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.
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.
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.
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.