The popular Ripley Castle Cyclocross has broken new ground and launched a stand alone women’s race for its New Year’s Day renewal.
For the first time, the women’s race has been built into a 100-strong stand-alone race for women entitled ‘RCCX100’.
The annual event has become one of the highlights of the region’s cycling calendar since its first running in 2013.
In 2015, 523 competitors participated in the Ripley Cyclocross, which was promoted by Harrogate Nova Cycling Club, and there was more than 1,000 spectators.
The 1.8 mile scenic course combines technical challenges with fast stretches on a variety of surfaces, from grassland to cobbles.
“Since launching Ripley Cyclocross back in 2013, we have been committed to developing women’s cycling; from day one, we have offered equal prizes to both genders,” said race director Steve Smales.
“It is fantastic to see our biggest ambition of building our women’s race into the exciting 100-strong stand-alone race that we all know it should be, finally coming to fruition.”
One of the sports rising stars, 18-year-old Amira Mellor, of Brockholes, Halifax, won last year’s women’s race when it was part of the Vet-50 race and was on hand to launch the new class.
Smales added: “Amira is the leading young female cyclocross rider based in the UK and will be among a very strong field - we look forward to an exciting race, showcasing some of the country’s strongest women’s cycling talent.”