Race report: Cotes d’Armor road race championships & Credit Agricole race series, Sunday 18 May 2014
A new adventure began for Beaulieu student Sabine Minchinton-Gilley last weekend as she finished 6th in the Cotes d’Armor road race championships held in Plerin, Brittany. The championship was combined with the Credit Agricole sponsored race event, which is a series of races for women & girls; this was her first race of the four that have been held. The French Cycling Federation has made huge strides in investing in women’s races to encourage more to race and be retained in the sport. This effect is already being observed as the field entries are increasing and the quality of the riding and skill level is evident.
The course was a 4.4km circuit through a suburb and commercial area which had been closed off to traffic but contained many roundabouts and street furniture such as traffic islands and speed calming measures to negotiate. The field of 35 senior & junior women riders was set off two minutes before the combined peloton of 45 riders (25 in cadette and 20 in the minime categories) rolled out to complete 8 laps of the circuit. This course required riders to not only be able to accelerate out of corners but to also choose their entry lines into the corners carefully. The heat on the day took its toll and a few were unable to stay with the pace or the distance. With two laps remaining Sabine needed rehydrating and so jettisoned her empty bottle to affect a smooth bottle exchange from a feeder on the side of the road and was able to slip back in to the race group without losing position. Unfortunately during the race a crash occurred at a ‘tricky’ corner, which Sabine had noted during her warm up and had decided to take a different line in to. Luckily for her the crash, although beside her, did not impede her but one rider required an ambulance.
Riding at this next level is a whole new learning experience, which has excited Sabine who is already planning what she needs to do this winter to be more competitive next year when she enters the cadette category!
Sabine races for CC Plancoet but is also a member of the Jersey Cycling Association Youth Academy and Caesarean Cycling Club.