Race Report By Kris Zentek
As I woke up I could hear the wind battering around the house, so I knew it was going to be an interesting race. But the skies were crisp and clear, which was a world apart from the previous week. I rode out to the HQ as its 10 miles from home – well. I was blown all the way there with the taily!
The field for today presented a lot of strong riders, and I marked out the likely riders who would probably form a break that stuck. The winds were sure to help with breaking up the field too. The course itself was 10 laps of the Lach Dennis 5 mile circuit – pan flat save for a motorway bridge, and other than a few potholes here and there, roads that were in good condition.
Not long after the race started, the early attacks did too, being brought back quickly by Karl and Billy, along with others – this went on for maybe 3 laps till the first prime when a bigger group of 6 formed. Karl was on the front drilling it to bring it back, so I moved up to help – as I passed him to take the front, he shouted to me that this was the break that would stay.
I already had momentum, so I lit the burners to try and bridge. I gave it everything to jump across as quickly as possible so that I didn’t pull anyone else, and also to make sure I reached them before the next headwind section – which I did.
The break consisted of Andrew Mangier (Giordana), Steve Fidler (Dave Hinde Racing), Matt Nowell (Sheffield Hallam), Stuart Percival (GMC Fire), Peter Barusevicus (All Terrain Cycles) and Chris Quin? (Macc Wheelers). A puncture saw us lose the Macc Wheelers rider two laps later, as well as Steve from Dave Hinde Racing losing contact.
So 5 riders left in the break, we worked really well – no-one missing any turns, and we all rode strong. We managed to build a lead of over 3½ minutes by the closing laps, so we knew the prizes were in the bag, and it was all down to sorting out the win.
Entering the penultimate corner up the bridge, I hit the front and turned the pedals a bit more – I made a gap but was in two minds whether to attack or try to sit in. I saw the rest of the break were chasing me down so I sat up – a decision a now regret, as I was now on the front for the next mile.
Into the final corner, Stuart jumped, followed by Matt Andrew and Peter. I jumped onto Peters wheel but couldn’t hold it. Andrew took the win, with Peter and Matt completing the podium and me just pipping Stuart to fourth on the line.
I felt really good all race today, but realise I need to work on my sprint a bit. Karl and Billy did a brilliant job all day chasing down and nullifying any attempts to catch us, and are the reason we stayed away. Great job guys! All in all, a great days racing, and a great start to the season for me, with points in the bag.
One last mention, combativity award has to go to Steve Fidler. He was very aggressive all race, and formed the winning break. Having taken a very nasty tumble, got back on and rolled across the line in 7th – bloody faced and suffering a lot of road rash. Hats off!
Thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the great photos, and for permission to share them.
View more photo’s from the race in Ellen’s Flickr album.
Full results TBC. Please check British Cycling for results.