Updated: Friday, 24th November 2017 @ 8:08am

Role models: Manchester's Dame Sarah Storey wants Tour de Yorkshire repeat

Role models: Manchester's Dame Sarah Storey wants Tour de Yorkshire repeat

| By Jack Miller

Dame Sarah Storey is hopeful that a thrilling debut for women’s cycling at the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire will lead to even more integration with men’s tours and road races.

 

 

 

The 37-year-old, who has eleven Paralympic gold medals to her name having competed in both swimming and cycling, rode in the women’s race on Saturday around four laps of a 20km circuit of York city centre.

Storey finished 42nd overall, but the Manchester-born athlete controlled the field for her Pearl Izumi Sports Tours team, sitting at the front to make sure no other riders could make a break stick.

And thanks to Storey reining in the leaders, the title came title came down to a thrilling bunch sprint and photo finish with her teammate Katie Curtis making the podium in third.

Eileen Roe of Wiggle Honda was pipped into second by IKON-Mazda’s Louise Mahe, who claimed the winner’s jersey for the brand new event.

“It was a hard race,” said Storey. “I was in charge of pulling back the breaks and making it as hard as possible for anyone to get away.

“I managed to make the race as strung out as it was to lose some numbers, and that makes it easier for your teammates to move up in the field.

“I had a bit attack to bring back Anna Christian on the final lap, which kind of ruined me a little bit for the lead-out so I wasn’t really there at the end.

“But it was an amazing race to be a part of and the crowds were absolutely fantastic.

“We’re really happy to get Katie on the podium in this as it was a really hard race to control and we were with the same girls right from the start.

“Louise Mahe was really impressive as was Hayley Simmonds and Anna Christian. So it’s incredible to see such a motivated group of girls and such a fast race as well.”

Storey has been in scintillating form of late, beating double Olympic and UK road race champion Laura Trott by 34 seconds to win the Cheshire Classic on home roads the weekend previously.

And having soaked up the atmosphere offered by the raucous crowd in attendance throughout the Tour de Yorkshire, Storey is thrilled the women’s racers are increasingly being given the opportunity to share in the spectacle.

 

 

She said: “I’m feeling good at the moment. I’d been on holiday until six days before the Cheshire Classic so it’s a big confidence boost that lying on the beach hadn't ruined me completely.

“This week we fly to the Tour of California, and it’s a similar set-up there that we have here, with the women integrated into the same event.

“I think it’s a blueprint that really works and hopefully we start to see more and more races doing it.

“It’s huge having these kind of events in the UK and it just shows that there are female role models out there in cycling.

“We’ve got so many younger under-23 girls here as well as the old grandmas like me, and cycling is such an all-inclusive sport.

“You can get masters, paracylists, juniors and professionals in the same race, and that community is what it’s all about.”

Yorkshire Bank is an Official Partner of the Tour de Yorkshire and the ground-breaking Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries initiative. Visit www.ybonline.co.uk

Main image courtesy of ucichannel via YouTube, with thanks.