We love cycling at Slater Heelis, and we’re extremely proud to be sponsoring local cycling team Sunport Velo this season. Sunsport have been having a brilliant season so far, consistently placing extremely well in their races, and are currently preparing to take part in the Tour de Yorkshire, a huge cycling event and just reward for their brilliant performances so far in 2017.
Who are Sunsport Velo?
Sunsport Velo is a cycling club based in Altrincham who compete in road races, time trials, cyclocross and track races across Europe. The Sunsport team currently consists of eight rides: Vicki Fearn, Liz Burrows, Seonaid Thompson, Gabby Nordin, Lizzy Banks, Felicity Gledhill, Hannah Larbalestier, and Rosie Walsh.
The team competes in a variety of races across Europe and have quickly been gaining recognition this season after a series of excellent performances.
The season so far
It’s been a busy season so far for Sunsport, with races coming thick and fast. In fact, the riders have been working so hard that we’re unable to fit everything in, but the season started on 5th March with the Cull Cup.
The Cull Cup
Held on 5th March in Rainford, this 61km road race was a challenging way to start the season and immediately allowed Sunsport to test their skills against some of the best riders in the country in a 50-person race.
This race was made even more challenging by extreme weather conditions, with the rain lashing down so heavily that two of the races had to be shortened for the safety of the riders. Despite the challenging conditions, the Sunsport Velo team put in a fantastic performance, with Lizzy Banks finishing in 5th place after a brave ride.
The rest of the team also performed extremely well, with the full Sunsport results being:
- Lizzy Banks – 5th
- Rosie Walsh – 19th
- Jane Hellewell – 22nd
- Hannah Larbalestier – 34th
- Seonaid Thompson – 40th
Capernwray Road Race
Next up for the team was the Capernwray Road Race in Lancaster on Sunday 2nd April. This 76km race was again full of extremely good competitors, but the weather was thankfully much better than the Cull Cup.
In total, 53 people entered this race, with three riders from Sunsport taking their place at the starting line. Brilliantly supported by Rosie Walsh and Felicity Gledhill, Lizzy Banks put in another fantastic performance to win the race and earn Sunsport’s first victory of the season.
The Sunsport riders finished:
- Lizzy Banks – 1st
- Rosie Walsh – 31st
- Felicity Gledhill – 32nd
Maxxis 4 Racing Team Road Race
Six days after the Capernwray Road Race the team were back in action for the Maxxis 4 Racing Team Road Race in Rainford. This sunny, 64km race was extremely tense right to the end, with a bunch sprint finish deciding the winner.
The winner of the bunch sprint and the race was Sunsport Velo’s very own Felicity Gledhill, whose hard work paid off as she dug deep and found the energy to outpace her rivals at the very end. Felicity was the only Sunsport entrant in the 25-strong field and did the Sunsport team proud with an impressive performance.
Tour of the Wolds
The Tour of the Wolds is a brand-new cycling event this season based in Louth and the Lincolnshire Woods. At 100km long and with regular climbs the race is a massive test of endurance for any cyclist, requiring both incredible fitness levels and excellent teamwork.
Three Sunsport riders entered the race, with Lizzy Banks, Hannah Larbalestier and Rosie Walsh working hard to ensure the best result possible for the team. The race started off fast and continued at an extremely high pace throughout, with a large gap quickly opening up between the leading group and the rest of the pack, a group which Lizzy Banks worked hard to remain part of.
As the race went on Lizzy worked hard to maintain position in the group before sprinting to victory in an incredible show of speed and determination, giving Sunsport yet another victory. Overall, the Sunsport riders finished
- Lizzy Banks – 1st
- Hannah Larbalestier – 34th
- Rosie Walsh – 50th
Tour ta Malta
While three of the Sunsport team were putting in great performances in the Tour of the Wolds, Liz Burrows and Gabby Nordin were taking part in the Tour ta Malta, a huge 4-day event in the punishing Maltese heat.
Now in its 23rd year, the Tour ta Malta has gained a reputation for being one of the trickiest races on the calendar, as the riders take on four tough stages in four days. Gabby and Liz performed consistently well on the fast and bumpy circuits, winning one stage and placing consistently high in the others.
These great performances allowed Gabby to finish 6th and Liz to finish 7th overall, continuing Sunsport Velo’s wonderful start to the season.
The riders are currently working extremely hard and preparing for the upcoming races, which start with an entry into the Tour de Yorkshire. This is one of the biggest races on the calendar and we’re excited to see how the team perform against some of the best riders in the world.