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TransWales 2011: Day one kicks off 333-mile race

07:31 15th August 2011 by David Arthur @davearthur
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The Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport kicked off at the weekend with a brutal hill climb special stage to kick off proceedings in fiery style

Linking stage One (including Special Stage One)

Builth Wells to Knighton. Total distance: 75km - Climbing: 2100m

At 9am on a dry mid-Wales morning, the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport got underway as hundreds of riders saddled up, clipped in, and pedalled away from the start line to begin their epic journey – all 536km (333 miles) and 15,260m (1,758,530ft) of climbing of it.

With riders coming from from as far afield as the USA, Spain, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Holland, and also Nepal in the form of Ajay Chhatri, the multiple winner of the Yak Attack in the Himalayas – this year’s Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport is a truly international edition.

Under fair and improving skies, the day’s linking stage would include the first special stage to really get the competitive juices flowing and set the TransWales in full swing.

Initially the massed throng of riders were lulled into a false sense of security before the sedate warm up abruptly gave way to the most brutal of special stages, a hill climb that took saw them ascend 150m in of vertical in just 1km.

The setting for the leg and lung burning effort was the former National Points Series venue, Fforest Fields just east of Builth Wells. The course for the special stage was a mix of loose and – in parts – steep dirt track with gravel and sizeable slabs of loose rock thrown in for good measure. The gradient eased off before a left hand turn spat the riders out onto a moorland section that ramped up to the finish line.

Wiggle-sponsored and reigning UK and European 24hr solo champion, Matt Page, was one of the first riders to tackle the course. Having earlier spoken of his concern of whether he’d have the speed or power in his legs for the short, sharp special stages, Page lay his fears to rest and absolutely buried himself to announce his intent for the overall title in emphatic style.

In the end – and despite his professed doubts – Page’s efforts were more than good enough to secure himself the top spot in the Schwalbe Tyres Male Solo Category with a time of 3mins 30secs, almost 12secs ahead of seond placed Jonathan Harris.  In the Schwalbe Tyres Female Solo Category the racing was even closer with less than a second separating first and second: Natasha Barry (BikeLux/Progression) just pipped Fiona Spotswood (Cyclist No. 1) to the top spot in a time of 04:46.04 with Spotswood finishing in 04:46.77. With Hannah Thorne just 4secs behind in third, the women’s race looks like it could be a belter.

In the Saris Racks Veteran Solo Male catgory, the top three are separated just four seconds, with Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC) claiming the first scalp in 04:08.18, Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC) in second just over a second back, and Andy Roberts taking the third spot in 04:11.56.

After riders caught their breath and wrung the lactic acid out of their systems, they clipped in once again to complete the remainder of the linking stage within the allotted six and half hours. The day’s riding would take the riders up and over several major climbs – including Gwanceste Hill at 542m, the mighty Great Rhos at 660m, Llan-fawr at 387m, Rhos Hill at 391m, and a final 417m summit in the final furlongs before journeys end at Knighton on the River Teme.

The riding was a mix of open moorland blessed with 360 degree vistas, sporadic sunshine, sinuous singletrack, a bit of sheep slaloming, and flat out descents. The forested trails of Radnor Forest added some fast double track and some very sweet singletrack into the mix and primed the riders’ palettes for more of the same over the coming days.

Tomorrow sees the riders head out to Clun, some 76km and 2300m climbing away. The linking stage will see the second special stage – a 5km trail time trial at Bucknell Woods. The route is an equal mix of climbing and descending, with the majority of the height gain accrued in the first 2kms, before a roller coaster descent to finish with rotors pinging into the finish. With a longer and all-round test of riding, the standings could well be in for a shake up. Until then, adieu from , the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport.

SPECIAL STAGE ONE RESULTS

Buff Headwear Female Pairs category

1 – Elizabeth Adams & Rosemary Byde (Team Number 28): 05:06.21

2 – Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Saddle Skedaddle): 05:40.47

3 – Kelly Clark & Cath Hempsall (Unattached): 06:33.23

Merida Bikes Male Pairs category

1 – Simon Harrison & Robin Calverley (RAF CC): 04:23.95

2 – Mark Wright & Enda Reynolds (Team Trailbadger): 04:38.19

3 – David Askin & David O’Brien (Rally da Digger): 04:50.45

Schwalbe Tyres Male Solo category

1 – Matt Page (Wiggle): 03:30.30

2 – Jonathan Harris (Unattached): 03:41.99

3 – Simon Burgess (Severn Road Club): 03:49.21

Schwalbe Tyres Female Solo category

1 – Natasha Barry (BikeLux/Progression): 04:46.04

2 – Fiona Spotswood (Cyclist No. 1): 04:46.77

3 – Hannah Thorne (Unattached): 04:50.74

Alpina Helmets Veteran Pairs Male category

1 – Dave Sheppard & Trevor Marshall (MAMIL): 04:46.04

2 – Ben Barden & Chris Putnam (White Spirit): 04:46.04

Birzman Tools Mixed Pairs category

1 – Katie Vaughan & Andrew Heywood (Motor Neurone Disease Association): 05:08.98

2 – John Drummon & Catherine Drummond (Align Pilates): 05:22.31

3 – Guy Shingler & Sophie Shingler (Team Chutney): 06:35.53

Saris Racks Veteran Solo Male category

1 – Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC): 04:08.18

2 – Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC): 04:09.83

3 – Andy Roberts (Unattached): 04:11.56

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SPECIAL STAGE ONE

Buff Headwear Female Pairs category

1 – Elizabeth Adams & Rosemary Byde (Team Number 28): 06:35:06

2 – Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Saddle Skedaddle): 06:35:40

3 – Kelly Clark & Cath Hempsall (Unattached): 06:36:33

Merida Bikes Male Pairs category

1 – Simon Harrison & Robin Calverley (RAF CC): 06:34:24

2 – Mark Wright & Enda Reynolds (Team Trailbadger): 06:34:38

3 – David Askin & David O’Brien (Rally da Digger): 06:34:50

Schwalbe Tyres Male Solo category

1 – Matt Page (Wiggle): 06:33:30

2 – Jonathan Harris (Unattached): 06:33:42

3 – Simon Burgess (Severn Road Club): 06:33:49

Schwalbe Tyres Female Solo category

1 – Natasha Barry (BikeLux/Progression): 06:34.46

2 – Fiona Spotswood (Cyclist No. 1): 06:34.47

3 – Hannah Thorne (Unattached): 06:34.51

Alpina Helmets Veteran Pairs Male category

1 – Dave Sheppard & Trevor Marshall (MAMIL): 06:34:46

2 – Ben Barden & Chris Putnam (White Spirit): 06:34:51

Birzman Tools Mixed Pairs category

1 – Katie Vaughan & Andrew Heywood (Motor Neurone Disease Association): 06:35:09

2 – John Drummon & Catherine Drummond (Align Pilates): 06:35:22

3 – Guy Shingler & Sophie Shingler (Team Chutney): 06:37:04

Saris Racks Veteran Solo Male category

1 – Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC): 06:34:08

2 – Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC): 06:34:10

3 – Andy Roberts (Unattached): 06:34:12

www.mtbtransuk.co.uk

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