Wales GP report

We were back in action on Sunday but still in Wales but this time moving away from the Elite Circuit Series and focusing on the Elite Road Series. A report written by Alex below explains how it went.

After a tough crit Friday night, the Wales GP was here on Sunday.  A couple of rider changes for the RR with the addition on Max, Will Harper and Stevie in place of Lewis and Simon.  The race was 115 miles on some testing roads, not the hilliest Wales has to offer, but tough enough.  After two large loops, the race then headed onto a smaller loop that went though and out of Abergavenny with a bit of a draggy climb and a technical and fast final 2km each laps of the 10 finishing circuit.Wales GP 1

With lots of attacks on the opening large loops as a team we generally had a rider in most moves.  It wasn’t our finest example of team positioning, but we got the job done and had riders in the right places and involved in the attacks.  A standout ride from Rob McCarthy riding very well and involved in the thick of the action, great to see.

Unfortunately for us on the 2nd large lap there was a big crash which only Rory managed to avoid from our team (highlighting his good positioning).  As a fair sized group went clear we had Rob, Gruff and Stevie held up for some time with the crash, whilst Mitch, Max, Will and I managed to get going in the chase group.  After a lot of hard work from us and a few other riders, we eventually started to look as though the front of the race was reachable. Wales GP 3

First to get there was Mitch and Max who attacked across in a small group, a very good move and they looked strong.  I was unable to go with them at the time and had to hope the rest of the chasers would make it back.  By this point Stevie and Gruff and made their way back into the chase group after a tough effort.  Coming into the finish circuit was a long decent and the with the lead group in sight and few people looking good to bridge across, I managed to make the junction across with a couple of others just in time.

Luckily this meant on the finishing circuit we had Rory, Mitch, Max and myself in the front of the bike race.  A small group of 4 riders were clear by 30s.  The good news was that whilst rory was isolated at the front, he had been in an 11 man group up the road, making sure PH were represented, but unfortunately paid for his effort in the closing stages.

Mitch, Max and I managed to stay in contention towards the front with Raleigh leading the chase of the 4 riders.  Gradually the pace got tougher and eventually split the group into a select front group that was only 20 or so riders.Wales GP 4

Coming into the finish Mitch and Max slid back into the 2nd group and with 1.5km to go, I took a big gamble and tried an attack.  The gap I established was very slight, but if I could hold on, it would be a big result.  As it happens there were enough people able to chase and soon enough I was back and riders were flying passed me with about 500m to go.  I was toast but happy to have been able to try.  I think I finished 17th, Mitch 29th and Max 34th.  Unfortunately Gruff and Stevies group ended up missing the time cut for the last lap.

A tough day out for many reasons, but we held our own and were in action throughout the race in one way or another.

Wales Open Criterium

The last round of the Elite circuit series was held in the streets of Abergavenny on Friday evening. The pace was fast from the start with a lot of action. Alex Paton finished 8th overall on the night and has written report below talking us through how it went.

Friday night saw Mitch, Rory, Gruff, Simon, Rob McCarthy, Lewis and myself take on the final round of the Elite Crit Series.  Due to illness we had Dave McGowan and Will Fox missing, this was a shame considering their very good positions within the series.

 

A fast and quite technical circuit was great for the final round and made for some very exciting racing.  The circuit was lined with spectators almost the entire way round with some parts a few rows deep.

The race started in its usual blistering pace and soon enough the race was in one long line with the hairpin turn staring to force gaps.  We initially had all riders involved in the front half of the race and looked god as other teams started to loose riders.  However as the race progressed, gaps opened up due to the high speed and constant attacks at the front we lost a couple of guys.

Still involved in the main group was Gruff, Rory, Mitch and myself.  Still a good situation to be in.  I managed to be involved with the majority of attacks and twice looked to have made a small group that stayed clear for a few laps, however none stayed clear for more than a few laps even with myself and other very strong riders.

Eventually a large group split and stayed slightly clear of the hugely depleted field.  Some good results on a tough night that was very difficult to stay in contention at the front.  I placed 8th, Gruff 12th, Rory 16th and Mitch 22nd.  Great news for Dave too, who despite not even racing on the night still managed to place 3rd overall.

Beverley Grand Prix

Felix English (JLT Condor) sprinted to victory in the Beverley Grand Prix on Friday evening, boosting his tally in the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series.

The 22-year-old from Sandbach in Cheshire edged to victory inches ahead of Series leader Jon Mould (One Pro Cycling) with 2014 Beverley GP winner Mike Northey (Madison Genesis) third.

The trio had been part of a five-rider break which stayed clear for much of the race and actually lapped everyone else in the race, which was round six of the Series.

English’s victory in Beverley, round six of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series, comes after he placed third in round four, the Colne Grand Prix, nine days earlier.

C12V9913

Last year’s winner Northey made an early bid for freedom in the first few laps and was soon joined by Tom Moses (JLT Condor).

They were expected to be swallowed up as the bunch sized each other out, but instead the duo were joined by Felix English (JLT Condor), Series leader Jon Mould (One Pro Cycling) and Steve Lampier (Raleigh GAC) and suddenly they gained speed and pulled clear.

The gap grew to 23 seconds before much chasing occurred, with NFTO driving the bunch, but the gap continued to grow and was quickly 40 seconds, then 50 seconds, and then they looked likely to start lapping the back markers.

Second in the Series, David McGowan (Pedal Heaven RT) was one of the keenest to start a chase, and was on the front. But the pace continued to be high, and with 14 laps left the leaders lapped the field.

As soon as the leaders had caught the back of the bunch the leaders swept through apace, and with ten laps left it became apparent the winner would come from this group, with all eyes on Series leader Jon Mould.

But with JLT Condor having two riders in in the break in Tom Moses and Felix

English, and Lampier and Northey also being prolific winners, the fate of the win was by no means clear.

With the rest of the field pulled out with a few laps left to allow for a clean finish for the five leaders, the stage was set for a dramatic finish. And so it proved, with photo finish needed to separate English from Mould, while Northey held off the Moses and Lampier for the win.

Previously seventh in the Series table, English will move up towards the top three overall on the back of his win, although minor placings are yet to be decided.

C12V9925

 

“That was quite hard!” said English after he stepped from the podium. “It was almost a replica of what happened two years ago. We had two riders in the break two years ago too.

“My team-mate Tom Moses worked really well, we were just trying to play the last few laps pretty smart. Tom started it off and gave me an easier ride to the finish and I could sit on.

“I was trying to get as much power as I could before the cobbles because it was so hard to accelerate on them! The surface was pretty good, and being in a break it was better and you could concentrate – although it would’ve been carnage in the bunch!

“For the first five laps we could see the bunch behind and we knew a few teams had missed it, but as soon as we had the gap everyone was working really well together.

“All the guys in the break are super strong. Jon Mould hasn’t finished outside the top five this Series, and Mike Northey gave me a kicking here two years ago, so I’m fairly used to how well they’re going.

“It was a massive crowd here and a great atmosphere in Beverley!”

Ryedale GP

Ian Bibby of NFTO took his second victory of the British Cycling 2015 Elite Road Series in the Ryedale Grand Prix, snatching a last-gasp win at the end of a thrilling race.

With a group of ten riders in contention on the final lap, Bibby just caught Tom Moses of JLT Condor after his rival had attacked with the end in sight.

It was a fitting end to what was a pulsating contest with attacks coming thick and fast throughout the 150 kilometre race.

With 119 riders lining up at the start of the race at Ampleforth Abbey, the rain that blighted the women’s race in the morning had eased off and there was action from the gun.

Steele Von Hoff (NFTO), Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling), Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis), Sam Lowe (Raleigh GAC), Steven Lawley (Neon-Velo) and Christopher Lawless (Team Wiggins) formed an early leading group.

The six riders worked well together, building a lead of 46 seconds and reaching speeds of 50mph on the descents.

The gap was soon reduced to 33 seconds with the JLT Condor riders particularly active in chasing down.

The leaders had 38 seconds at the end of the first lap of the larger circuit which the riders made their way around before finishing on five laps of a smaller circuit.

Matt Cronshaw’s chances took an early blow when he crashed out on a climb, his front wheel sliding out from under him. However, he climbed back on his bike and rejoined the race.

JLT Condor stepped up their pursuit of the leaders but the gap still increased to 47 seconds.

It dropped to 40 seconds on the final lap of the big circuit but by the end of the lap, it had jumped back up to 50 as the sun began to shine.

At the 50-mile mark, the break was finally caught and from this point on, the race became very exciting with attack after attack being launched right up to the end.

A win for overall standings leader Steve Lampier would really have put him in the driving seat for the title and he was active at the front of the race, looking to find a way to victory.

Tom Stewart of Madison Genesis and Joe Moses of JLT Condor were also in contention at this stage.

The race exploded into action, first with a 12-man break gaining a 23 second lead before being caught to form a group of 35 riders.

Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling), Karol Domagalski (Raleigh GAC), Tom Moses (JLT Condor), Mark McNally (Madison Genesis), Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis) and Rob Partridge (NFTO) pulled out a gap over the chasers with George Wood of Richardsons-Trek joining the break soon after. Ian Bibby and Eddie Dunbar, both of NFTO, also bridged across.

With two laps to go, 20 riders were vying for victory in that lead group and they took no prisoners, continually having a dig.

With one lap to go, the deciding break occurred with Karol Domagalski (Raleigh GAC), Tom Moses (JLT Condor), Ian Bibby (NFTO), Steve Lampier (Raleigh GAC) and Dan Fleeman (SportGRUB Kuota), Madison Genesis’ Erick Rowsell, Stephen Williams (Pedal Heaven), Dale Appleby (NFTO), Eddie Dunbar (NFTO) and Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling) forming a break of 10.

They had a lead of 39 seconds over six chasers, setting up a nail-biting finish.
Appleby, Bialoblocki and Dunbar were suffering and eventually dropped off although Bialoblocki found the strength to come back.

Meanwhile, Bibby made an attack but was reeled back in before Stephen Williams (Pedal Heaven) countered.

Moses then pulled away with 3km remaining but Bibby managed to catch him on the line to win.

 

Ian Bibby said of the race: “The Ryedale is always a really hard one. Every year it goes really early. It was a bit different this year because a break went but without any climbers in so it was more controlled for the first hour.
“When we went on to the small circuit, I said to Eddie, because we’re both climbers, we need to make this really hard or it’s going to end up in a sprint with too many lads.

“So from then on, for five laps on the small circuit, every time we saw a hill we just went flat out. It kept splitting and coming back. People like Marcin kept getting back on and we didn’t want that because he’s fast in the finish. So on the last lap, we went really hard but he got back on with 2km to go. Then the crosswinds hit and everyone was in ones and twos at the end. Everyone was in the gutter, we were just flat out.

“Tom was riding really well, it was every man for himself at the end. Rob Partridge did well and Dale, we all did a really good team ride. We had people in every move. I started the season well, won a couple but then died off a bit. I really got my head down the last few weeks and it paid off.”

Result:

1    Ian    Bibby    NFTO    03:50:49
2    Thomas    Moses    JLT Condor    4
3    Peter    Williams    One Pro Cycling    7
4    Steve    Lampier    Raleigh GAC    10
5    Erick    Rowsell    Madison Genesis    same time
6    Marcin    Bialoblocki    One Pro Cycling    25
7    Dan    Fleeman    SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team    28
8    Karol    Domagalski    Raleigh GAC    37
9    Eddie    Dunbar    NFTO    01:53
10    Dale    Appleby    NFTO    02:11
11    Mark    McNally    Madison Genesis    02:56
12    George    Wood    Richardsons-Trek RT    02:57
13    AdriÇ    Moreno Sala    Velosure Starley Primal    03:01
14    Liam    Holorham    Madison Genesis    03:03
15    Stephen    Williams    Pedal Heaven RT    same time
16    Thomas    Travis Pollard    Polypipe Cycling Team    03:10
17    Tom    Stuart    Madison Genesis    03:19
18    Will    Fox    Pedal Heaven RT    04:12
19    Jake    Tanner    Team 3M    same time
20    Dexter    Gardias    One Pro Cycling    04:33

Stockton Road Race

After a brilliant race on Friday evening in the Elite Circuit Series we turned our attentions to Sunday with a 110 mile road race. A report below from British Cycling lets us know how it went.

After a number of early breaks, George Atkins and Ian Bibby managed to build a lead before being caught on the finishing course.0_StocktonGP_05

One Pro Cycling got their tactics right in the end, ensuring that Opie, 27, crossed the line first in a bunch sprint.

It is Opie’s third win of the season after prevailing in the Les Ingman Memorial and the Harrogate Big Bike Bash.

The Stockton Grand Prix was 110 miles of racing with 10 laps of a large circuit being completed before the riders move on to a smaller finishing circuit for six laps.

The race saw a number of attacks go in at the front right from the off with Tom Bustard of Giordana-Mitsubishi Electric RT being caught after an attempt. Tom Stewart of Madison Genesis responded almost immediately with an attack of his own.

Andrew Coupe of Wheelbase Altura MGD and Ian Wilkinson of Team Raleigh GAC then opened up a small gap at the front but were soon reeled back in.

The first significant break saw a group of 13 riders peel away but it was caught. The race was being contested at a furious pace with the riders covering 28 miles in the first hour.

Next to attack were Daniel Patten of Team Wiggins, Gruffudd Lewis of Pedal Heaven RT and NFTO’s Rob Partridge. Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis), Jacob Tipper (Neon-Velo Cycling Team) and Jon Mould (One Pro Cycling), joined them shortly after to make a group of six out at the front.

A group of ten riders then took a 28-second lead off the front with Handley, Auld, Bibby, Partridge, Moore, Cronshaw, Lewis, Patten, Mould and Tipper all involved.

From this break, Ian Bibby (NFTO) and George Atkins (One Pro Cycling) put a huge attack in and went clear at the front. At the two-hour mark, the leaders had covered 55.8 miles.

Atkins and Bibby then worked hard out at the front, extending their lead to 25 seconds.

Jez McCann of Catford CC, SportGrub KUOTA’s Adam Kenway and David McGowan of Pedal Heaven chased Atkins and Bibby down, 27 seconds behind. By this time, the peloton were a minute off the pace.

With two laps to go of the large circuit to go, Roger Hammond has put his Madison Genesis team on the front of the chase and the gap that Atkins and Bibby had worked at started to drop.

However, Atkins and Bibby continued to grind away and were still out on their own with one lap of the larger circuit left.

As the leaders headed towards Stockton for six laps on the finishing circuit, they upped their pace considerably and managed to stretch the gap out to 48 seconds.

After leading the race for 46 miles, Atkins and Bibby did eventually succumb and they were swallowed up by the bunch, controlled by One Pro Cycling. With just one lap remaining, all of the teams jockeyed for position, looking to give themselves the advantage in the bunch sprint.

And it was One Pro who timed their move to perfection, allowing Opie to take victory.

 

0_StocktonGP_05

 

Speaking after the race, Opie said: “The race went to plan for us, we intended to lead the race out in the last 3km but at one point there were about five of us and a group of 11 with 90km to go and it was a lot earlier than we planned.

“But we eased up then and George went away with Ian, we let the other teams take up a little bit. I was a little bit surprised how keen they were to ride. We had Madison at the front, then Pedal Heaven. It really played into our hands because we knew it kept our plan of going for it at the end. The last couple of weeks have gone really well for me and it all played out.

“The training programme doesn’t feel fantastic when you’re doing it, Steve Benson’s pretty evil. You open your diary and think, ‘I don’t think he likes me very much’. But you go out, you do the ride and you go home and think it was awful and I’ve got to do it again tomorrow. But you get a lot of confidence from doing that.

“I’ve worked with Steve for five years and you still feel like every year is a progression and you rarely do the same training session. He’s a mastermind. A pure genius. I wouldn’t still be racing if it wasn’t for him.

“One Pro Cycling were fantastic today, every rider did exactly what we talked about in the briefing.”

 

Result:

1 Chris Opie One Pro Cycling 110 miles in 3:57.18
2 Jonathan McEvoy NFTO
3 Sam Lowe Raleigh GAC
4 Evan Oliphant Raleigh GAC
5 Graham Briggs JLT Condor
6 David McGowan Pedal Heaven RT
7 James Lowsley-Williams NFTO
8 Steve Lampier Raleigh GAC
9 William Bjergfelt SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team
10 Ian Wilkinson Raleigh GAC
11 Rory Townsend Pedal Heaven RT
12 Christopher Lawless Team Wiggins
13 Alex Paton Pedal Heaven RT
14 Matt Cronshaw Madison Genesis
15 Will Fox Pedal Heaven RT
16 Andrew Hawdon Raleigh GAC
17 AdriÇÿ Moreno Sala Velosure Starley Primal
18 Thomas Moses JLT Condor
19 Lloyd Chapman Richardsons-Trek RT
20 Jacob Tipper Neon-Velo Cycling Team

McGowan takes second in Stockton Town Centre

The riders lined up in Stockton on Friday night for the fourth round of the national elite circuit series.

With all the top UK teams represented, they would face a tough circuit which included two tight hair pin bends and a twisty cobbled section which was sure to test all competitors.

As soon as the flag was dropped to indicate the start of the race the attacks began and the group began to be strung out across the course.

After half distance, it was Pedal Heaven RT doing the damage at the front with constant attacks. Notably from inform riders Stevie Williams and Alex Paton but with the fast pace of the peloton no breakaway was sticking at this point.

As the riders approached the final part of the race and with only 5 laps remaining it was Paton who took a flyer and opened up a gap on the rest of the bunch.

With the laps counting down it looked like this move would stick, and with team mate David McGowan and Will Fox watching for any moves at the front of the chase group his lead reached a maximum of 22 seconds.

With the tough course taking its toll on the riders there were now only around 20 riders left in the chasing pack which was now being led by NFTO and Team Wiggins who had their top sprinters ready to fire.

With two laps to go Paton was pulled back as last year’s Stockton winner George Atkins went on the attack trying for a repeat victory.

It was not meant to be as Pedal Heaven RT and Team Wiggins lead the charge on the final lap.

The race was now on for the final hairpin bend leading to the finish.

With the riders approaching at speed it was Chris Lawless who managed to jump through the bend and lead all the way to the line to take a great victory closely followed by McGowan in second.

On a Dominant night for Pedal Heaven RT they managed to place three riders inside the top ten with Will Fox and Paton finishing in fourth and eighth respectively.

Alex storms to victory in Guildford

Alex Paton claimed victory at the Guildford Town Centre Criterium on Wednesday after lapping the whole field. A report below talks us through how it happened. Guildford Crit

With a lot of the team, having raced the Tour series and now the start of the Elite Crits, it was great to know we would be racing at a local event.  The Guildford crit is a race that each year as a team we try to attend. A great circuit, tough racing, a huge crowd and a very well organised event.

Racing tonight was, Gruff Lewis, Dave Creeggan, Will Harper, Roy Townsend, Max Steadman and myself.  A good quality team.

The race was a good quality field with some good completion on this very fast and short circuit. The cobbled climb is brutal enough a few times, but with lap times well under a minute it was going to become most rider’s worst nightmare.  As a team, our plan was to race at the front and make it as tough as possible.  Last year Gruff and I lapping the entire field!  This year we wanted to be greedy and take the top 3 places.  A tough ask, but very possible with the strength of the team this year.

Straight from the gun, the pace rocketed with Rory hitting the front and driving on.  Initially it was myself, Gruff, Luke Ryan and Richie Mardle that held the front of the race.  However only a few laps in and Rory and I had gained a small advantage of the rest of the race.

The blistering pace had almost destroyed the field with small groups forming.  As rory and I looked to extend our lead, he unfortunately had a problem and had to change bikes.  After initially backing off for a couple of laps and hoping rory would re-join me, I decided to really attack the race solo and gradually started to build a lead to the chasers.Guildford Crit

As the race progressed, my lead and the 3 chasers behind gap started to increase and by half distance, I and the chase trio had lapped the majority of the race.  Unfortunately the fast start had taken its toll on Dave and Will who didn’t manage to make the lead groups. Max however was in the main group and doing a great job.

I eventually came round to lap the chase group of Rory, gruff and Luke and managed to ride clear again taking Rory with me.  From then in we rode a strong pace to the finish with Rory sprinting to the line ahead of me.  A great fun event, made even better by the fact that Pedal Heaven claimed 1, 2, 3 and 6 on the night.

Anyone who has yet to race or see the event doesn’t know what they are missing!  A race with an atmosphere as good as any Tour Series or Elite Circuit race in the UK.

McGowan sits in 3rd in the Elite Crit Series

After two rounds in the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series Dave McGowan sits in 3rd place overall ahead of this weekends race in Stockton.

Following good performances in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series and his most recent results Dave is looking to continue his run of good results for the remaining races.

 

Standings

Stafford Crit and Kermesse

Last week saw the begging of the second half for the Brtish Cycling Elite road and the start of the Elite crit series to begin. It started full gas with three tough races in Otley and Stafford. Alex Paton talks us through how things went in stafford on Friday and Saturday with two short reports below.

Stafford Crit –

Making the journey up to Stafford for round 2 of the Elite Circuit Series was Simon Holt, Will Harper, Will Fox, Roy Townsend, David McGowan, Lewis Atkins and myself.

The circuit was a testing one, with plenty of tight turns and quite narrow the whole way round the lap. From his good performance in the first round, Dave had a luxury grid position on the front row, with the rest of us a couple of rows further back, although still positioned quite well in the huge field.

In true crit racing style, the pace rocketed from the start and immediately strung the race out.  Soon enough gaps started to form as people became unable to hold the wheels in front and a large group of 21 had gone clear.  Making the split was David (son of Gowan), Will Fox and myself.  A good team position with 3 in the lead group, however as the pace continued to rise a rider crashed and Will Fox was caught up.  He survived with no real injury but was race over for him with all groups passing him unable to get going quick enough.

While Dave and I were in the front group, others were mixing it up in the 2nd and 3rd chase groups and making good ground.

Towards the later stages of the race Jon Mould eventually clipped away solo for the win with no one else willing or able to chase.  Dave came home 4th or 5th, while I was 15th.  A solid performance all round.

Not 100% sure of all finishing positions, but everyone represented well and raced hard on a circuit that favoured a small group.

 

19410264522_c5b6748aa2_b

Dave Mcgowan claims 5th at Otley

The British Cycling circuit series kicked off for 2015, at the 30th Otley GP on the 1st of July.

On the hottest day of 2015, the riders would face a tough 2.5 km circuit with the all the major teams represented.

Many early breakaways were trying to establish themselves, with a small group, including last year’s winner Adam Blyth (Orica Greenedge) gaining a slight advantage over the peloton.Otley Cycle Races 2015

By mid-way they were reeled in by the fast moving bunch, as the attacks continues to come thick and fast from all teams; including riders from Pedal Heaven who were maintaining the momentum from their successful Tour Series.

With less than half the race to a dangerous group of 10 riders established a slim lead over the peloton and it looked like the race was over behind.

Several riders not willing to give up the fight including David McGowan (Pedal Heaven), took off in pursuit of the lead group and eventually closed the gap with approximately 8 laps to go.

As the race approached the finish and the bell rang to initiate the final lap, it was clear it would now be a small group sprint.CI54sNcXAAAbLYJ

The infamous final corner at Otley is decisive and Dan McLay of the French team (Bretagne Seche Environnment) took the perfect line and sprinted to victory, ahead of Chris Lathom (100 percent ME) and Jon Mould (OnePro Cyclying).

With Pedal Heaven’s David McGowan tucking in in 5th place to begin a strong campaign in the British Cycling elite circuit series.