The team have been busy over the early May bank holiday weekend racing across the country. We had a squad at the Thames Velo Spring Cup (National B), our new signing Ash Cox was getting aero in an open TT and our youngest member Samuel was on the Isle of Man for the Youth Tour stage race.
Saturday 5th May - Lea Valley CC Open 10 on the E2/10 A11 nr Newmarket : Ash Cox
Ash is our newest signing for the team. As an Elite level rider who's ridden all of the Premier Calendar events and prolofic winner at National B level his experience will be invaluable to the team. Over to Ash....
On Saturday I rode the Lea Valley CC open 10 mile TT. Not usually a fan of dual carriageway TT's this was a break from the norm of sporting course and local TT's. It was also my first TT since July 2017. Donning my aero TT suit [Ed: no action photo's as not team issue!] and 56 tooth chainring all was ready for a good ride and with good weather there was potential for a fast time.
It turned out to be a very hot day, which on a leisure ride is great but in a TT brings its own level of grim. I was happy with my time and did a time of 18:28, avg speed 32.5mph. This beats my previous personal best by 25 seconds and was good enough for second place on the day behind James Rix of Team Bottrill.
Now time for some quick recovery before the Thames Velo race on Sunday...
Sunday 6th May - Thames Velo Spring Cup (Natonal B) Road Race : Matt Webster
This is a first time for me at the Thames Velo RR before so was unsure of how the race would pan out, lots of people stating how quick it is and difficult for a break away to stick. With a strong 5 man team along with many other top teams represented it was going to be a fast one an we were hopeful of a result.
Within the first hour of racing I was happy to let the eager riders attack and get brought back as we were barely dropping below 28mph at this point the racing was too hard for a break away to stick.
Around 4/5 laps to go I moved to the front and was informed by Will that Jack was away in a breakaway up the road, so I stayed near there in case of any attacks. Within the next 10minutes an attack was launched by Will Fox containing two Richardson’s riders as well, I knew that was the one to follow so quickly attacked and drilled it to the back of them and we quickly caught the breakaway leaving the bunch behind.
I quickly assessed who was there and with Ribble Pro Cycling, Morvelo Basso, Richardson’s being represented i knew that me and Jack would be able to match their attacks and get a good result, unfortunately Jack punctured leaving me a lone rider, but Will, Matt and Ash controlled the bunch allowing us to gain just over two minutes on the bunch.
Coming into the final straight attacks were made by all teams one after the other and I was quick to jump on them and chase them down to hoping I could maybe salvage a podium, unfortunately legs ran out at the end and sprinted to 6th place and Will lead out Matt to win the bunch kick off for 12th
Overall a good day out and strong showing from team Flamme Rouge in a competitive field.
Friday 4th May to Sunday 6th May - Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Youth Tour
The Isle of Man Youth Tour is one of the highlights of the UK youth racing scene. A 3 day stage race on closed roads this is the closest a young rider can get to an elite level race and is part of British Cycling Youth National Series.
Going into the event, Samuel was upbeat about his chances, knowing there were 2 flat stages and he was one of the older riders in his age category. He previosly raced the event 4 years ago and knew the 3rd hilly stage at Ellerslie was a tough one, previously he'd only had to ride once up the 1:4 climb, this year it was 3 times up. The competition was strong as he knew 2 riders to watch were Finn Hawker (Hillingdon Slipstreamers) and Finlay Tarling (West Wales Racing Academy) - the team talk was simple, if anyone called Finn attacks, you go with them!
Friday Prologue - Douglas Promenade
Less than a mile along Douglas Promenate and back this stage was all about having a great warm up and hitting it hard from the gun. His prediction was 2:15 following his course recce before the stage, however came in at 2:08 in the race. This was good enough for 6th place just a few seconds off the leader Finn Hawker.
Saturday Flat Road Stage - Jurby
A short flat stage, this race was all about positioning in the bunch throughout and picking your moment. The finish straight was wide and long with a tailwind inevitably leading to a fast finish.
The racing was fast from the off and Samuel was comfortable in the bunch. One of the Finn's (Tarling) was doing loads of work on the front and this was going to cost him later in the race.
With about 200 metres to go in the finishing straight Samuel attacked, taking 3 other riders just off the front of the bunch. An ill timed dive for the line from one of the other 4 meant Samuel pipped 3rd place and a time bonus of 5 seconds. This moved him up to 5th place just 9 seconds off the lead still held by Finn Hawker. The other Finn came in 7th and a somewhat cool, but pleased Samuel, now knew that he was beatable!
Sunday Hilly Road Stage - Ellerslie
From the off the race hit the infamous Ellerslie hill. A very early cold and misty start to this stage and poor positioning on the line put Samue on the back foot from the very start. He managed to get himself in the second group, but over the top of the second climb he became the victim of a mechanical and lost over 5 minutes by the finish.
Despite the dissapointment of the final stage his 3rd place on stage 2 earned him a podium slot at the prize presentation, so happy ending and all that!
Overall this was a great, well organised event with parcours and a field that you won't find elsewhere in UK youth racing. We will be back next year, and may well have our junior squad in tow!
Thank you as always to our helpers, supporters and sponsors for enabling the team to race. Flamme Rouge Cycles, Holland & Barrett, Trek Bikes, Bontrager, Schwalbe Tyres UK, University of Bedfordshire Human Performance Centre, Telopea MSL, TMGPro custom clothing.