Fast pace and sprint finishes at Banbury Star’s annual road races
Warm and sunny weather at last arrived in time for Banbury Star Cyclists’ Club’s annual road races that took place on Sunday. A capacity field of 80 riders for both men’s and women’s races enjoyed dry roads and some great racing on the three lap, 45 mile course.
The men’s race for Category 3/4 riders, sponsored by the Chandlers Arms, Epwell, was the first race away at 9.30am. This got off to a fast start with about a dozen riders making an early and what turned out to be a decisive break from the main peloton. On the third lap however a few riders dropped off this leading bunch leaving just five riders in contention for the win. A great sprint finish therefore ensued with Gregory Fitzek (Cowley Road Condors) taking the win, followed by Tony Kiss (Absolute black Racing Team), who stole second place from a surprised Jonny Morris (Derby Mercury RC) right on the line. Local riders Billy Leason, Daniel Marron and Leon O’Rourke ( all Shutt Velo Rapide) finished fifth, seventh and eight and Matt Watson (Team Milton Keynes) finished eleventh. The KOM (Edge Hill climb) went to third place man Jonny Morris.
The women’s race for Elite & Category 1/2/3 riders, sponsored by Banbury’s Broadribb Cycles, got underway in the afternoon and whilst overall results are strongly contested, this is essentially Round 4 of British Cycling’s Women’s Team Series. Like the men, this race got off to another fast start, with only a small number of riders dropping off the main peloton after the first lap. However, during the second lap the field split into two main bunches as the second ascent of Edge Hill took its inevitable toll. During the third and final lap these bunches then started to fragment with a final group of around a dozen riders in contention for another sprint finish. Nicola Juniper an elite rider and winner in 2015 took the overall win with a strong sprint, from Georgina Penchaud and Tamara Davenne. Juniper’s team, Team Ford EcoBoost, took the overall team prize, with SunSport Velo second and Cycle Team OnForm third. The QOM went to Lauren Dolan (Liv Cycling Club).