Runaway wins for Katie Archibald and Jon Mould

EdinReport PI-MF-6

The Pearl Izumi and Matrix Fitness Series both made their first visits to the Capital and were presented with a tough course, based on the Grassmarket, comprising a stiff, cobbled climb up Victoria Street – hardest on the Tour according to the commentator – and a fast, sweeping descent down Candlemaker Row. With hardly a flat section to the course, apart from George IV Bridge it was predicted to provide a severe test for all concerned. And so it was to prove with both women’s and men’s races being blown apart with riders spread all over the 1.3Km course.

The main events were preceded by races for juniors and 2/3/4 Category amateurs and these gave an indication of what lay ahead for the top riders. EdinReport PI-MF-1Just before the Women’s Matrix Fitness Grand Prix started, Sir Chris Hoy – promoting his new ‘collection’ of children’s bikes – led a fifty strong group of riders round on a couple of demo laps.

Then, at 5:30 the first of the main events was lead away by the TV motorbike for a 45 minute race featuring Britain’s top female riders. Straight away it was clear that the climb was going to influence the racing as, by the second and third laps, the field had begun to split up. A leading group formed comprising the favourites and the eventual top three and this was quickly EdinReport PI-MF-2whittled down to a select few. Halfway in and Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) put in a tentative attack to try and break clear, but she was pulled back and the race settled down for a few laps. This situation didn’t last long, however and a more concerted drive off the front gave Archibald a lead which she extended lap after lap to come in alone, just over 30 seconds ahead of second-placed, Helen Wyman (Matrix Fitness Vulpine) with Claire Thomas (Velosport – Pasta Montegrappa) taking the final podium spot. Archibald also took the points competition and Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International won the team prize.

The men’s race was greeted by a much larger crowd than the women’s, probably down the more convenient start time of 7:30, but was virtually a repeat format, with the winner finishing alone. This time around, the race held together for almost the first lap behind the camera bike, before riders began to get shelled off the back of the bunch and it was very early in proceedings when the eventual podiumEdinReport PI-MF-4 finishers broke away. Jon Mould (NFTO Pro Cycling), Tom Scully (Madison Genesis) and Kristian House (Rapha Condor JLT) pulled out an early gap and were soon lapping riders as the field, again, disintegrated over the very hard course. Following the final sprint lap, Mould opened up the taps and powered away from his two rivals and eventually came across the line alone to take his third win of the 2014 series. Scully then took the sprint for third ahead of House, but they were almost the length of the Grassmarket finishing straight behind Mould. Like Archibald before him, Mould also walked away with the individual sprint prize, and Team Raleigh won the team prize.

Although neither of the main races finished with an exciting, Tour de France style, bunch sprint the crowd – three deep on some parts of Victoria Street – didn’t seem to mind and fully appreciated the tremendous efforts by all the riders, both amateur and Professional.

Images from the races will be available here over the next few days