Feature: Beth Crumpton – Two Paths to Follow

VeloUK chatted with Storey Racing’s Beth Crumpton during stages 3 and 4 of this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour as the race made its way around many of the roads familiar to the Redditch born rider.

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Feature: Beth Crumpton – Two Paths to Follow

from – Gordon Wiseman

VeloUK chatted with Storey Racing’s Beth Crumpton during stages 3 and 4 of this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour as the race made its way around many of the roads familiar to the Redditch born rider. Riding for the only fully ‘national’ women’s team in this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour, Storey Racing’s Beth Crumpton was very focussed on her opportunities in stages 3 and 4 of the race as these covered many of her regular training roads and she was keen to put this local knowledge to her – and her team-mates – advantage.

There were two other British registered teams competing in the OVO Tour – Trek-Drops and WNT-Rotor – but they are very much regular features in the Women’s World Tour and top European races.

The highly visible gold-trimmed red, white and blue jerseys of Storey Racing were clearly seen mixing it with their World Tour competitors and hadn’t held back from trying to get into whatever moves were going up the road on all stages of the race. Neah Evans solo ride into a ninth-place finish in the frantic sprint into Worcester, jumping from wheel to wheel as the double Scottish Commonwealth Games medallist kept pace with the world’s best sprinters being testament to the team’s ‘never say die’ attitude.

Managed by Olympian Barney Storey and with the experienced Paul Freeman sitting in the directeur sportif’s seat in the team’s lead car, in international racing terms the OVO Tour came at the end of an incredibly hectic few weeks of racing for the British team that started with the Tour de Yorkshire at the start of May.

In National terms, that period included team and individual win’s in the Tour Series (Storey Racing finished second overall in the highly competitive Women’s Team competition), quality, overall wins for Becks Durrell and Neah Evans in the Lincoln GP and CiCLE Classic and, for good measure, Ejay Harris’ taking the South Region’s Circuit Championships in the Sunday before the OVO Tour started.

Off road  – a familiar sight in the winter at cross races

And although there was a mix of riders coming into and out of the Storey Racing line-up, all those races featured a very small, four or five strong, nucleolus of riders that included the 24-year old Crumpton throughout. Mainly known for her prowess off-road – Beth is the reigning National Trophy cyclo-cross champion and has represented her country at both World Championships and Commonwealth Games in ‘cross and MTB – the Redditch born rider is equally determined in road events and mixes her racing with full-time studies for a BA Honours in Sport Business Management.

VeloUK – You’ve just finished stage 3 of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and you were mixing it in the front group. How does that make you feel?

Beth Crumpton – Yeah, I think I surprised myself but it shows I’m capable of riding with some of the best riders in the world and that boosts my confidence a lot, especially after some hard climbing today. It wasn’t easy in that last 25kms, the big teams were properly giving it to each other, in and out of the gutter and from left to right so there was some really aggressive racing out there.

VeloUK – Once that group had got over the final climb of the day riders were trying to get off the front but no one was allowing anything to happen.

Beth – No, I think some of the big teams were clearly thinking of the bigger picture, like riding for the GC, so everyone was trying to get one or 2 seconds here or there as well as going for the bonuses so that’s what made it all so aggressive. Every single team was really giving it full beans, everyone at full gas for the whole of that last 25km. Some of the teams were only looking to set it up for the sprint, some just looking to get someone away to win solo.

In the end, it did come down to the sprint and I just sprinted to the line as fast as I could. I was the only one of the team in that front group so I was just surfing from wheel to wheel as I didn’t have any responsibility for any of the others, just to pick up as many places as possible, thinking about hopefully getting the team some points and me a good result as well – in the 151km Atherton to Royal Leamington Spa stage Beth finished in 35th place in an over 45-strong front group, right up there with the likes of Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM), the Boels Dolmans pair of World Champion Chantal Blaak and Christine Majerus and Commonwealth Games RR Champion Chloe Hoskins (Alé Cipollini). By Beth’s self-confessed modest standards, in that company she more than got “the good result” she was hoping for.




VeloUK – Stage 3 was the longest stage of this year’s race and also many say it’ll be the hardest. Being right in the middle of the race, how does that make you feel, pleased with your performance?

Beth – Oh yeah, I’m really pleased. There were some really hard climbs today and in the last climb at Burton Dassett there was a head/cross wind at the top and that really strung everyone out and you just had to really work hard just to hold onto the next wheel. And then off the top of that it was very, very technical. We were in the small second group, chasing back onto the front group and everyone was pretty keen to get back. And when we got back, then the attacks started going. We stayed away from the group chasing behind us and then it was full on all the way to the finishing line. And we’ve still got some hard days to come.

VeloUK – They say Colwyn Bay is going to be particularly difficult.

Beth – So I’ve heard. But even before that, tomorrow it’s my home stage. There’s a nice big climb early on’ – the 7.9% slopes of Snowshill – ‘but I think it’ll probably come back together after that and then there’s the run-in to Worcester and maybe another sprint there. I will know most of these roads as I train on them week-in and week-out and that’ll give me a bit of an advantage as I’ll know what’s coming up ahead. And because of that I’ll be able to help the other Storey girls by using our race radios, letting them know when we need to move up the bunch and things like that. But in the last stage to Colwyn Bay there’s something like a 7km climb’ – the 1st Cat Nant Gwynant – ‘and that’s going to be a bit brutal at least. The GC? It may not be decided until then, it really depends on what the bigger teams are planning.” – as Beth expected, the race into Worcester finished in a bunch sprint with the “home” county rider sitting inside the top 65. The final 123km leg into Colwyn Bay was as tough as Beth expected and she soloed across the finishing line about 90s behind her team-mate Evans.

VeloUK – You go from riding in Redditch in the Tour Series and in just a couple of weeks to something like the OVO Tour and five days intense racing against some of the world’s best riders. How do you manage the mental and physical approach of coping with those two extremes?

Beth – I guess you could say I’ve not had the best preparation for a five-day stage race, racing the Tour Series for two to 3 weeks, 45 minute crits two to 3 times per week. Some of these stages are the longest rides I’ve ever done, I’m just not used to doing these sorts of distances. And with and against some of the best riders in the world! Obviously the top end will be there from the crits, I’ve got good explosive power and I guess this week I’ve shown that my sprint is there. But in between those Tour Series races I was putting in some long rides, working with my coach Oli Beckinsale to find a good balance and as I love racing my bike, I think that makes it easier to deal with the mental side of things.

I worked with Oli when I was still mountain biking and I’m still working with him now for my ‘cross. He’s raced both road and ‘cross like me so I work really well with him and we find a really good balance with my ‘cross training and making sure I’ve got the legs for the road as well – a three-time Olympian between 2000 and 2008, Beckinsale has all the multi-discipline experience Beth wants and needs to tap into if she’s to achieve her long-term aims.
… continued after advert



VeloUK – What do you see yourself doing in the future, do you want to continue mixing your racing across a number of disciplines?

Beth – Yeah, definitely. Obviously I love ‘cross and that’s going to be my ‘target’ discipline, that’s where I really want to pursue a professional career. It’s where I started racing when I was about 12 years old. It’s another ‘just’ 45-minute race but this time it’s off-road. There are so many riders who mix two disciplines, especially in the women’s peloton, that I think I can find a happy medium and programme. Especially with ‘cross and the road as the two programmes are run at different times of the year. And as I’ve said, I just love bike racing so I think I’d be bored training for just half of the year! I like just having a few weeks off here and there between the two parts of the season, that’s exactly how I like riding my bike.

And there’s so many top women riders who manage both careers like Canyon’s Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Boels Christine Majerus and Marianne Vos. They all ride so many races in the ‘cross World Cup calendar and they’re some of the top, most amazing road riders in the world right now as well.

VeloUK – In the last few week’s there’s a core of the team that’s been pretty much together throughout. How is the team dynamic holding together?

Beth – We’re all really happy and we just get on really, really well’ – at this point in our conversation Becks Durrell burst out laughing! but Beth continued ‘and that more than helps. We know each other’s strengths and just know that we can tell each other exactly how we’re feeling, be really open with each other. And that helps when you’re travelling everywhere as a team and then having to get stuck into the racing. But when we do, we just want to get stuck in and see where we are against the world’s best. At this point we’re all really finding out exactly where we are in the race. We’ve had Becks whose crashed and really taken a beating from that. And then there’s Chanel Mason whose just coming back from having some nerve damage in her hand and this is her first race since April so she’s doing amazingly well to first be here and then competing with the world’s best. Because the way the season works out, none of us have come into the race in perfect Tour shape but we’re all doing really, really well.

VeloUK – looking back to the Tour Series, grabbing second place overall in the Team standings must have been a real boost to your and the whole team’s morale.

Beth – Definitely. We all really wanted to consolidate that second place overall and that’s what we did so we were all really happy to have done that. And to do that by taking the Team win on the night, yeah, that’s been one of our highlights so far of the season.


Cycle Division’s New Shop

Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: ,