Hillingdon, London, England
61km (40 laps) closed-circuit race
Women's National Series
The Hillingdon GP is unique in the National Series in that it takes place on a 1.526km dedicated cycle racing circuit in North-West London. Some people, upon reading that, will think that any race on such a parcours couldn't possibly be interesting, but think about it for a moment - Hillingdon combines the mass-start excitement of a road race with the high-speed thrills of the velodrome.
And it is high-speed - not only is the track flat flat and smooth, it's six metres wide and has been deliberately to allow riders to continue pedaling around the seven bends. That makes it very fast indeed, and with little other than speed to act as a deciding factor it often results a big bunch sprint finish.
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In 2013, the race was particularly hard-fought due to the Series leaders Anne Ewing and Karla Boddy, who both had 87 points, staying away; this left ample opportunity for several riders just behind them in the standings to move up into top place, but the riders decided among themselves to ride together and without attacks through the first few laps. After 20 minutes, Emma Trott and Karen Poole decided the time was right for action, opening up a small gap that was rapidly shut down again by the MG-Maxifuel riders in an effort to make certain Charline Joiner remained in contention. When Clemence Copie of High Wycombe CC attacked a little later, they wasted no time in bringing her back too; they would keep a tight rein on the remainder of the race, also nipping in the bud attempted breaks by Louise Borthwick, Amy Hill, Tanya Griffiths and finally Sarah Byrne, who upped the pace and enlivened the race when she attacked in the final laps. Although they'd set out a textbook example of how to control a race, the MG squad were about to be reminded that sometimes you can do absolutely everything right and still be denied victory: having brought Joiner to the final corner, they set her up in the ideal position for a sprint that everyone knew she could win. But then, she didn't - Copie, despite having used energy in her attack earlier, was too fast for her and took second, while Emily Kay of Scott Contessa-Epic was faster still and beat them both to the line.
2013 Top Ten
1 Emily Kay (Scott Contessa-Epic)
2 Clemence Copie (High Wycombe CC)
3 Charline Joiner (MG-Maxifuel)
4 Hayley Jones (Node 4-Giordana)
5 Francesca Morgans-Slader (Lee Valley Youth CC)
6 Sophie Faulkner (Solihull CC)
7 Coryn Rivera (Breast Cancer Care)
8 Abigail Dentus (De Vere Cycles)
9 Flora Gillies (Team ASL360)
10 Amy Hill (Abergavenny Road Club)
2014 Start List
Not yet available
Getting There and Staying There
Getting there: Being in one of the world's major cities, Hillingdon has numerous train (nearest: Southall, 2.7km) and underground stations within walking distance of the circuit as well as regular bus services. It can also be reached easily by car, but since parking is at a premium and public transport is so convenient there's really no need at all to drive there unless you're with a team and need to take bikes with you. Hillingdon can also be reached with ease from overseas due to being in the same borough as Heathrow Airport.
Staying there: It's London, and just up the road from the third busiest airport in the world - there are hotels and bed and breakfasts all over the place, ranging from super-pricey to very cheap.