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Roe and Roberts take Silver and Bronze in GB Criterium Championships

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Eileen Roe was just unable to successfully defend her Great Britain Criterium Championships around the centre of Barnsley, Yorkshire, as she was beaten to the line by Nikki Juniper (Giordana-Triton). The 25-year-old Scottish rider, who has only just returned from a fractured bone in her hand, was forced to settle for Silver, while the podium was completed by teammate Amy Roberts, who had dominated the race with her constant attacks.

“It’s alright,” Roe smiled. “I’m obviously a bit disappointed to lose the jersey, but considering I broke my knuckle and had to ride with a cast on tonight, I suppose it’s quite good. I’m trying not to sound negative here; I am really happy with Silver, especially not having raced for six weeks.

“We were outnumbered a wee bit as well, because me and Amy were just by ourselves. She rode super as well! She was gone solo, and I wish she’d just kept it going for a wee bit longer because she would have broken them.”

With heavy rain falling throughout much of the race, the course – which featured a number of cobbled corners – was slippery, and the early part of the race was marred by several crashes. Both Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders managed to avoid any incident, however, as they battled the numerical superiority of Juniper’s Giordana-Triton team at the front.

“It started to rain and, because part of the course was on sort of slabs, they were really slippy,” Roe explained. “We were lucky not to come down I think, because lots of people did.

“Nikki’s had really good form this season, not just in the circuits but in road races too,” she said of new champion Juniper.

The Championship was Roe’s first race since her training crash in June that saw her fracture a bone in her hand and consign her to her indoor trainer for several weeks.

“I have to admit that I am missing that snap, and I did find jumping out of the corners and stuff a bit heavy,” she said. “I’ve been on the turbo for three weeks, so I’m maybe missing that bit of fitness in finishing it off.

“I’m happy with Silver, and if you’d offered it to me six weeks ago when I decked it in Belgium I’d have been really happy with it!”

Roberts’ attacks in the closing laps served to string out the front group, which fluctuated between four and eight, as riders were dropped and managed to rejoin. The final lap saw a far more tactical race, however, and Roe was just unable to come around Juniper on the uphill sprint to the line.

“It was alright. I tried,” Roberts said. “In the end Eileen and I were outnumbered. I wasn’t sure how I’d fare in a sprint, to be honest, and I haven’t done a crit for a while so I thought I might as well keep trying. It whittled it down, but we were still outnumbered; It came to a sprint, but I completely messed the sprint up. But overall it was pretty good. I could rely on Eileen not to chase it down; the others were chasing it down, which was a bit frustrating. At times we’d get a gap, but then their teammates would chase it down…

“It was good that Eileen and I both got on the podium. We’ve both had a few setbacks so overall it was okay. We didn’t get the stripes back, which is a bit gutting, and I obviously wanted to win quite a lot, but ‘oh well.’

“I tried, but it wasn’t to be.”

Roberts was part of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s team in Sunday’s La Course by Le Tour de France, in Paris, but was victim to one of the race’s many crashes.

“Paris was so frustrating, but this was alright,” she smiled. “You kind of got used to it with so many laps. There were a lot of crashes though. We tried to stay up the front, so we were out of danger as much as possible.”

Both Roe and Roberts will line up for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling on the Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace, for the Prudential RideLondon on Saturday. With their strong performances in the National Criterium, both will start the prestigious Olympic Legacy event with confidence.

“I’m looking forward to Saturday because the team’s a great line up,” said Roe. “Amy’s going really well, and I feel quite strong, so I think the team will come away with a result.”

“This gives me a bit of confidence,” Roberts added. “I felt quite good, so hopefully I can help out in London and we’ll see what happens.”

1. Nikki Juniper (Giordana-Triton)
2. Eileen Roe (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Amy Roberts (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

Photo Credit: Allan McKenzie/

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