The 93rd running of this hill climb classic, organised Sheffrec Cycling Club and partnered by VeloViewer, has an exceptional field with 196 entries – including six former winners.
The senior men’s category is expected to be a very close run race for the podium places. Unsurprisingly, with so many riders and the event being one of the most – if not the most – prestigious event on the hill climb calendar, there are a many potential winners.
This year two-time winner and the second fastest rider in the events history, Calum Brown, is back after being absent last year. Brown will want to stamp his authority after a convincing win at Hardwick Hall and another at Mill Lee Lane last week. Former winner, Andy Nichols, who was injured last year is also back on the start list. Defending Monsal champion, Gregg Booker is back to defend his crown against Brown and Nichols. Local rider and runner up last year, George Wood, Cycling Sheffield will certainly have one eye on the top step of the podium after last years performance. George has had a great road season, winning the British Cycling National Under 23 series. One young rider to watch will be 16 year old Issac Oliver. Issac, who rides for Sheffield Youth CC narrowly beat Andy Nichols at the Longstone Edge Hill Climb back in June and could well podium and may well break the junior record in the process.
The Women’s entry list is another packed field full of talent. Defending Monsal and course record holder, Bithja Jones is absent to defend her title. This leaves the door wide open for a new winner. Evergreen, Emilie Verroken, Team Lifting Gear Products will be looking to repeat her ride from last year. Verroken won at Hardwick Hall so she’s on good form. Like the men’s category, there are several riders who could easily podium. Third last year, Rebecca Waterfield, Velo Bavarian is back along with 4th placed rider, Abi Plowman, Jadan Vive Le Velo and third placed veteran rider last year, Gemma Sargent, Team Boompods. Also on the start sheet, fresh from a win last week is Olivia French, Stolen Goat Race Team and former category winner, Erin Avill, and Storey Racing are all contenders. But, the big question is, could newcomer, Corinne Side, Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen claim a win at her first attempt? She’s definitely on great form after winning the Curlew Cup just a couple of weeks ago. One to keep an eye on for sure.
Everyone is in search of a slice from the £2100 prize fund. First prize is £200, and there is an equal prize for men and women, and top three prizes for all categories. The big question is, can anyone be a real threat to the 41-year-old record set by Elliott in 1981? Calum Brown came close in 2018 with a 1:14.5, just three tenths off, so it’s a possibility but history has proven it’s a very big ask.
The vets race is also looking like a forgone conclusion with with defending vets Monsal champion and in form rider, Nicolas Latimer back to try and get his name on the Cope Trophy.
First run in 1930, Monsal Hill Climb has been on the hill climb calendar for an amazing 93 years. This event was first started by a few mates riding out to Monsal Head at the end of the track season and timing each other up the hill, at this time it was an unmade road. How times have changed… the course is a one-in-six and 675 yards long.
This year the event has a new partner, Sheffield based, VeloViewer. VeloViewer provides new insights, engaging visualisations, motivational goals and in-depth analysis to your Strava data. It is currently being used by all men’s and women’s WorldTour & Pro Tour teams along with numerous Continental teams, national federations and race organisers.
Event organiser Marc Etches said: “This is a perfect partnership and the support from Ben at VeloViewer has made this prestigious event now even more prestigious. We are excited to be able to offer such a great prize list to all the riders and we will now continue to lead the way in setting the standard hill climb promotion nationally.”