Race guide: HSBC UK | National Women’s Road Series at the Essex Giro
The 2017 HSBC UK | National Women’s Road Series continues on Saturday 22 April with the Essex Giro hosting the second round.
Elizabeth Banks (SunSport Velo) is the early series leader after getting off to the perfect start at the Tour of the Wolds and will be keen to make it two wins from two on the roads of Great Thurlow.
About the Series
The National Women’s Road Series is a nine-race competition, which runs from April until August.
The first round took place in Lincolnshire as Elizabeth Banks came out on top in the Tour of the Wolds.
This weekend’s Essex Giro is round two before the race heads to the Lincoln Grand Prix in May.
June sees three races, starting with the CiCLE Classic in Leicestershire, followed by the Curlew Cup in Northumberland and the Otley Grand Prix in West Yorkshire.
The first weekend of July sees the always popular two-day Alexander Tour of the Reservoir followed by the Newton Longville Festival of Cycling Grand Prix in Buckinghamshire later that month.
The series concludes on Sunday 6 August with the Ryedale Grand Prix in North Yorkshire. Individual honours are up for grabs with an overall and under-23 champion to be crowned.
The race starts in Great Thurlow at 2.30pm, with riders set to take on 12 laps of the course over 59 miles.
The route heads west towards Withersfield before turning east towards Great Wratting and north alongside the River Stour towards Great Thurlow.
What happened last year
Last year’s Essex Giro provided three stages of racing over two days, with Grace Garner taking the overall win in Podium Ambition-Club La Santa colours.
Garner picked up the stage one win in Sudbury on day one before following that up with victory in the time trial on day two.
2016 National Women’s Series champion Nikki Juniper (Ford EcoBoost) won the final circuit criterium as well as two key sprints, but came three seconds short of Garner’s overall time.
Ones to watch
SunSport Velo’s Elizabeth Banks is the early series leader and will have her eye on back-to-back wins.
Last year’s Essex Giro winner Grace Garner also poses a major threat - she will be riding for her new team Wiggle High5.
Fresh from international duty at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong, Great Britain Cycling Team’s Emily Kay lines up in Team WNT colours alongside Natalie Grinczer, who was fifth at the Tour of the Wolds.
Chanel Mason, of the newly founded Storey Racing, took third in Lincolnshire and will hope to improve her standing in Great Thurlow.
Team Ford EcoBoost are always capable of providing a winner, even without 2016 champion Nikki Juniper who broke her collarbone at the Tour of the Wolds - Charmaine Porter and Jennifer Powell could provide the challenge for the team in orange and blue.
How to follow the racing
Follow the action from the National Women’s RoadSeries on our live blog from 2.15pm on Saturday, for race updates, images and social media.
Follow @BritishCycling on Twitter for updates from both events throughout the racing.
Video highlights, reports, results, images and reaction will appear on the British Cycling website.