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Cycling: Harriet Owen wins Health Tech Grand Prix Series
Harriet Owen (pictured) took her first ever Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series victory in Peterborough, winning Round Two of the 2012 Series from a three rider break.
Also in the lead group was Oxford heroine Annie Simpson, who took second on the road to keep her Series lead by just two points over Hannah Barnes, the third member of the victorious escape.
The trio escaped early on in the race, moving clear in response to an attack by Owen’s Node4 – Giordana Racing teammate, Junior World Champion, Lucy Garner. The three worked well together to build their lead, which was never threatened.
Coming into the finale, Owen outsprinted Simpson and Barnes, with Series leader Simpson full of praise for the winner, admitting afterwards that Owen was the stronger rider and had deserved to win.
“Harriet’s a very deserved winner, she’s so strong and she went at the end and I couldn’t hold her,” said Simpson. “I knew to keep the overall I had to beat Hannah Barnes and I was just thinking that as I was sprinting.
“That was much harder than Oxford, the course was more demanding than Oxford. We really had to keep pushing as we went so early I wasn’t feeling my best at all tonight; in Oxford I felt really good but tonight I was glad I was in a break with some really strong riders.
“I didn’t really enjoy it, but it’s nice to be over and to have kept the jersey. I kept both jerseys and I couldn’t ask for anything more really.”
Speaking afterwards Harriet Owen said, “I just went eyeballs out and hoped that someone would come with me, and it stuck. We all worked really well together so got quite a good lead.
“I knew I felt quite good, but I knew Hannah Barnes had a good sprint and Annie would go for a long one as well, so I had to chance it and go for a long one as if I could get the gap I’d be able to hold it, and it paid off!”
Simpson’s lead is just two points over Barnes, with Node4 – Giordana Racing Lucy Garner and Corrine Hall third and fourth on 32 and 28 points respectively, while defending champion Helen Wyman lies fifth on 26 points.
Highlights of Round Two can be seen as a part of The Halfords Tour Series on ITV4 at 20:00 on Wednesday 29 May.
Round Three of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series takes place at 17:30 in Colchester on Thursday 7 June.
Lizzie Flint, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine