Tour of Britain Diaries With Alba Development Road Team

This year, Parcours is very excited to support Alba Development Road Team. A Scottish based Women’s UCI Continental Cycling team, that prides itself on athlete development and really looking after the cyclists, their well being and health. Hoping to set the athletes up for success and moving on wards and upwards in the women’s Pro peloton.

The Alba Development Road team, were invited to race in The 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain, a 4 day stage race from Thursday 6th June to Sunday 9th June, with the best riders in the country taking on global stars on home turf in the UK. For the team, it’s their first time in a World Tour Race, so congratulations on just being in the start, a huge accomplishment!

For more information on the race https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/tobwomenroute

 

We are going to follow the team in a daily diary, or insider scoop, with a different rider each day, recapping the stage.

The Tour of Britain – Thursday 6th June 2024

Stage 1: Welshpool to Llandundo

Distance 142.5km

Elevation 2,276m

Alba Development road Team ride: Arianne Holland

Arianne is in her second season riding for the team, after making huge strides in 2023. This is her first World Tour Race. Arianne or I should really say Dr. Arianne Holland is also a vet!

The morning of the team’s first world tour race – nerves and excitement were high. With the sun and the crowds out in Welshpool to see us off, we started the 142km day with 2200m of climbing ahead of us. Quickly into narrow lanes and tough rolling parcours, we settled into the bunch and what was sure to be a hard day out. The main climb of the day, 6km at 5%, saw splits over the top but it all came back together with a long way still to go.  It settled again before the second QOM, a shorter climb that was ridden hard with a technical descent through the trees to follow. Again, the majority of the bunch came back together, with an eventual small group of 9 going off the front and a bunch finish following behind. Eilidh Shaw, the youngest rider in the race (just aged 19), was our first to finish in an amazing 21st, and sits 4th in the Young Rider Jersey!


To be part of the women’s Tour of Britain is a massive opportunity for the team, and for each of us as individuals. To stand on a start line with the current world champion (Lotte Kopecky (Belgium, Team SD Worx-Protime), and to watch and learn from those more experienced teams and riders will provide invaluable experience to us all.

Now to do it all again tomorrow!

The Tour of Britain – Friday 7th June 2024

Stage 2: The Wrexham Stage

Distance 140.2km

Elevation 1570

Alba Development road Team ride: Amelia Tyler

We already met Amelia earlier in the year when she recounted her experience at the CiCle Classic, where she finished 5th, and her team mate Eilidh Shaw finished 2nd. Both races in the Alba Development squad racing The 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain, Amelia gives us an insight into the second day of this World Tour Race.

Stage 2

On day two of the woman's tour, the legs were already feeling fairly tired.  The team moral, however, had not fatigued and we were all excited to start the 140km day in Wrexham.  Horseshoe Pass was todays main feature, a 4km climb with a lot of steep kicks!  The teams’ objective was to be positioned well into the climb to avoid the chaos of team lead outs pulling off.  Twenty minute climbs are a rarity in the UK racing but they are always grippy and tough on British tarmac.  Also, Horseshoe Pass climb was 109km into the race so attrition was an additional factor.  The first 30km was incredibly active as the peloton weaved through towns and along narrow country lanes.  We passed many schools in these towns where all the children had come out to cheer.  It feels really special having local support for bike racing, hopefully events like this inspires more girls to get on their bikes.  

World Champion Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx-Protime) won Stage 2, extending her lead in the overall classification. Alba Development Road Team rider, Eilidh Shaw, currently sits in 6th on the Young Rider classification

The Tour of Britain – Saturday 8th June 2024

Stage 3: The Warrington Stage

Distance 106.8km

Elevation 792m

Alba Development road Team ride: Beth Morrow

Beth joined Alba Development road team in 2024 having had a disrupted 2023 with injury.

Beth gives us an brief insight to the race, and then behind the scenes of the post race activities required in a stage race. 

Stage 3 was a fairly flat stage, so a designated sprint stage but that didn’t stop us attacking the race from the get go, three of our girls getting up the road at different points, one being Emma Dimbleby who counter attacked over the top of one of the QoM climbs, with 65km to go. The race however, finished in a big bunch sprint with Eilidh Shaw finishing in the top twenty (16th)! 

Post race we either spin on rollers or on the road while having a recovery shake. We then sometimes we have food at the van or once we get back to our accommodation, depending on timings. We are staying in a hotel with a few other teams from the race which is really nice! We continue the recovery process with a massage and dinner, while our mechanic sorts the bikes for the next day. We also have team meeting about the race covering what went well and anything to work on. We also discuss the next days stage - the parcours and key points such as steep climbs or extreme narrowing roads.

3 days done, 1 more to go!

(It was another stage win for SD Worx-Protime, but this time with Lorena Wiebes taking the sprint stage top spot. No real change in the general classification with Lotte Kopecky still in the lead, 17seconds ahead of British Team athlete Anna Henderson.)
 

The Tour of Britain – Sunday 9th June 2024

Stage 4: Manchester to Leigh

Distance 99.2

Elevation 1616m

Alba Development road Team ride: Abi Plowman

Abi is another new rider for Alba in 2024. Abi is an adventure enthusiast, with a love of hiking, bike packing and just anything outdoors. She’s also an artist – check out her Instagram @abimakesprints

As we head into the fourth and final stage of the 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain, Abi takes us through the day!

We knew it was going to be a hard final stage today, and fuelling was going to be especially important. We had quite a spread at breakfast - porridge, rice, bagels, eggs, yoghurt, fruit, a few cups of coffee, and of course the jar of Nutella is never far away! We also always have a supply of Elaine’s homemade rice cakes in the team van to keep us topped up on the way to the race.

Stage 4 was one for the punchy riders, relentlessly up and down with lots of short but steep climbs including the infamous Ramsbottom Rake. The climbing started as soon as the flag dropped and it only got tougher from there. Eilidh had another great result in the main bunch, and Beth and Arianne fought through the (typically northern) conditions to finish strongly despite many riders retiring.

I unfortunately cramped out of the race today, which of course I’m disappointed about but I had a fun ride in the broom wagon instead. It made it clear that it really does take a village to make a bike race happen - you get to see and hear a totally different side of things with all the drama in the convoy and the constant updates coming over the radio.

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all learnt a huge amount from the last few days, adjusting to the different style, speed and structure of world tour racing. For most of us it’s our first time in a peloton of this level and it’s been a real privilege.


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