Rory Townsend finished second behind NUUN Sigma rider Wouter Sybrandy this weekend at the SERRL round 3 Challock, Rory has written a report below which talks us through how it went.
Round 3 of SERRL’s summer series had been moved from Frant to Challock course because of road works. This was a six lap, 120km race finishing up the 2.5km, 7% gradient, White Hill.
Mac, Rosie, JP, Lewis and I lined up for this one, alongside strong teams from Richardsons Trek, Catford Banks, and Nuun Sigma Sport. Richardsons would be the team to watch as they had seven riders, despite their pre-race tactics to follow Pedal Heaven!
It was a relatively slow start to the race, possibly due to the wet and windy conditions, but soon the attacks started. Two riders from Richardsons and Catford got away after a lap or so and quickly built a good lead.
Just under two laps into the race, a larger group got away including 5 Richardsons Trek riders, Wouter Sybrandy (Nuun Sigma Sport), Rosie and JP. Riders were trying to jump across to the break, so as we turned onto the open cross wind section of road, I attacked taking Lewis with me, using the riders ahead of us as stepping stones.
Once together, Pedal Heaven and Richardsons riders began to work through and off. We were held at a minute to the bunch. After a lap or so, the two origional breakaway riders were brought back, and the minute gap had widened to three.
As we crossed the line for a lap to go, we were all still together. On a faster section of road, two riders slipped away, Wouter from Nuun and Rhys Howells from Richardsons. The four of us were caught out, as JP and Alex were at the front, whilst Lewis and I were at the back. Because we were slow to react, they built a decent lead of around 40 seconds. Rhys was very unlucky to have crashed on a corner, landing in a ditch, leaving only Wouter up the road. There was some confusion in the group as not all had realised Rhys was out, so Richardsons were still reluctant to work. By the time they got involved, the gap was out to a minute.
There was a lack of cohesion in the group and it was clear some people were struggling, so as we passed through the feed zone for the last time, I attacked, again taking Lewis with me, along with two Richardsons riders. The four of us worked well, but with a down hill run in towards the turn off for White Hill, it playing into the hands of the lone leader.
Richardsons led us onto the climb, and as it began to kick up, one of them attacked, Lewis shouted to me to follow, and as he sat up seeing me on his wheel, I attacked going clear alone with one Richardsons rider chasing. I crossed the line, disappointed with second having felt strong all day. Lewis took the sprint for third, JP came home in 7th and Rosie in 10th.
Mac was in the group behind, having got in the counter move earlier in the day, finishing in 17th.