Round 3 of the Women’s National Road Series headed to Lincoln on Sunday 14th May and seven Storey Racing riders signed on with Series Leader, Chanel Mason supported by Jen George, EJay Harris, Beth Crumpton, Monica Dew, Mercy Webb and Laura Cameron. 8 laps of the Lincoln circuit, including the ascent of the cobbled Michaelgate, greeted 129 starters making it one of the biggest fields assemblied for a UK race. Unfortunately though the standard of riding wasn’t consistent through the field and, in the absence of any gridding for the peloton at the start, a rider weaving around cat eyes within 500m of the neutral flag being dropped caused an almighty pile up which took out at least two thirds of the field.
Laura Cameron was by far the worst victim of the crash, sustaining an open, displaced fracture of both her ulna and radius which needed emergency surgery later that day to stabilise the injury. Further surgery for a bone graft will be needed in the near future such was the severity of the impact.
With most riders suffering bad bruising or mechanicals all but a few were able to continue but they faced a long chase, including Mercy Webb who regained contact with the peloton on the 1st ascent of the Michaelgate, only to be stranded as riders dropped chains and crashed ahead of her on the steep cobbles. Monica Dew came down hard in the crash and suffered with a rider slamming in to the back of her, but was able to continue for a couple of laps but never caught sight of the peloton again.
Jen George, EJay Harris and Beth Crumpton were left at the front to look after their team leader, Chanel Mason and they did a superb job throughout the race.
Multiple attacks in the first lap saw 3 riders go clear including Annasley Park and Becks Durrell of Drops and Amy Hill of OnForm. With the that lead extending out to around a minute, a mechanical for Park saw her dropped and then out of the race, followed by Amy Hill returning to the peloton and leaving the lone leader for a further 3 laps.
Storey Racing riders continued to shelter and protect Chanel Mason, chasing hard to eventually bring back the lone leader and making multiple attacks to try and break clear for a late breakaway opportunity. An untimely puncture and lioness-style chase from EJay Harris saw her return to domestique duties and take up the role of attacks and countering with Jen George. Beth Crumpton did a strong lead out for Chanel in to the final ascent of the Michaelgate and she used that to climb to 13th place and retain the Series Leaders jersey, behind a 1,2,3 of GB riders Alice Barnes and Emily Nelson and Irish international Lydia Boylan.
It was a superb ride from the whole team to defend the jersey, with a bittersweet ending in finding out how badly injured Laura had been. Mercy and Monica has been unable to finish due to their bad luck but the team reacted well to the adversity and adjusted their plan to ensure Chanel remained safely at the front of the race.
Next stop is the 4th round of the Tour Series at Wembley with the National Series re-joined on June 4th at the tough Cicle Classic event.