Lauren’s on a high with wins, as Penny puts pedal down at Skills Challenge

PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 August 2017

Lauren Higham celebrates her win in Chichester

Lauren Higham celebrates her win in Chichester

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Stevenage youngster Lauren Higham has made an impressive start to life with new cycling team Liv AWOL.

Cycling UK Stevenage rider Penny Schenkel was first woman at the Skills Challenge Cycling UK Stevenage rider Penny Schenkel was first woman at the Skills Challenge

Higham, 15, took part in a women’s race on the Lee Valley Velopark road circuit last Friday, having gained enough points this year to gain senior entry.

And after a cagey start over the opening laps, two riders made a break from the main group, but Higham bided her time and then bridged the gap to pass one of the front runners.

Higham and her co-leader rode well together until the closing stages, when they were caught by the peloton, but the teenager timed her final sprint perfectly to win the category three race and finish fifth overall.

Moving on to the Chichester Festival of Cycling on Saturday, which takes place around the historic town centre and cathedral, including cobbled sections in the old town, Higham broke away in a group of six after an aggressive early pace.

Fast straights and slow corners seemed to give Higham a slight advantage, as she was only allowed to ride her youth gearing, which meant she was quicker out of the corners.

As the laps counted down, Higham was still in the hunt and able to keep up with the pace due to the slipstreaming effect from the lead women.

Then on the penultimate lap, as the pace increased further, Higham came out of the bottom corner leading onto the finish straight.

Sprinting hard, with several bike lengths advantage, Higham took advantage of two lapped riders to ensure her path to the finish was clear as she crossed the line in first place, while also having the fastest lap of the race.

*Penny Schenkel, from Cycling UK Stevenage, was first woman up the hill and second overall in the Skills Challenge on Sunday.

Stuart Higham was first overall after three events, winning the hill climb in four minutes 21 seconds ahead of Jason Morris (4.46) and Schenkel (5.07).

Jim Brown (5.14) was first veteran, with Nicola Morris (5.31) the second woman and Kieran Higham (5.56) first junior.

Sophia Morris (6.09) was first junior girl, with Malcolm Nye (5.38), Alan Baxter (6.01) and John Blowes (6.15) also in the top 10.

When the other skills, pace judging over a 10k circuit and freewheeling, were taken into account Stuart Higham pipped Schenkel to top spot.

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