TDCC has teamed up with photographer Matt Ben Stone to give you a glimpse into the world of cycling teams.
For Stage 1 of the Blood, Sweat and Tears Tour we will be following amateur cycling team Aprire HSS Hire.
Now entering into their 3rd year as a race team, Aprire HSS is grass roots women’s cycling team with big ambitions. Phil Dempsey; the founder of the team and Aprire Bicycles, started the team with a goal to bring the tried and tested ethics of professional women’s through to the amateur scene.
We followed the team at their first stage race of the season; 3 Days of Bedford.
Now in its 13th edition, it is one of only 2 stage races for women held here in England. A race previously won by a young Sarah Storey (twice), Nikki Juniper and Julie Cook. Not to mention some big names in runner up positions such as Dani King and Laura Kenny.
It’s a great race for spotting future stars amongst an ever-growing Women’s Cycling scene here in the UK.
3 days of Bedford Stage by Strava guide:
29th April, 3 km Prologue
29th April, 55 km Road Stage, Great Barford
30th April, 10 km Team Time Trial, Keysoe
30th April, 80 km Road Stage, Keysoe
31st April, 74 km Road Stage, Thurleigh
The 3 days kicked off with a 3 km Prologue. Not a distance that’s going to create huge time gaps but a great opportunity to test the legs and suss the opposition.
All the girls put in a stonking ride with Joscelin Lowden finishing 2nd and Emma Lewis a few seconds off in 4th.
A great opening stage for the team.
Stage 2 was a hard 4 laps of a 15km circuit, with a rise up to the finish line. The stage saw a hectic and saw some dangerous riding. The girls were working well as a team and Joscelin looked strong going for every sprint.
Coming into the final climb to the finish there was a touch of wheels resulting a nasty crash for Jos and ending her weekend before it had really started.
Not all was lost though with Emma still placing well on GC.
Stage 3 was a unique opportunity here in the UK to see the girls in a 10 km Team Trial. With a strong rider line up of TT Specialists Phil was hoping for a good result and wasn’t left disappointed with the girls just off the podium in 4th.
Sunday afternoon hosted the longest of the road stages with a 5 laps 16km, hilly circuit. The girls worked hard to protect Emma, with Isla dropping away towards the end of the race when her work was done.
The final stage was nicknamed “Monday Funday”. The girls were feeling relaxed and looking forward to a #smashfest. Crystal went off the front 5 times in an attempt to get away but was reeled back in by the peloton. Chapeau!
Emma positioned impeccably throughout the stage never further back than 5th wheel and finished once again in the pack and finishing the weekend in 7th place on GC. An awesome result!
The team raced hard all weekend, and were left proud of their efforts. For some of them it was their first stage race and was a huge learning curve.
A big thanks to Apire HSS Hire for making us feel welcome throughout the weekend.
And chapeau to Matt Ben Stone on some incredible work with the camera.
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