Thursday 14 June 2012

Matrix-Prendas win Johnson HealthTech GP

Helen Wyman won Round 5, putting
herself into second place overall
That's all, folks: the 2012 Johnson HealthTech GP is over - but what a series it's been! The last round, which took place on the 14th of June in Stoke, was if anything the most hotly contested so far as the teams battled to try to grab last-minute success from Matrix-Prendas, who had pulled out all the stops and were giving it everything they've got to put on a good show and take a victory in front of the residents of their home city... and when Helen Wyman won the round, they did it with a 27 point advantage, helped by Jessie Walker's third place.

Node4-Giordana have been the only team to come close in this series. Lucy Garner, current Junior World Road Race Champion, won Round 4 and has been hot on the heels (and often ahead) of Matrix-Prendas' Annie Simpson all the way. Look Mum No Hands! and WindyMilla may have come fifth and sixth, but they too have provided many thrilling moments and plenty of top-notch action - the series would have been very much worse off without them.

Simpson's 72 points mean she wins overall, though organisers had to wait for her twelfth place finish to confirm that Wyman hadn't taken over. She also takes the intermediate sprint honours with a lead of just one point lead over Jo Tindley (VC St Raphael) in a competition that remained very far from decided until this final race. Annie's winning sprint in Oxford back on the 22nd of May is already being called one of the finest moments - if not the finest moment - of the entire HealthTech/Halfords Tour Series, and anyone who saw it will have no doubt whatsoever that she has many great years in cycling ahead of her.

Wyman, last year's winner and multiple National Cyclo Cross Champion, won the Sprints for the round. Known for the blistering bursts of acceleration she employs to gain early leads in the Dutch and Belgian cyclo cross races, where she competes against the best in the world, Helen attacked early on in the round and nobody was able to follow as she kept on building her lead; and by the time Laura Massey kicked of the bunch sprint the St. Albans-born 31-year-old star had already won. Her victory today earned her 72 points, which moved her up into second place overall.

Special mention goes to Team Mule Bar Girls, whose consistent good finishes earned them fourth place in the Teams classification. They are most definitely a team to watch, and if they keep improving as they have done so far this year Matrix-Prendas won't have it all their own way next year. The ultimate winner of the series isn't any one rider or team, however - it's women's cycling in Britain. In common with many countries, the sport receives little attention here compared to men's cycling which has grown in popularity over the last few years. To see such large crowds enjoying the non-stop and hard-fought action, made possible by the excellent work of the organisers and by Johnson HealthTech's sponsorship, bodes very well indeed for the future.

Annie Simpson wins overall

Annie Simpson ‏@LittleSimo
We did it! Individual, sprints and team overall wins at @TourSeries!!! Amazing @onthedrops performance!! #winning

Harriet Owen ‏@harrieto93
Well, that's tour series over for the year, didn't quite get the time prize but congrats to @onthedrops who took the win! #solidracing

Top Ten Round 5
1)    Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing/Matrix-Prendas
2)    Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse / Cyclaim
3)    Jessie Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas
4)    Harriet Owen, Node4 - Giordana Racing
5)    Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas
6)    Lucy Garner, Node4 - Giordana Racing
7)    Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael
8)    Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas
9)    Ruth Winder, Team VanderKitten
10)    Alice Barnes, - Orbea

Final Overall Top Ten
1)    Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 77pts
2)    Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing, 72pts
3)    Corrine Hall, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 62pts
4)    Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 58pts
5)    Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse / Cyclaim, 57pts
6)    Harriet Owen, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 54pts
7)    Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 50pts
8)    Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 45pts
9)    Alice Barnes, - Orbea, 31pts
10)    Lydia Boylan, Look Mum No Hands!, 28pts

Teams Overall
1)    Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 202pts
2)    Node4 - Giordana Racing, 175pts
3)    VC St Raphael, 105pts
4)    Mule Bar Girls, 82pts
5)    Look Mum No Hands!, 45pts
6)    WyndyMilla UK Youth, 7pts

Sprints Overall
1)    Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 25pts
2)    Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 24pts
3)    Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 19pts 

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