CYCLING: Raising the gears to reach excellence

ROAD RACE SISTERS: Maddie Gammons and Tilly Gurney who both took part in the first-ever National Junior Women's Road Race in May.
ROAD RACE SISTERS: Maddie Gammons and Tilly Gurney who both took part in the first-ever National Junior Women's Road Race in May.

Witham on the Hill, near Bourne, was the unlikely setting for some history when the first-ever National Junior Women’s Road Race was held.

Organised by Bourne Wheelers’ coach Mark Botteley, 41 riders from across the UK took on the 45-mile course in glorious sunshine.

Tilly Gurney (17), of Spalding Cycling Club, and her team-mate at the 2015 Sainsbury’s School Games in Manchester, Maddie Gammons (17), of Bourne Wheelers Cycling Club, were two of the riders involved.

After finishing 23rd in only her second-ever national road race, Tilly said: “I was very happy to have finished such a gruelling race having beaten some high-quality riders.

“It was brutal but it was great to support Mark in return for the way he has supported me, building my confidence and always telling me I can do things.”

Maddie, a regular in Spalding Cycling Club’s 10-Mile Championship series with her coach Adam Ellis, said: “I was quite pleased with 11th as I still had a bad knee from a crash the weekend before the road race and made the mistake of not drinking enough water during the race.

“The race was such an important step forward in junior women’s cycling and I’m really pleased to have been part of it.”

Tilly and Maddie, like Bryn Richards, Megan Kendall, Jess Woodworth and promising Spalding rider Tom Wright are all products of a Go-Ride system that has become the conveyor belt of cycling talent in south-east Lincolnshire.

Tom said: “I’ve been training with friends at Spalding Cycling Club which has helped me lower my 10-mile personal best from 33 minutes at the start of the 2016 season to under 29 minutes at the end of it.

“Me, Ed and Will Gurney are all really good mates and it’s helping us to do quicker times.

“Cycling hurts sometimes but it hurts less when you’re doing it with friends.”