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Francesca Hall (Loughborough Lightning / TRG) battled to a slender victory of just 22 seconds in the second round of the Merlin Cycles Classic Series, promoted by Beacon RCC in Worcestershire.
Hall, who finished second in the opening round, went one better clocking a winning time of one hour, 57 minutes and 56 seconds over the revised 41 miles course.
Roadworks caused a late change in the course with riders instead taking in two laps of a small loop of Stanford Bank and Clifton Upon Teme.
The first section of the course saw riders head away as originally planned an opening 17-mile loop east towards Worcester and then back through Little Witley before starting a long drag up past the start and onto a larger and hillier loop.
After exiting Great Witley riders hit Walsgrove Hill before a quick descent down to Stanford Bridge and then climbing out the other side through the trees of the Park Plantation.
Riders then completed two loops of the Clifton Upon Teme loop which included narrow bends and fast descents along with two gruelling ascents of Stamford Bank before heading back to the finish.
It was Hall’s second win in as many weeks after also clinching victory in the Cambridge University 25 (including the BUCS Championship) last weekend in 56-35.
In a close finish Hall was chased all the way by Megan Dickerson (Škoda DSI Cycling Academy) in 1-58-18 while Jessica Rhodes-Jones (AeroCoach) rounded off the podium positions in 1-58-57
First veteran on scratch was Denise Burrows (AeroCoach) who clocked a time of 2-13-57 beating Claire Fudge (Beacon Roads CC) into second (2-21-18).
“It was interesting,” said Hall. “It was really hilly with over 1,100 metres of climbing in 60 kilometres and there wasn’t much difference between riding on a time trial bike or a road bike.
“It would probably have been quicker on the descents on a road bike as some of the descents were really quite quick.”
Renowned for her climbing ability Rebecca Richardson (Team Brother UK) took victory in the road bike category on her first outing of the season.
Richardson who finished third in the 2019 National Hill Climb Championships completed the course in 1-59-18.
She was pushed all the way by Nicola Juniper (Team Echelon) who had to settle for second again, as she did in last week’s Gloucester City CC 25, posting a time of 1-59-36 on this occasion.
Completing the women’s podium positions was veteran Celia Brown (Gorilla Coffee Cycling Club) who finished in 2-09-42 ahead of second vet woman Jessica Posnett (Droitwich Cycling Club) in 2-23-17.
In the junior category juvenile rider Sophie Heighton (Ferryhill Whs) completed the course in 2-39-48.
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