Michelle Vella Wood wins the 2015 National Cycling Road Race Championships.

Birkirkara St. Joseph’s Michelle Vella Wood continued to show her prowess in the cycling world by taking the 2015 National Cycling Road Race Championship Title.

The National Cycling Road Race Championships consisted of a series of three road races, with the first held on the San Martin circuit on the 26th of April. The women’s race consisted of five loops for a distance of approximately 43km, with a two-kilometre climb with an average of 6% grade in each loop. Vella Wood attacked hard from the start and kept well with the top males in the over 40 category.  Although losing contact with the front two men in the second lap, Vella Wood held on to the lead taking first place with an advantage of approximately a minute over second placed Danica Bonello Spiteri of Team Greens in  second place. Steph Alden from The Cyclist placed third.  The second race was held on the Ta’ Penellu circuit on the 10th of May. Again the women’s race consisted of 5 loops for a distance of around 30km with a climb of similar difficulty as in the first race, in each loop. Again Vella Wood attacked hard from the start and was able to stay with the lead 40+ men. During the fourth climb Vella Wood took the lead and held it till the end, finishing ten seconds ahead of the first 40+ men’s category and three mins ahead of second placed cyclist, Marie Claire Aquilina (Team Greens) and Steph Alden of The Cyclist who placed third. 

The final race of the Championships was held on the 30th of May on the Zurrieq circuit. This time, the women’s race consisted of six loops for a distance of around 58km and included a short but steep climb to the finish line in each lap. The race started very fast, with an average speed of 38km/hr for the first lap. Due to the relatively flat topology, the group stayed together. Midway through the second loop, a number of persons were brought down when the group contracted to avoid a short centre strip. The Saints' cyclist was unfortunately caught in this pile-up but luckily avoided major injury and damage to the bike. After getting back on, she fought very hard to get back in the group. By the end of the third lap she had caught the front female, Steph Alden, although the front 40+men had already opened a wide gap. Although she made a number of attempts, the flat course made it difficult to launch a successful attack. It came down to a final sprint, which Steph Alden easily took, her past experience in athletics sprinting and long jump coming in handy. 

With two wins and a second place, Vella Wood earned 575 points to win the National Championship, followed by Steph Alden (The Cylclist) with 510 points.

In between Vella Wood’s local cycling commitments, the BSJ cyclist took the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the Banbury Star women’s team series road race on the 24th May in Oxfordshire in the UK. This event featured around 70 women including a number of elite, 1st and 2nd category riders, covering 70km over 3 loops including a quite long 14% gradient climb in each loop. Vella Wood was happy to find that she was able to keep with the front group until the final sprint, though lack of experience here made the last kilometre quite tough. She finished 36th overall having sustained an average speed of 35km/hr. 

These races prove Vella Wood’s consistent form as she continues with her preparations for the forthcoming European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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