Fitzek and Juniper take the honours in ideal conditions

Nicola Juniper crosses the line first in Sunday's race
Nicola Juniper crosses the line first in Sunday's race

Gregory Fitzek and Nicola Juniper took the honours in Sunday’s Banbury Star Cyclists Club’s annual road races.

A capacity field of 80 riders for both men’s and women’s races enjoyed dry roads and some great racing on the three lap, 45 mile course.

The men’s race for Category 3/4 riders, sponsored by the Chandlers Arms, Epwell, was the first race away.

That got off to a fast start with about a dozen riders making an early and what turned out to be a decisive break from the main peloton. On the third lap however a few riders dropped off this leading bunch leaving just five riders in contention for the win.

A great sprint finish therefore ensued with Fitzek (Cowley Road Condors) taking the win, followed by Tony Kiss (Absolute Black Racing Team) who stole second place from a surprised Jonny Morris (Derby Mercury RC) right on the line.

Three local riders finished in the top ten. Billy Leason, Daniel Marron and Leon O’Rourke, all representing Shutt Velo Rapide, finished in fifth, seventh and eighth position.

The women’s race for Elite & Category 1/2/3 riders, sponsored by Banbury’s Broadribb Cycles, was round four of British Cycling’s Women’s Team Series.

Like the men’s contest, this race got off to another fast start, with only a small number of riders dropping off the main peloton after the first lap. However, during the second lap the field split into two main bunches as the second ascent of Edge Hill took its inevitable toll.

During the third and final lap these bunches then started to fragment with a final group of around a dozen riders in contention for another sprint finish. Juniper, an elite rider and winner in 2015, took the overall win with a strong sprint from Georgina Penchaud and Tamara Davenne.