Rowsell again a junior in 29th place.

2006 was won by Jo Rowsell as a junior still, and Lizzie Armitstead (also still a junior) finished in 5th place with well known Multi-sport athlete Tanja Slater in 3rd and the older sister Emma Trott in 11th overall. Jo won 2 stages – the first TT at Keysoe and then a tough little TT at Millbrook Lizzie dominated the Sprint competition, winning all of them on the first day and just doing enough to prevent others catching her in the Millbrook stage. Jenney Derham almost stole the overall win from Jo by breaking away at Millbrook and just failed to get enough time and finished just 3 seconds down. Lizzie finished 3rd on the last stage.

2007, was won by Dutch rider Hege Linn Eie-Vatland from Edinburgh RC’s Pippa Handley in 2nd. Another name of note was Katie Colclough, who went on to have a short lived pro career in Holland and Belgium. Louise Mahe and Emma Trott (both still juniors) finished 9th and 10th.

2008 was won in a dominating fashion by Helen Wyman, with team mate Gabby Day in 2nd and another team mate in 3rd. Helen also smashed everyone in the hill points competition, finishing 1st or 2nd in all but 1 of the sprints. Of note, 2 riders Dani King, who finished 3rd in the opening road stage but failed to finish at Millbook, and also Corrine Hall who was 7th in the Keysoe stage but again DNF Millbrook.

2009 was won by Julie Cook, but of real note is that Dani King has picked up and finished 2nd overall, with Laura Trott arriving on the scene in 3rd overall and first junior. Laura won the last stage at Astwood with Dani King in 3rd on that stage. Laura also finished 4th in the TT stage. Oddly for a sprinter, the hill points comp was won easily by Laura Trott, winning all but 1 of the hills. Dani King was equal 2nd here too. Laura didn’t feature at all in the sprint comp!

2010 saw the emergence of Sarah Storey as a dominant rider where she won it from Dani King (2nd for the 2nd year in a row). Between both riders they won all the stages – the team won the TTT, and Sarah won the Individual TT, and Dani won both road stages. Lower down the results we find for the first time Hannah Barnes riding as a junior, and Nikki Juniper both inside the top 20 overall.

2011 Sarah Storey again dominated, winning the TTT and ITT and making sure no-one got away on the road stages, and even managed to get 2nd in the sprint at Millbrook. Winner of both road stages was junior Lucy Garner, who finished overall in 7th place, one place behind Hannah Barnes. Further down we again see Nikki Juniper, and also Molly Weaver making an appearance as a junior.
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2012 sees yet more of future GB stars emerge: Winner was Ciara Horne, and she was closely followed at just 1 second by Elinor Barker (junior), and Lucy Garner and Sarah Storey followed after that. Also in the top 10 are Amy Roberts, Corrine Hall, Molly Weaver, Helen Wyman. Ciara and Elinor traded blows all race, and Lucy came in 3rd in both road stages behind Ciara, who was breaking clear to close gaps on others staying away each time. Lucy won both hill and sprint points comps, and the main players were all of the named riders above!

2013 was won by Claire Galloway by just 2 seconds from Amy Hill and Amy Gornall (another of the Gornall dynasty!) with Molly Weaver in 4th. Ciara Horne failed to repeat her feats of the year before by finishing down in 11th. Another name making an appearance was Alice Barnes, down in 19th overall, and some of the other names previously mentioned are still there.

2014 saw another winner, but a familiar one: Nikki Juniper started her dominance of the UK scene in this year and it seemed to start here. She was 3rd, 6th (TTT), 1st, 2nd (TT) and 11th in the stages. 2 of the road stages were won by Grace Garner – younger sister matching older sister from a couple of years before. Grace also won both hill and sprint comps too!

2015 (3 day) is one of those years with few of the big names, no doubt due to the Tour of Yorkshire on the same weekend. But lurking down in the results as juniors were Megan Barker (sister of Elinor) and Henrietta Colbourne, a multiple TT champion as a junior. Perhaps in years to come we can revisit this list to see names coming out to be great?

2016 was dominated by the Polish based Planet X team with 4 of them in the top 5, won by Austrine Trebaite. Only junior Jessica Roberts in 2nd prevented a clean sweep, and she was backed up by team mates Elizabeth Bennett and Lauren Murphy behind the Poles. Perhaps some names for the future too?


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