| Twickenham CC Road Race National Junior road Race Champion, Steve Cummings, rode to a fine solo win in the first round of the National Under 23 road Race Series, the Twickenham CC Road Race at Brill, on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border at the weekend. |
Cummings and his Lottery sponsored national squad team-mates, riding in their domestic colours of Team Alsager/Addidas, dominated the race, taking four of the top five placings.
The race took place in brilliant sunshine over a tough nine laps of constant climbing and descending which rapidly sorted the contenders from the also-rans. Just two laps into the race, the five Team Alsager/Addidas riders (Jamie Alberts, Dan Bridges, Steve Cummings, Neil Swithenbank, Tom Southam) went on the attack, breaking clear of the main bunch with five other riders - including Justin Hoy, Lee Finch, Robin Sharman and Alexander Ross. By the start of the third lap, this group had a gap of almost a minute on the rest of the field.
First to feel the pressure up front was Dan Bridges and he was ordered back to the main group to police any chasers, by National Team Manager John Herety. For several laps the leaders held the gap at two minutes, with several efforts to chase them down failing to make any impact. However, at the start of the seventh lap, team Alsager/Addidas went on the offensive again. Led by Tom Southam, they attacked one-by-one and broke clear. Only Robin Sharman had the strength to go with them and by the end of the lap the leading group had broken into two with Southam, Alberts, Swithenbank, Cummings and Sharman riding away from the increasingly demoralised chasers.
With two laps to go, Steve Cummings made a spectacular solo attack off the front and rapidly built himself a comfortable lead of over a minute. Descending at well over 50moph at times and showing the strong rhythm of the fine time-trialist he is, he never looked like cracking and simply rode away from his pursuers.
Pushed on via radio link by his manager, John Herety, Cummings was always in control and rode in to the finish well over a minute clear of Jamie Alberts, who had also managed to shake off the rest of the front group. Robin Sharman gained reward for a brave unsupported ride, taking third from Neil Swithenbank in a sprint and Tom Southam rounded off a good day at the office for the national squad coming in alone in fifth.
Alsager/Addidas Team Manager John Herety admitted that his riders had not followed their pre-race strategy, but was well pleased with the initiative and competitive spirit they had shown: ÑWe had agreed to wait till half distance to see what developed, but they are free to make their own minds up and judged the situation perfectly. The slow pace early on, and the tough course, gave them the opportunity to apply some pressure earlier than planned and it really paid off. Full credit to the rest of the break for working with our lads, and to Robin Sharman in particular - he looked very good and deserved his third place.â
With the team due to jet off to Germany for a tough Under-23 international race, Herety pointed out the significance of the win for his riders: ÑTheir race programme mixes quality domestic races with some really hard continental events where the opposition is much tougher. Abroad they are learning how to race, how to finish races and how to ride under pressure. At home they are expected to win and itÇs good for them to learn what to do when they have that opportunity.â
National Team Coach, Ken Matheson, was also delighted with the performance of his team: ÑWith the excellent support and training they have, thanks to Lottery funding, they are always going to be under pressure to perform when they race in this country. For them to dominate the race as they did is to their credit.â
Twickenham CC Road Race
1. Steven Cummings (Team Alsager/Adidas)
2. Jamie Alberts (Team Alsager/Adidas)
3. Robin Sharman (Alysys Bradgate)
4. Neil Swithenbank (Team Alsager/Adidas)
5. Tom Southam (Team Alsager/Adidas)
6. Justin Hoy (Liphook Cycles)
7. James Griffiths (Linda Mccartney/WCU)
8. Lee Finch (Arctic 2000)
9. Daniel Lloyd (Raleigh Factory)
10. Alexander Ross (Desside Thistle)
11. Stephen Joseph (Gore Bike Wear)
12. James Shaw (Stourbridge CC)
13. Carl Freeman (High Wycombe)
14. Tom Rowan (Twickenham CC)
15. Peter Murdoch (Velo Eccosse)
Under-23 Rund um den Henninger Turm The Alsager/Addidas team dashed straight from the finish of the Twickenham CC race to Heathrow airport, from where they flew to Frankfurt for the Espoirs (Under-23) support race to the classic Rund um den Henninger Turm. Using the same course as the classic race, including the 800 metre climb of the Mammonshainer, it was a testing workout for the young riders, now sporting their international GB colours.
Against strong local opposition and top under 23s from all over Europe, the young GB riders (who are all 21 or under) put up a solid display riding in support of climber Jamie Alberts. With excellent support from his team-mates, Alberts rode strongly all day, but missed a crucial break of five riders which went early in the race. This group swelled to 13 by the last lap, with a gap of 2 minutes over the rest of the field. Alberts than attacked alone and attempted to bridge the gap. Although he manged to get within 20 seconds of the leaders, he wasnÇt able to make contact, and finished alone in a creditable 13th place.
Team Manager john Herety was pleased JamieÇs ride: ÑHe rode very well, especially considering that this is really only his first full season as a Senior following leg surgery he had last year. He sometimes lacks confidence in races of this length. But, heÇs got the ability, as he demonstrated in chasing the leaders alone for the last 22km.â
Neil Swithenbank supported Jamie Alberts until the last 25km and came in in 28thplace. Riding with the GB team and gaining experience of international racing were Lee Finch, David McGowan and James Shaw.
1. Torsten Hieckmann (Ger)
2. Dirk Reichl (Ger) Team Telekom Juniorteam
3. Thomas Brunn Eriksen (Den)
4. Christian Pfannberger (Aut)
5. Bram Tankink (Ned) Löwik Meubelen
6. Martin Eiminger (Swi)
7. Harald Starzenhgruber (Aut)
8. Jörg Strauss (Swi)
9. Steffen Weigold (Ger) Team Telekom Juniorteam
10. Niki Starosta (Ger) RG LG Giant Frankfurt
13. Jamie Alberts (GB)
28. Neil Swithenbank (GB)