Paul Beales tackling the demanding course and temperature
Orange Monkey-Cannondale report from Cyprus, where they competed in the first event in Sunshine Cup XC race series.
The first race in the Sunshine Cup series in Voroklini took place today. Overnight rain had the riders worried but some morning sunshine helped to dry the course out and leave the riders with some early season tan lines.
Alex Baker took part in his first race as a Junior against a quality field in the UCI event and got off to a stunning start jumping on the back of the lead group around the opening start loop. Once the field splintered Alex was right in the thick of it and pushed himself into 3rd position at the end of the second lap. Lap three was another good effort and a scrap with another top Junior saw Alex just lose out and take 4th – a remarkable ride in his first junior UCI event and a good sign for the season ahead.
Next up were our three senior riders including another debut with Ben taking to the start line in his first Elite Under 23 race. He was joined by Elites Chris Andrews and Paul Beales as well as Oli Beckingsale from Endura MTB and Lee Williams from Wiggle.
The 81 riders set off at a frantic pace straight into the tough start loop before heading onto the course for 6 laps with a strong wind and some intense sun. A decent start by Paul, Chris and Ben got them in amongst the action while lee and Oli were further up the field fighting for positions. Once the race settled down Oli got onto the back of the lead group in the opening laps before dropping back to 12th where he finished the race after some good battles with the front runners.
Lee was a little further down the field closely followed by Chris Andrews & Paul Beales. Ben had started the race well but had a puncture on lap 3 losing him valuable time and getting taken out on the 80% ruling on lap 4. Chris and Paul completed 5 laps before also getting pulled on the 80% ruling. It was a great first race for the team with all riders showing some good early season form and blowing the cobwebs out with the lung busting climbs!
Next week the guys will travel into Macheras mountains for a 3 day stage race, until then some light training and a trip to Starbucks.