Women’s CiCLE Classic: World champion Katie Archibald sprints to victory

The race passes through Burrough-on-the-Hill for the first time EMN-170606-175158002
The race passes through Burrough-on-the-Hill for the first time EMN-170606-175158002

The Women’s CiCLE Classic firmly established itself on the map on Sunday when world and Olympic champion Katie Archibald took the spoils after a thrilling race.

The Rio 2016 gold medallist held off a strong challenge in the closing stages and sprinted clear of her three rivals in the Sherrard Street finish.

The race comes through Melton for the first time EMN-170606-175215002

The race comes through Melton for the first time EMN-170606-175215002

The Team WNT Pro Cycling rider also claimed the Queen of the Bergs crown after a gripping second edition of the race, which formed part of the National Women’s Road Series.

Long-time leader Laura Massey had to settle for second place, while defending national series champion Nikki Juniper, who is recovering from a broken collarbone, took third spot.

But there was no happy homecoming for Archibald’s Team WNT team-mate Bex Rimmington.

The Melton rider endured a frustrating day of three punctures, the first coming just 15 minutes into the race after Cuckoo Hill.

The first three cross the line in Sherrard Street EMN-170606-175226002

The first three cross the line in Sherrard Street EMN-170606-175226002

A final one on the second passage of the notorious Somerberg sector put paid to her hopes of a top finish as she finished five minutes down on the winner in 39th.

She said: “I certainly didn’t go to the race to get the lantern rouge (for last placed rider), but I’m made up that Katie Archibald got the win for Team WNT.

“I’d like to thank (race director) Colin Clews for making this event happen and to my family and friends for coming out to support.”

The race stayed together for the early part of the race, and when a five-strong group looked to go clear, they were soon hauled in.

Dame Sarah Storey meets her team at the finish assisted by Melton's former Paralympic swimming gold medalist Emily Jennings (left) EMN-170606-175237002

Dame Sarah Storey meets her team at the finish assisted by Melton's former Paralympic swimming gold medalist Emily Jennings (left) EMN-170606-175237002

Massey pounced at the day’s first crash, springing clear to quickly build a 30-second lead.

She made the most of a clear route on the off-road sectors to lift her advantage up to 1min 45secs, and she still led the way with 34km left of the 95km course.

Archibald and Juniper finally decided to go, and they quickly made up ground as conditions proved testing for those behind.

As the rain became heavier, the three came together with each looking to find their own decisive break.

Race winner Katie Archibald celebrates EMN-170606-175248002

Race winner Katie Archibald celebrates EMN-170606-175248002

But Payton gave the race a new dimension as she roared back to set up a four-way fight for the finish line in the closing kilometre.

With little to choose between them after more than two hours in the saddle, Archibald got the spring at the right time to take the win.

Melton rider Bex Rimmington (centre) approaches Somerby EMN-170606-175259002

Melton rider Bex Rimmington (centre) approaches Somerby EMN-170606-175259002