Lincoln Grand Prix 2024

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2024 Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix Report

Open race

Matt Holmes claimed a memorable victory on his comeback to road racing, powering up the final ascent of Michaelgate as he emerged the winner of the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix from an elite group of six riders.
The Lancastrian, who won the National Road Series title in 2019, beat Adam Lewis (Team Skyline) to the line, with Matt King (X-Speed United) finishing in third. Defending champion Alex Richardson (Saint Piran) had to settle for fifth after raising his arms in celebration, believing he’d won the race with one lap still to go.
The 13-lap 167km race set off in warm sunshine at an infernal pace, with a number of large breakaways going clear in the early laps as the Elite Development Teams looked to put Saint Piran, the pre-race favourites who completed a 1-2-3 here last year, on the back foot.
With the peloton keeping moves on a tight leash, the first break of note came when Will Roberts (Saint Piran) and Tom Williams (Thriva-SRCT) went clear on the cobbled climb of Michalegate at the end of the fourth lap, taking David Hird (Cycling Sheffield), Logan Maclean (Project1), the aggressive Tom Martin (Wheelbase-CabTech-Castelli), and John Archibald (HUUB-WattShop) with them.
Three laps later, Ollie Rees (Sabgal-Anicolor) led a flurry of moves that brought back the breakaway. However, a lack of cohesion amongst the attackers meant the status quo was restored and the attacks continued to rain down.
In the melee, Will Perrett (Spirit TBW Stuart Hall Cycling) and Archibald slipped clear. The pair worked well together, with Archibald dropping Perrett up Michalegate but then waiting for him as their advantage extended to 50 seconds. Archibald would not wait for a second time, and the time-trial specialist went solo with four laps to go.
Archibald was reeled in as the cobbles approached a lap later. With two laps to go, George Kimber (Spirit TBW Stuart Hall Cycling) was the next to try his luck alongside Lewis.
The duo were joined by Richardson, King and Hird with 18km remaining. Holmes and Matt Bostock (Ribble Rebellion) chased hard, with Holmes dropping Bostock and joining the leaders, making six riders at the head of affairs with just over a lap remaining.
Richardson attacked hard from the bottom of the penultimate Michaelgate ascent, gaining a small gap before prematurely celebrating as he crossed the line. The group came back together shortly after and the breakaway seemed to call a truce in favour of working to the finish.
Kimber rolled the dice with just 1.2km remaining, attacking downhill in the run towards Michaelgate, hoping to catch his rivals unaware, but was caught as they turned left onto the cobbles for the final time.
Holmes delivered a strong acceleration in the right hand gutter and Lewis was the only rider able to respond.
As they neared the top, Holmes continued to press on the pedals, holding a small advantage over the Team Skyline rider as he crossed the line - an understated celebration marking a memorable return to road racing for the former National Road Series winner.
Tim Shoreman now leads the National Road Series courtesy of his 11th place finish, a reward for his Wheelbase-CabTech-Castelli team who raced aggressively during the early stages of the race.

Women's race

Kate Richardson (Lifeplus-Wahoo) took a stunning solo win in the women’s Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, attacking up the penultimate ascent of Michaelgate and holding off the Shibden-Apex RT pair of Cat Ferguson and Imogen Wolff as the race reached a nail-biting finish in front of the famous cathedral.
The riders tackled eight ascents of the iconic Michaelgate climb, and Frankie Hall (DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK) wasted no time in showing her intentions, attacking as the race hit the slopes for the first time.
Hall was reeled in by the time the peloton took on the cobbles for the start of the second lap. Richardson crested the summit first, leading the peloton up the climb in what would become a familiar sight on her way to winning the Ian Emmerson Michaelgate Trophy for the best climber.
Series leader, Eilidh Shaw (Alba Development Road Team), was the victim of an early crash and she faced a tough chase to get back to what was the third group on the road. Meanwhile, at the front of the race, Richardson and teammate Eluned King, who won the CiCLE Classic at the start of the season, strung out the peloton with a sustained effort, splitting the bunch and all but scuppering Shaw’s attempts to return to the front of the race.
One move that did slip away included the dangerous combination of Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, second in Lincoln in 2023, and Ruth Shier, the 2023 Lancaster Grand Prix winner. The DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK pair attacked with Katy Hill (London Academy) and Molly Patch (The Phoenix Collective), who bridged across to the trio soon after.
The combined firepower of Shibden-Apex RT, Lifeplus-Wahoo, and Pro-Noctis-200 Degrees Coffee-Hargreaves Contracting brought the break back at the bottom of Michaelgate with four ascents still to go and controlled the race into the final two laps.
Lincoln-based rider, Jo Tindley, who famously won her National Circuit Race title on her home roads in 2021, attacked on the first part of the penultimate lap along with Charlotte Berry (The Phoenix Collective), Tindley doing the lion’s share of work as they gained a small advantage over the peloton.
Tindley’s Pro-Noctis-200 Degrees Coffee-Hargreaves Contracting team won the race last year with Robyn Clay, and were again hungry for success in their home race; the aggressive Maddie Heywood going on the attack earlier in the race.
Lifeplus-Wahoo responded in kind, pulling back the move by the penultimate ascent of Michaelgate. The fans were greeted by the familiar sight of Richardson at the front of the race as she powered up the cobbled climb.
However, this time she was alone, having attacked at the bottom, building a ten-second gap as she neared the top. Ferguson recognised the danger as the peloton split under the pressure, putting in a big effort up the right hand side of the cobbles and dragging a small group clear in pursuit ahead of the depleted bunch.
Richardson built up a 30-second lead, but she was tiring and the chasers were bearing down fast. The gap fell to just 13 seconds, and it looked as though the race was destined for a sprint up Michaelgate, but with 5km to go, the two chasing groups merged and a lack of cohesion strangled their pursuit. As the big teams looked at one another to chase, Richardson pressed on alone.
Her grimace turned to a smile as she rounded the final bends of Michaelgate, and raised a hand in celebration. Ferguson emerged first from the peloton, followed by her teammates Wolff and Esther Wong, making it a day to remember for the junior team.
With series leader Shaw not scoring any points after an unfortunate morning, Loughborough Lightning's Lucy Harris takes over the series lead heading into July’s Lancaster GP.

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