Handsling Racing Round-up

A racing round-up from two women’s UCI Continental teams sponsored by Handsling Bikes.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Alba Road Team and DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK. Both are UCI Continental Women’s Teams and ride Handsling’s A1R0evo. We last reported on Alba, who were gaining continental race experience at the Ronde de Mouscron in Belgium. Meanwhile DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK had results with their Norwegian Nora Tviet winning at PK Vlaams Brabant and the Wielerronde van Oploo. They also had a top-5 finish with Alice Sharpe at the  Région Pays de la Loire Tour.

Both teams were present at the CiCLE Classic, the UK's Roubaix!
Both teams were present at the CiCLE Classic, the UK’s Paris-Roubaix!

So with both teams doing well, what have they been up to since?

After Eilidh Shaw’s second place at round one of British Cycling’s Women’s National Road Series, both teams headed north for round two. Round two was the East Cleveland Classic, over 111km of undulating roads. Riders would have to endure four ascents of Saltburn Bank. This is a 400m, 15% climb coming only 300m from the finish line.

Tiffany Keep from DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK and Alba’s Eilidh Shaw featured in an early break of six. This went after thirty kilometres of racing. Despite working well, they were caught on the second climb of Saltburn. There followed a series of attacks, all of which were caught, that whittled the bunch down to only twenty-five riders.

Tiffany Keep and Eilidh Shaw featured in the early break on their Handsling A1R0evo bikes
Tiffany Keep and Eilidh Shaw featured in the early break

On the final lap DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK moved to the front and forced the pace. The increase in speed meant there were no more attacks and the peloton headed towards the finale. In the final three kilometres the pace began to tell and the bunch split again. As the riders started the final ascent 17-year old Cat Ferguson (Shibden-Apex RT) opened a gap. In a demonstration of climbing power, she remained seated as she conquered Saltburn’s slopes and took the victory. Which explains why she is moving to Movistar next year!

Podium at the 2024 East Cleveland Classic
Podium at the 2024 East Cleveland Classic, winner Cat Ferguson is far left

Meanwhile Alba’s Eilidh Shaw took second in front of Ferguson’s teammate Imogen Wolff. This second place after her second place at the CiCLE Classic, makes Eilidh the new series leader. Meanwhile Tiffany Keep came in fifth for DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK. This puts Alba into first place in the overall team standings, with DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK in second; a great result for their Handsling sponsor.

One and two on the overall ride Handsling A1R0evo bikes
One and two on the overall ride Handsling A1R0evo bikes

DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK

After the East Cleveland Classic DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK headed to the Twickenham CC Dave Peck Memorial British Cup Race. This is the second round of the British Women’s Team Cup, a season long team competition. With last year’s winner Ruth Shier now riding for DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK, would this be another breakaway win for the Sussex rider? After a nervous start, which saw numerous crashes and a race stoppage, the breakaways began.

Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne went on to win from a three person break
Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne went on to win from a three rider break

As the fifth lap began, Shier broke clear with Molly Patch (The Phoenix Collective). Could this be a repeat of last year’s race? Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, Shier was brought back. However her team-mate, Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, staged a counter-attack. Going up the road she was joined by Lydia Watts (The Phoenix Collective), Lotty Dawson (Brother UK-On Form) and Katie-Anne Calton (Saint Piran WRT).

Despite a strong chase from behind and losing Calton, the trio had a two minute lead approaching the finish line. As they hit the final climb to the finish line Hodgkins-Byrne attacked to take the win. This win puts DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK into second place in the overall standings.

Alba Development Road Team

After the East Cleveland Classic Alba headed to the continent for the Giro Mediterraneo in Rosa. This is a five stage 2.2 UCI stage race in southern Italy. Here the team will pick up some useful experience riding in a stage race. Initial reports suggest tough racing and less than clement weather: not what you expect from bella Italia! After the Giro, Alba will head to Rome for a one-day race, then back to Belgium for two, one day races. The team is definitely learning about life on the road!

Alba are gaining experience on their Handsling A1R0evo bikes at the Giro Mediterraneo in Rosa
Alba are gaining experience at the Giro Mediterraneo in Rosa stage race

Alba are a Scottish based women’s elite development cycling team. The team has been one of British Cycling’s Elite Development teams since 2022. They say their prime objective is one of “providing the platform, support, guidance, mentoring and race programme to fulfil potential and achieve individual aspirations.”

You can follow the Alba Development Road Team on their website.

You can follow the DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out what they’re riding on the Handsling site.

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