British National Championships - CN

Rugby, England, July 30, 2000

1999 Results     Men's Road race    M/W Time Trials

July 30, Women's Road Race

Gilfillan is new Womenís champion

Ceris Gilfillan showed why she has been gaining rave reviews at international races this year, when she proved too strong for a near full-strength field at the National Womenís Road Race Championships on Sunday.

Taking place over 13 laps of a five-mile circuit near Rugby, the race was always going to be focused on the contrasting talents of the World Class Performance Programme riders, under the guise of Team Alsager Addidas, and defending champion, Nicole Cooke.

An early break by Cherie Pridham and Nicole Bedwell was duly chased down by the Alsager/Addidas riders. When Yvonne McGregor (Alsager/Addidas), Nicole Cooke, Ruth Ellway and Caroline Alexander broke away a little later, they built up a lead of a minute within a lap. However, the break drifted back to the main pack when it became clear that not all the riders were contributing to the effort. Yvonne McGregor, in particular, has seen this happen before and was aware of the potential consequences of a non-sprinter like herself.

It was WCPP mountain-biker Caroline Alexander, riding under the Team Y2K banner, who made the decisive break of the race, with four laps to go. She soon built up a lead of 40 seconds, at which point Ceris Gilfillan (Alsager/Addidas) also broke clear and rode up to join her. With Gilfillan in great form, the pair were never threatened again as they gradually moved away from the chasing riders. A brave ride by Gilfillanís team-mate, Yvonne McGregor saw her move clear into second place.

At the line, Gilfillan took the victory by three seconds from Alexander, with McGregor a further minute and a quarter back. The main field were led in by fast-sprinting Mel Szubrycht, who is due a big win after several near misses in recent weeks, despite a lingering throat infection.

After the race Ceris Gilfillan was frank about the pressure she and her Alsager/Addidas team-mates felt under:

"The onus was on us to make the race. We were committed to working together, as we have done all season in the World Cups and at the Hewlett Packard stage race. The most important thing was that one of us won. The course was perhaps a little easy for us, but it worked out OK in the end."

Alsager/Addidas manager (and National Road Coach) Ken Matheson was delighted:

"Iím very pleased with the result. It was a very powerful display of team riding. I know that some people will criticise us for that, but itís a fact of life in most championships at national and international level these days. You canít undo the team-work of a team and ask them to ride as individuals. They are a pretty close-knit group. With no team car in the race and no rider radios, I simply told the riders to get the best result for the team. They did the rest. The result also means that Ceris has secured her place at the Worlds. After the season sheís already had, sheís deserved it."

Gilfillan, from Malvern in Worcestershire has had a wonderful twelve months in which she has finished third and fourth in the European under-23 Time Trial and Road Race respectively, picked up her first World Cup points, secured the National Time Trial title and now won her first National Road Championships. She also managed a superb fifth overall in the Hewlett Packard stage race, against the best women riders in the world. Just 20 years old, talented in both the mountains and against the clock, she appears to have a very bright future.

Report and results courtesy of the British Cycling Federation


1 Ceris Gilfillan (Alsager/Addidas) 	     2.59.05
2 Caroline Alexander (Team Y2K)			0.03
3 Yvonne MacGregor (Alsager/Addidas)		1.17
4 Melanie Szubrycht (Private member)		3.07
5 Melanie Sears (Alsager/Addidas) 
6 Ruth Ellway (Leics Constabulary) 
7 Nicole Cooke (Cardiff Ajax) 
8 Tracy Bunger (Team Y2K) 
9 Sue Thomas (Scott UK) 
10 Cherie Pridham (Science in Sport)
11 Joanne Cavill (Midlothian RT) 
12 Michaela Fischer (Guernsey Velo Club)	3.12
13 Sara Dean (Oxford City RC)
14 Leda Ray (Gore Bike) 
15 Susan Carter (Alsager/Addidas)