"I just went eyeballs out and hoped that someone would come with me, and it stuck," the 19-year-old explained after the race. "We all worked really well together so got quite a good lead. I knew I felt quite good, but I knew Hannah Barnes had a good sprint and Annie would go for a long one as well, so I had to chance it and go for a long one as if I could get the gap I’d be able to hold it, and it paid off."
"With a big lead on the peloton, it was important for me just to focus on the finish and retaining my overall lead," Simpson said. "We’d already taken the sprint points on the night, and after the last one we’d got 50 seconds, so it was all focus on crossing the line ahead of Hannah Barnes." She now has sixteen points in the Sprints competition, Owen has eight for second place and Barnes seven.
Matrix-Prendas' Sarah Reynolds crashed badly and was rushed to hospital, where it was initially feared she may have suffered serious injury. After being kept in overnight, tests revealed bruising to her lungs and kidney and some damage - but not, as first thought, a rupture - to her spleen. She thanked fans for their messages on Twitter.
Owen was interviewed by a BBC East news crew minutes after her victory - evidence that fast, exciting city centre criterium races running alongside established men's events such as the Halfords Tour Series are successful in bringing women's competitive cycling to a wider audience.
Short highlights of the race will be shown as part of ITV4's Halfords Series coverage tonight (30th May) at 8pm, repeated tomorrow morning at 08:30.
1. Harriet Own, Node4 - Giordana Racing
2. Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas
3. Hannah Barnes, Team Ibis Cycles
4. Lucy Garner, Node4 - Giordana Racing
5. Amy Roberts, Scott Contessa Epic
6. Lydia Boylan, Look Mum No Hands!
7. Louise Mahe, Mule Bar Girls
8. Emily Kay, Scott Contessa Epic
9. Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing
10. Corrine Hall, Node4 - Giordana Racing
Overall Top Ten
1. Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 39pts
2. Hannah Barnes, Team Ibis Cycles, 37pts
3. Lucy Garner, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 32pts
4. Corrine Hall, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 28pts
5. Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing, 26pts
6. Harriet Owen, Node4 - Giordana, 25pts
7. Lydia Boylan, Look Mum No Hands, 25pts
8. Amy Roberts, Scott Contessa Epic, 22pts
9. Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 18pts
10. Louise Mahe, Mule Bar Girls, 18pts