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.

2023 Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix p/b Wattbike Report

Robyn Clay took the biggest win of her career so far as she triumphed in the Rapha Women’s Lincoln Grand Prix presented by Wattbike, taking her maiden National Road Series win in fine style as she soloed to victory up the cobbles of Michaelgate on the final lap.

In the men’s race, Saint Piran carved out a dominant 1-2-3 as Alex Richardson took his second win at the race, ahead of teammates Zeb Kyffin and Jack Rootkin-Gray.

Women’s race

The seventh edition of the Rapha Women’s Lincoln Grand Prix p/b Wattbike welcomed a packed field under cool and misty skies, this second round of the National Road Series continuing the general vibe of being on the cooler side – the joys of Britain in spring.

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2023 Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix presented by Wattbike – Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. Image: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

As the field powered its way up Michaelgate for the first time, four riders were visibly pushing the pace, with April Tacey (Lifeplus – Wahoo), Emma Jeffers (DAS-Handsling), and the Shibden Hope Tech Apex duo of Imogen Wolff and Cat Ferguson stringing out the group behind. They were helped, in part, by a minor crash as they ascended for the first time as a mammoth pack tried to squeeze itself thinner in preparation for the climb.

The peloton stayed together in the early laps of the 13km circuit, however, despite the efforts of those pushing up each ascent of Michaelgate. The Shibden pair continued to be visible, kept company by a rotation of DAS-Handsling riders including Lucy Lee, Monica Greenwood and Sophie Thackray. Team Boompods also kept a watching brief. The entrance to Michaelgate continued to cause challenges for those further back, the peloton still large enough that the squeeze from wide asphalt to narrow cobbles meant those too far back were hindered by minor crashes and mechanicals.

With the pack still going strong at the front, a group of roughly 50 riders were in the bunch as it split, with roughly 30 riders starting to drop off the pace as the race tackled Michaelgate for the fourth time. Again, it was Lee who was shepherding the leaders forward but a cast of riders – Tiffany Keep (Hutchinson – Brother UK) on the fourth pass – kept the speed high and wouldn’t let anyone rest for a second.

AW7 9846.jpg2023 Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix presented by Wattbike – Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. Image: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

After half distance, with four laps to go, the race elastic finally snapped as five riders – Robyn Clay (Pro-Noctis – Heidi Kjeldsen – 200 Degrees Coffee), the DAS-Handsling pair of Grace Lister and Sammie Stuart, Heather Mayer (Hutchinson – Brother UK) and Team Boompod’s Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne – all broke clear.

The quintet built themselves a handy lead of more than 30 seconds with three to go. With DAS-Handsling also having riders at the front of the chasing group disrupting efforts of an increasingly fractured and diminishing bunch, the race tilted in favour of the breakaway. With two laps to go, the leaders crossed the line with 44 seconds in hand.

With the leading five working hand-in-hand, the chase fell way off the pace on the penultimate lap, staring at a deficit of 1’50” as they took the bell, too fractured to try and mount any sort of challenge to the riders out front.

That five took the last lap as a whole and, as they headed back into Lincoln, it was Michaelgate that proved decisive as Clay attacked up the cobbles and left her rivals trailing in her wake.

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2023 Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix presented by Wattbike – Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England – Women’s Race winner Robyn Clay – Pro-Noctis-Heidi Kjelden – 200 Degrees Coffee celebrates. Image: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Ultimately, she took an untroubled run to the line, six seconds over Hodgkins-Byrne who tried to go with her but ran out of energy when push came to shove. Third went to Stuart another eight seconds back on the lead duo.

With a strong seventh place, Monica Greenwood (DAS-Handsling) is the new National Road Series leader, with Clay the best-placed Under-23 rider just two points behind Greenwood. Greenwood’s DAS-Handsling team lead the team standings. Elsewhere, Imogen Wolff won the Ian Emmerson Michaelgate Trophy for her efforts early in the race.


Men’s race

The men’s National Road Series got underway in the afternoon in what were mild conditions under the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral.

On the first lap Ciaran McSherry (The Cycling Academy) and Rory Townsend (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) put in a dig up Michaelgate and created a gap. A lap later, the pair were joined by TRINITY Racing’s Dean Harvey and William Tidball (Saint Piran) as their advantage stretched to a dozen seconds.

The escape was shortlived, however, and by the third ascent of Michaelgate it was all back together, albeit the bunch was fractured as it would its way up the cobbles.

By lap four, a dozen riders had broken clear, the peloton not far behind, running single file as they looked to use the gutters to get some relief from the bone-shaking cobbles.

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The early break of a dozen.. Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix presented by Wattbike – Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. Image: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

The leading 12 included all four of the original break and a strong selection of joiners including Finn Crockett (The Cycling Academy), Max Stedman (Private), David Hird (ROKiT-SRCT), Seb Garry (Kalas Motip), Dan Gardner (Embark Spirit BSS), and another three Saint Piran riders – Jack Rootkin-Gray, Zeb Kyffin and Harry Birchill. As they reached lap 5 of 13, their advantage had risen to over 30 seconds.

Despite all that work, it didn’t last and the leaders found themselves swallowed back up into the swirling mass behind. But through it all, Saint Piran maintained a presence at the front as Alex Richardson took up the mantle of driving the bunch forward.

More change at the front followed, as ten riders broke clear, including four from the previous escape – Kyffin, Birchill, Gardner, and Harvey – along with Richardson, Sam Culverwell (Dolan Ellesse Race Team), Matt Fox (Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli), James Jobber (EuroCyclingTrips), George Wood (Cycling Sheffield), Dexter Leeming-Sykes (Wold Top the Edge Pactimo).

The ten then broke apart again a lap later as Harvey and Richardson forced themselves clear, powering through the centre of Lincoln, with James McKay (Cycling Sheffield) and Irish road race champion Townsend now leading a select chase group that also featured Rowan Baker (London Dynamo), Culverwell, Leeming-Sykes, Rootkin-Gray, Birchill and Kyffin.

Kyffin and Rootkin-Gray bridged across to Richardson and Harvey on the next lap, strengthening Saint Piran’s hand yet further. As the men black applied the pressure, Irishman Harvey was starting to be squeezed. There was no time for games though, with the four just 20 seconds ahead with four laps remaining.

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Rootkin-Gray, Richardson and Kyffin lead the way. Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix presented by Wattbike – Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. Image: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Initiative seized, the quartet grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck and wouldn’t let go. The four worked well together – aided by the fact that three were from the same team – and kept a high cadence and pace, not giving the chasers even a sniff of closing the gap as 20 seconds grew to 30 seconds and then beyond a minute.

With Saint Piran turning the front of the race into a team time trial, Harvey found himself overwhelmed. Despite his best efforts, he finally dropped out the back of the lead quartet at the start of the penultimate lap, which meant the win was virtually assured for the Cornish squad.

The trio remained together for the final two laps, giving no indication who would take the win. As they hit the finish line it was almost a formation finish, Richardson punching the air with delight to take his second win at Lincoln, a couple of seconds ahead of Kyffin and Rootkin-Gray.


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Alex Richardson wins the 2023 Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix presented by Wattbike – Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. Image: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com


Cycling Sheffield’s James McKay was the best of the rest, continuing his brilliant season with 4th, while Townsend was 5th. Townsend’s early efforts rewarded him with the Brian Cossovella Michaelgate Trophy for the best climber in the race.

Meanwhile, Richardson’s win means he is the first recipient of the National Road Series leaders jersey. His team, Saint Piran, are already the runaway leaders of the team standings after a dominant display.

Wattbike Steps In Alongside Rapha To Sponsor The Lincoln GP

Smart bike company to take presenting sponsorship and Rapha continues title sponsorship for third year, to ensure survival of the British cobbled classic.

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The organisers of the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix are delighted to announce that the 2023 edition taking place on May 14 – which will see the event into its 68th year – will be presented by Wattbike.

The Nottingham-based indoor smart bike company has stepped in to support the event as Presenting Sponsor, representing a huge boost to what is the longest established National Series event in the UK.

Cycling lifestyle brand Rapha continues as Title Sponsor for the third year running. 

Wattbike will be joining as Presenting Sponsor for the first time. The first Wattbike was developed alongside British Cycling ahead of their record medal haul at the 2008 Olympics. What was once a niche elite training tool has become a common fixture in gyms and homes across the globe, allowing athletes to achieve their goals through smart, structured training, fitness testing and technique tracking. Wattbike will support elite and amateur riders as they train towards the main event.

Rapha, who stepped in to save the event in 2020, have increased their sponsorship investment in 2023 to reflect the reality of rising costs associated with delivering races of this scale.

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Gary Coltman, Lincoln GP Organiser said:

“We are absolutely delighted that Wattbike have partnered with the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix. Their passion for the sport and its history is incredible. We are excited about the opportunities to work together to take the race – and particularly the infamous Michaelgate climb to a wider audience. With the heritage of the men’s race and now the well-established women’s race, the event is followed by many thousands of fans not only across the UK but throughout the world. The concept of providing opportunities for those fans to ‘get a little closer’ to the race and in particular Michaelgate, through activations with Wattbike is incredibly exciting and provides so many opportunities for the future.

We are of course delighted and extremely thankful for Rapha’s ongoing support. Their passion for the event is amazing and as anyone who has been there to cheer the riders up Michaelgate will know, the Rapha team fully embrace and support the day’s racing. Their support is so much more than simply putting their name to the event – and that is important because to us, the Rapha Lincoln GP is way more than just an event!”

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Rich Baker, CEO of Wattbike said:

“The Lincoln GP has been a cornerstone of the UK racing scene for many years and we're delighted to support the race in its 68th year. When training for a sportive or elite race it's essential to replicate the specific demands of the event through a combination of structured indoor and outdoor training. We're thrilled to support riders in achieving this through both our hardware product and digital software as they ramp up their training towards the big day.”

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Dan Blumire, Rapha’s Co-Director, said:

“Racing is in Rapha’s lifeblood, and the Lincoln GP is closely entwined with our early history of sponsoring pro teams Rapha Condor and Team Sky. The national prestige of this race and the spectator friendly nature of the course makes the Lincoln GP the British equivalent of a cobbled classic, and we are proud to commit to another year of title sponsorship to enable the race to continue.

True to the lessons in the Rapha Roadmap, we are continuing to challenge ourselves to find creative ways of making the sponsorship model financially sustainable. This year we will open a pop-up Archive Sale in Lincoln from Friday to Sunday, with profits funding this year’s sponsorship. We can’t wait to return and hear the cowbells ringing all the way up Michaelgate on May 14.”

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British Cycling Announces 2023 National Road Calendar

British Cycling can today announce the dates and venues for the 2023 National Road Series and National Circuit Series.


Contested over four rounds for men and five rounds for women, the National Road Series kicks off at the ANEXO/CAMS 7th Women’s CiCLE Classic in the East Midlands, with previous winners including Josie Nelson, Abi Smith, Neah Evans and Katie Archibald.


The series then returns to Lincoln for the iconic Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, for the opening round of the men’s series and second round of the women’s. The 2023 edition will see a new organiser take over the reins of the prestigious race, following the departures of Dan Ellmore and Peter Odam, who have been integral to the running of the race over recent years and bringing the national championships to the city in 2015 and 2021.

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