RACHAEL Heal, the former Birkenhead North End rider who now rides for the Great Britain World Class Performance Squad under the title of Team Alsager, was a popular winner of the annual Merseyside Ladies Cycling Association Clieves Hill womens road race over 12 laps (48 miles).
With five laps to go came the vital break of three riders, Rachael Heal, Joanne Kembery, a former winner from Cheltenham and County CC and Sara Dean, of Team Letchworth-Extran.
The three worked well together until they came to the final sting in the tail when they swung off the circuit for the final steep climb of Clieves Hill Lane.
It was Kembery who led out but Heal was strong enough to sprint by at the line with Dean third. The highest finisher belonging to an MLCA-affiliated club was Angela Nolan (Cycleways), who was 19th and took the title of Merseyside LCA champion and the Bob Memery Trophy.
Heal landed the pointstotal prize and the winning team came from Letchworth with Sara Dean and Joanne Carvill (fourth). Kembery also took the most aggressive rider prize and Heal topped the pointstable for sprints each lap.
She said: 'It is nice to be racing back on Merseyside after my world travels. I had a hard week at the National Track Championships at the Manchester Velodrome, but I felt strong today, so it didn't do me any harm.'
Forty riders and one tandem are entered for this Sunday s 12-hour event under the auspices of West Cheshire, Liverpool and Manchester TT Associations, plus Merseyside Ladies CA.
First rider off is at 6.02am, from Prees Island.
Chester Road Club men on parade include Keith Nield (no 17) and Mark Pritchard (22). Event headquarters is the Raven Cafe, Prees Heath.