Hidden Leaves

Hidden Leaves

A silver birch with red and orange leaves. Its skinny trunk dancing to the wind. It stands alone and proud, soaking in the last of the autumn sun before winter comes. A rain storm the night before has left the air feeling fresh and the sky blue. There is a big group heading out for a long ride into the hills and I’m going to join them.

But before then, the final race of the season, the nerves, the anticipation, the last pedal strokes in anger.

Bergen World Championships 2017

Bergen World Championships 2017

World Championships can change your whole season in one race. A good day means finishing the year on a high. My heart would love to win but my head knows it’ll be extremely difficult.

Over the last decade Great Britain has won grand tours, world titles and Olympic medals by the bucketload so when I put on the red, white and blue jersey I feel the pressure. Unlike many women’s races, this one is televised so the whole world can watch. Knowing my grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends are at home watching gives me an extra motivation to be aggressive and race my heart out.

Last year in Bergen was my third elite World Championships and I will always remember it. I felt good and didn’t want to hold back. The course was challenging but suited my riding style, and I loved every second [Hannah animated the race’s finale with her strong riding to finish in 14th place]. I was overwhelmed with the comments and interviews after the race. I felt that it was the first time I had been recognised by the national media and it gave me great motivation for winter training.

The racing season is long and an emotional rollercoaster. One weekend you could have a great race but the next weekend you could find yourself struggling to stay with the peloton so finishing Worlds and the final race of the season is a relief. Afterwards, I just want to celebrate with the rest of the women’s peloton. For the majority of us, it’s the first opportunity in a long time that we can let our hair down. We don't have to worry about what we eat or drink, or what time we go to bed – it’s all rather bizarre.

I sometimes wonder if I enjoy the off season too much. It’s a time to recover physically but also, possibly even more importantly for me, to recover mentally. Cycling is my profession, my love, my whole being, but the month where I don't put a helmet on, calibrate my power metre or fill my water bottles is my favourite time of the year. I can live a little, enjoy seeing my family and friends, go on crazy late nights and eat a big pizza followed by a bowl of ice cream.


This month of freedom flies by and soon it’s time to squeeze back into lycra and start building my fitness ahead of next season. I’m not going to say I enjoy the first slow rides back because I don’t. I spend them hating my bike, but I know the only way I’m going to start feeling better is to keep riding. 

Once I start to feel fit I am in love with cycling all over again. It doesn't take me long to get back into the routine of training well, eating well and sleeping well. My first two weeks of winter training doesn't need much structure so the length of my rides are often decided with companions. I enjoy being an adventure cyclist, discovering hidden roads and climbs, relishing the freedom of the long social rides.


I slowly start incorporating intervals into my training. The off season is officially over. The summer combination of shorts and jersey is long gone and the layers of merino are increasing with each week that passes. My mood doesn’t change. I love this time of year. The roads are quiet, mornings start with a bowl of hot porridge and there is no feeling of panic about form. There is no worry yet about power numbers or how your legs are. Then Christmas comes and feelings of apprehension for the coming season slowly appear along with the harder training plan. It’s winter. The new season is nearly here.


Designed in close collaboration with Hannah, the collection’s striking geometric pattern traces the outline of a fallen leaf while the colour palette draws inspiration from the bright colours of autumn, from the deep greens of September to the rusty reds of November.


GP Plouay.

GP Plouay.

CANYON//SRAM Racing is preparing to race in the UCI Women’s WorldTour Grand Prix Plouay. The team for the road race on Saturday 25th August will be Elena Cecchini, Tiffany Cromwell, Kasia Niewiadoma, Alexis Ryan and Trixi Worrack. Completing the six-rider roster will be Hannah Barnes, who returns for her first race since breaking her collarbone at the Giro Rosa six weeks ago.

Barnes said her motivation to race in GP Plouay is as high as ever.

“I’m excited to be back racing. I am really looking forward to meeting up with the team again and getting stuck in. GP Plouay is always an exciting race with a nice course so I’m happy to be returning there,” said Barnes. 

The 125km undulating course remains unchanged from the last two years, where Cecchini and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot both crossed the line in second place. Barnes predicts another strong performance from her CANYON//SRAM Racing teammates.

“We have a good team and I believe we can race well. I’m expecting an aggressive race. There is always a great atmosphere and with the course having so many different elements you have to be really attentive and smart in how you race.”

“We’ve had two podium finishes the past years so we can be confident that we can achieve that again this year. It’s my first race back after injury so it’s always a bit unknown but I have been feeling good in training and my physio has been going well so I don’t see why I can’t play a big part in our team performance,” suggested Barnes.

Words by Beth Duryea. 

CANYON//SRAM race a new design at The OVO Energy Women's Tour.

CANYON//SRAM race a new design at The OVO Energy Women's Tour.

CANYON//SRAM Racing will swap out its usual striking team colours for a new design at this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour from 13 to 17 June, 2018.

The team will race a new design across its Canyon bikes, Zipp wheels, Rapha kit, Giro helmets and Boa dials for the five-day UCI Women’s WorldTour stage race. The design is based on Rapha Women’s 100, an event to inspire female cyclists across the world to come together to ride 100km on the same day.

Lara Kazakos, Rapha Pro Teams Marketing Executive:

“As a team racing at the highest level of the sport who share in Rapha’s aspiration for more women to ride bikes, we’re so excited that CANYON//SRAM will change out to the Rapha Women’s 100 kit at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. We hope to inspire women all over the world to ride the Rapha Women’s 100 together on 15th September.”

One of the supreme races on the women’s calendar, the team chose OVO Energy Women’s Tour as an opportunity to highlight its partner’s collaborative efforts. 

Beth Duryea, CANYON//SRAM Racing Marketing and Communications:

“We expect this change out in design will bring even more attention to a fantastic tour that has since its inception five years ago, been the leading race on the women’s calendar. Thanks to each of our partners that joined forces to help create a stunning result! We want to use this opportunity to have more people following our team’s animated racing style, to generate more fans of women’s cycling, and ultimately see more women riding bikes and loving it!”

It's no surprise that the OVO Energy Women's Tour is one of the favourite races of Alice Barnes, the team's young British rider who is confirmed to start in the opening stage from Framlingham to Southwold in Suffolk, UK on Wednesday 13 June.

“Racing in Britain always bring extra motivation with friends and family coming to watch. The crowds are always amazing and the racing is super tough. I love that every year we have hundreds of school children lining the route and the opportunity to inspire them. It makes for a good, fun week of racing,” said Barnes.

Barnes claimed the team will be prominent with its new colours but also with its exciting style of racing. 

“I love the design of this year’s Rapha Women’s 100 kit and I’m looking forward to racing it. It’s really special that our partners have collaborated to make us stand out and to show off the design across our bikes and kit at the tour. We want to bring attention to our team not just with the design but with how we race as a team next week, and we hope it inspires women to set their own goals and prepare to take part in the Rapha Women’s 100 on 15 September.”

While the Rapha kit will be available online on 12 June, Canyon also plans a limited-edition release of the bike design. Bonnie Mavis, Canyon Bicycles Women's Category Manager:

“Canyon is excited to offer a special edition run of bikes in this year’s stunning Rapha Women’s 100 design to riders worldwide later this summer. Follow Canyon on social and sign up to their newsletter to be the first to know when these will be available.”

The Team

The team will line up with a roster of Alena Amialiusik, British sisters Alice and Hannah Barnes, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, German road champion Lisa Klein, and defending champion Kasia Niewiadoma.

The Stages

Stage 1. 129.5km from Framlingnam to Southwold. Race starts at 10:30. 

Stage 1. 129.5km from Framlingnam to Southwold. Race starts at 10:30. 

Stage 2. 143.9km from Rushden to Daventry. Race starts at 10:30.

Stage 2. 143.9km from Rushden to Daventry. Race starts at 10:30.

Stage 3. 150.4km from Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa. Starts at 10:00.

Stage 3. 150.4km from Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa. Starts at 10:00.

Stage 4. 131km from Evesham to Worcester. Starts at 10:30. 

Stage 4. 131km from Evesham to Worcester. Starts at 10:30. 

Stage 5. 122.6km from Dolgellau to Colwny Bay. Starts at 10:30.

Stage 5. 122.6km from Dolgellau to Colwny Bay. Starts at 10:30.

Follow the OVO Energy Women’s Tour with #OVOWT and #UCIWWT and watch daily highlights on ITV, Freeview, Freesat, Virgin Media and Sky (UK). 

The Ronde van Vlaanderen.

The Ronde van Vlaanderen.

CANYON//SRAM Racing and I will race the iconic, Ronde van Vlaanderen in Belgium on Sunday 1st April. The team’s line up for 'Flanders' is Elena Cecchini, Lisa Klein, Kasia Niewiadoma, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Trixi Worrack and I. 

Ronny Lauke, my Sports Director and Team Manager admitted that the decision of the final six riders for CANYON//SRAM Racing to start on Sunday hadn’t been an easy one. “It’s the first time for a long time that we’ve had a real problem to figure out which six riders are the best for the race. We’ve been forced to make some uncomfortable decisions because we now have such a strong group of riders to choose from,” 

The prestige, history and atmosphere combined with the brutal physical and mental demands of Ronde van Vlaanderen makes it a race that every rider wants to win in her career.

My team mate Pauline believes that the harder the race the more sweet the victory, and Flanders is hard!!

“It’s an iconic name in the sport. The conditions riders face, the climbs, the cobbles, you need to have so much quality as a rider to win it. I think that every rider wants to prove that they are something special" says Ronny Lauke. 

After a successful start to the spring races Ronny believes we can go into Ronde van Vlaanderen with confidence and with several options to play.

We took our first one-day WorldTour victory (Trofeo Alfredo Binda) 2 weeks ago and we are now in the position where we don’t need to be nervous about getting the victory but now we know how to make it happen. We are all very excited about tomorrow and we hope to perform well and leave an impression on the 2018 edition. 

The 151km Ronde van Vlaanderen covers five cobblestone sections and eleven climbs. This year's course is almost identical to the 2017 edition that was won from a 19-rider sprint, one of the biggest groups to come to the line together since Ina-Yoko Teutenberg won in 2009.

The race starts at 10:55 CET on Sunday 1 April and can be followed on Twitter with #UCIWWT and #RVVwomen. It will be broadcast live on Canvas-Sporza from 13:35 CET.


The 2018 season begins - Setmana Cyclist Valenciana

The 2018 season begins - Setmana Cyclist Valenciana


CANYON//SRAM racing and I will start the 2018 road season with the four-day stage race; Setmana Ciclista Valenciana in Spain. The race starts on the Thursday 22nd February and will run until the Sunday 25th February. I will line up alongside Alena Amialiusik, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Kasia Niewiadoma, Tanja Erath and Christa Riffel. 

The tour at a glance:

Stage 1 Rótova - Gandía. A 118km stage with two climbs each 6km in length. The second from Barx has an average gradient of 6% with the summit coming only 13km's from the finish line. This stage could shape the GC for the remainder of the race.

Stage 2 Castelló - Vila Real. A 115km day based around the coastal town of Castelló. It's anticipated as a possible stage for the sprinters however the 7km 8% climb of Desert de Les Palmes comes 45kms from the finish and could add some drama. Four corners in the final kilometre may play into the cards for a well-timed attack.

Stage 3 Sagunt - València. Spectators in the departure town of Sagunt will see the peloton for both intermediate sprints of the day. Then while the peloton climb the long but gradual, L'Oronet the spectators can make their way to the centre of Valencia where they'll see the winner cross the line after the 137km stage.

Stage 4 Benidorm - Benidorm. We will be back on familiar roads on the tour's final stage. We have had our recent team training camp based out of Benidorm so we have seen the final stage and know what to expect and I believe it will be a very challenging day. The three laps of the 38km circuit will decide the winner of the second edition of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.

Watch the final of every stage here, or follow on Twitter with #SCV2018.


Kasia Niewiadoma, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and I were in a 9-rider breakaway that, with more than three minutes advantage at one point, stayed away to the finish. I won the sprint ahead of Ashleigh Moolman (CBT), who also finished second on the general classification.

After losing the orange leader's jersey yesterday my motivation was high. We had a really cool team plan going into the final stage and we were all really excited for it.

The team had a lot of confidence in me which made me believe in myself too. I knew it was going to be a hard day but after all the work the staff and riders have put into this race, and also our recent training camp, I couldn't not give it everything.  We've worked really hard as a team and this is a great reward for the riders and staff.

My next race will be Strade Bianchi on Saturday 3rd March. 

Prudential Ride London Classique Preview

Prudential Ride London Classique Preview

The Prudential Ride London Classique is a UCI Women’s World Tour race, the highest level of race in professional women's cycling and a status it has maintained for the second year in concession. The race attracts manyof the best World Tour Women's teams due to it's unique venue and aggressive racing. It is also, famously, the richest race on the Women’s calendar, with a huge prize pot of €100,000. The €25,000 the winner takes home dwarfs any other race throughout the year.

I have taken part in the Prudential Ride London Classique ever since the first edition back in 2013, where I claimed second place behind multiple Olympic Champion Laura Trott.

The course is fairly flat with only a slight drag up Constitution Hill. The route passes Big Ben before turning left on to Whitehall and right on to the Strand, turning again to come back up the Strand in the opposite direction, before going through Trafalgar Square and Admiralty Arch and finally back on to The Mall.

As you can see from the description above, there are lots of corners for the peloton to negotiate. And due to the nature of this course, the race is always aggressive with many teams taking advantage of the twists and turns to encourage a break to get away. That said, the majority of teams go to the event predicting a bunch sprint, so have their team sprinter saving energy, while the remaining riders control the peloton, making sure they give their sprinter the best opportunity to cross the line with her arms aloft, celebrating the win.

You will be able to watch us roll away from St James’s Park at 17:00pm on Saturday the 29th July. We will race past the start/finish arena twelve times, so there is plenty of opportunities for you to cheer us on and see some of the biggest names in the women's peloton.

The Canyon/SRAM team for The Prudential Ride London Classique is Hannah Barnes (GBR) Lisa Brennauer (GER) Alexis Ryan (USA) Barbara Guarschi (ITA) Mieke Kroger (GER) Trixi Worrack (GER