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Flat out in the Fens: Trials and Tribulations 
in the Tour of Cambridgeshire

Bryan Steel Racing went on mass to the Tour of Cambridge to see how many riders we could qualify for the Amateur Road Racing Worlds Championships, aka Grand Fondo World finals in Italy later this year. All the riders doing this event are members of the Bryan Steel Racing team and team manager Bryan Steel reports on the eventful weekend.

Time trial

The Chrono on the Saturday started well with 3 of the team riding in their age groups. In the youngest age group, we had Jack who went to France last year, and with a stinking cold he still manged to get qualification – seeing him at the end I would still wanted to have been following him. Ian was in the 60-65 category and managed to finish in the worst position of 4th in his age group. He is already planning where we can make up 10 second for 2019. Simon Inman was our third rider, who didn’t have the best ride with his mind being focused on Sundays Grand Fondo and his first time doing this event but gained some valuable experience for next year.

Grand Fondo

The main focus was Sunday’s 78 miles across the Fenland in the Grand Fondo and in the morning we were very happy to see that there was no wind unlike last year. With most Sportives staring very early in the morning it felt very strange to be starting at mid-day, but as the package with Bryan Steel Racing included access to the Club Kermesse VIP facilities we were able to take full advantage of the hospitality on offer.

For this year all the Bryan Steel Racing riders was in the race pens, albeit split into our respective age groups.

Brook Pitchford was the first to go in 35-40 group but as soon as he went myself, Simon, Lee and Martin were taken to the start line with the other 196 riders. For me the was like old times when I used to race in big races but for the other riders it can be a daunting experience with so many other competitors, and as we started the goal was for me to keep them out of trouble. This was OK for the first 10km but then once we moved onto narrow lanes and even with the roads closed to other motorists was hard to keep in the right place all the time.

The riders were going very well but after an hour we hit the rough roads of the Fens. Along with the twisting and turning nature of the route the riders were starting to find it hard to be in the right place in the group and the race started to break up with the pressure of the riders on the front.

I was in my element like old times and even had the chance to catch up with some old racing mates before we hit the last 20km where things got serious. My first priority was to qualify for the World Championships and stay safe but as we got near to the finish I was finding I was able to hold the right line, going into the last corner in around 10th place… until an untimely crash caused me to swerve off my line and kill my speed. I ended the race in 27th place.

Once through the finish I found Brook who had done a brilliant ride, finishing in the front of his group. Simon was the next through, also finishing within the time limit. Martin Pearcy was the next of our team to finish, just outside the qualification time due to a puncture out on the route. He lost 6 minutes changing his inner tube (amazing time) and missed the limit by 4 minutes. Next in was Lee who had struggled after getting caught up behind several crashes but I also think the hot weather had got to him which didn’t help.

Of the older riders, Paul Newson achieved a massive personal best, but just missed the qualification time in his 50-55 age group. Last but not least was Steve Wright, who was in the 60-65 age group, however he was somewhat at a disadvantage as his group had to wait until all the sportive riders had left before his group started. Steve hasn’t done anything like this before but did a great job finishing just outside his time limit.

All in all, we had a good weekend with 5 riders able to book their place in Italy in September.

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Today’s race was not 10 miles from where David Ogg took 3rd place earlier in the season so the team was relishing today’s race. The race promoted by City Road Club Hulltook place on the North Newbaldcircuit 6 laps of a course that includes a long two stage climb with a false flat in the middle and the finish line at the top.
During lap one David was off the front with a Giant Lincoln rider attempting to make the selection early on, David’s breakaway companion was not up to the pace but nonetheless the damage was done and riders were shelled out the back as the race went up the climb for the second time with David settling for taking the prime.
On lap two Sam formed a liason with Jimmy Parvin of the Prologue Racing Team and they quickly put time into the bunch stretching their lead out to over a minute at one stage with Sam taking a prime as they went over the climb.
Out on the back of the course Parvin worked out that Sam was the stronger of the two riders on the undulating section of the course so on lap 5 he attacked Sam on the climb forging ahead at the line as they took the bell.
As the race approached the climb for the final time George could see that Sam had burnt all his matches so he turned on the “Derny” power and led David and Tom out for the sprint putting them in the perfect positions on the false flat leading to the finish line. David held his position until the last 10m and then burst out to take the bunch sprint for 2nd with Tom showing ever increasing form and taking 7th and George with reward for his team effort taking a very creditable 1oth.
So not bad day across the border, 2nd, 7th, 10th and two primes for our trouble.


After a difficult year in 2017 with a broken collar bone Sam has approached 2018 with a measured approach building steadily to his main goals of hitting top form when arriving in Belgium in July.

The Giro del Mon consisted of a TTT and a road race on day one, a ITT and a Kermesse on day two followed by the Queen’s stage on Monday with 4 laps of a 20 mile course taking in the dreaded Stiperstones with gradients of 20%.

Day one didn’t produce any results but it put Sam in a good position to move forward on day 2 with George Sewell committed to helping him out.

The ITT over a flat 7km course allowed Sam to use his time trialling skills putting in a good ride taking 7th overall in the stage and 3rd U23 rider.

Moving into the afternoon Sam encouraged by his mornings performance started the Kermesse in a positive mood. On lap two a break went with most teams being represented and Sam was in it. The break stayed away all race putting 45 secs into the main bunch. Two of the teams had more than one rider in the break and so was able to play the team game giving it the old one two and attacking strongly. Sam came in with the main gallop securing himself 11th place.

The final day was always going to be a war of attrition especially with the National Hill Climb Champion in the field, and so it proved to be on lap one with attacks going in on the 20% grade. On lap two Sam, after being supported by George, was still in the bunch as it went over the top. George his job done called it a day.

As the race proceeded the rate of attrition was high, but Sam with his eye on doing well in his category pushed on and came in just behind the main bunch. Such was the difficulty of the stage only 50% of the field finished, but by pushing on Sam finished the third 3rd Cat in the event.

A tough event and the first time the lads have competed in a 3 day event so good experience for the future.

Next week the team are competing in the Nick Clark E123 race at Leighton Buzzard.


This weekend the team of David Ogg, George Sewell and Luke Hind competed in the Ilkley two day on a tough course around the Darley area of the North Yorkshire moors, reports Mick Padley.
Stage 1 was an individual time trial which put David some 12 secs back on GC, so it was still all to play for going into Stage 2.
All 3 riders were very active in stage 2 with David helping to bridge across to the early break unwittingly collecting some KOM points in the process. In the end local knowledge came to the fore and the stage was won by Yorkshire rider leaving the lads to come in with the bunch gallop.
Stage 3 was a TTT but we had worked out that to go for the overall would be difficult so rode the stage with the afternoon road race in mind.
Stage 4 on paper was always going to be difficult with gradients of 17 and 12% and so it proved. Having worked out we had a chance in the KOM competition David attacked from the gun and was initially out on his own mopping up the points. He was joined by a second rider, but David wasn’t about to loose his jersey as he was the virtual KOM leader on the road and took maximum points at every opportunity. Coming into the last lap a group of 3 initially tried to bridge across but the pace David was setting made that difficult and they retreated back to the bunch.
It took the remainder of a very depleted bunch to finally bring David and his breakaway companion back, but by this time he had captured the KOM jersey and not to be outdone with 300m to go he was still competing for 3rd place, but being out front all day had took its toll on the legs. Seeing that David’s chance had gone George opened up his sprint with the bunch and came home with the remainder of a very small peleton compared to the 80 riders that had started the day.
As a bonus to winning the KOM it looks like David has also come top 10 in the Points competition, a brilliant weekend and a great team effort.

Cycling and Golf?

Bryan writes about how golf can be like cycling….

After my second Olympic medal and my retirement from racing I was asked by a number of charities to be an ambassador, which meant they kept asking me to attend their fund-raising golf days with people asking to go round with me.

As I hadn’t had the chance to do any other sports throughout my cycling career, I thought this would be a nice new challenge and you can image how I felt when after taking the time to have a couple of coaching sessions, a few goes on the driving range and a couple rounds with people I know, there I stood in the first tee with my JJB golf starter set.

In my group there was someone who was telling me the thousands of pounds he had spent on equipment. The funny thing was, 5 minutes later we met again looking for our golf balls in the same patch of rough ground.

Cycling is the same and it very easy to be put off by the cost and the amount of kit on the market along with the people who are very happy to tell you how much they had spent. It is very easy to be put off, but as in my first round of golf, a little time spent getting ready will make the world of difference.

At Bryan Steel Cycling we try to break this down by helping you get started in the sport in a fun and social way whilst also challenging you in the right way.

To do a sportive you don’t need a thousands of pounds bike, just a bike that fits you, set up for you, and most importantly to have done the right preparation.

If you look at you will see various membership packages to suit your needs and give you the right level of support to achieve whatever cycling challenge you are planning to achieve.

The main thing to remember is that like in golf, it not about throwing money at the sport, but instead investing some time in yourself to do some training and making sure you are prepared for your big day – and like my first round of golf, having that warm glow of beating the man who had spent thousands of pounds! (I did have a great time in the end, but cycling is definitely the sport for me!)

Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on equipment the bike will not go forwards without someone getting on it and pedalling the thing!






Today’s race was sponsored by the Wold Top Brewery who gave every rider a bottle of beer. I don’t know if it was the anticipation of drinking the beer at the end of the race or the worry of leaving it all with me while they raced that put the fire in the teams belly but they certainly rode very aggressively whilst at the same time being smart and took control of the race.
Whichever vantage point I chose to watch the race from there was always Godfrey orange at or near the front of the race. It started on the first lap with David Ogg going away with two other riders gaining 30secs very quickly. The panic that ensued in the bunch was palpable with the other riders chasing hard to close it down. Immediately the break was made Tom Booth went over the top taking a few riders with him, the rest of the team sat in whilst the bunch worked hard to bring him back. Soon as it was brought back Karl Baillie launched a stinging attack which lasted half a lap.
The other riders trying to put some control of their own into the race and formed a break, but it didn’t last long as Sam Smith brought them back on the long descent and the status quo was re-established.
This was the pattern for the first half of the race with either an Academy rider forcing a break or closing one down.
A lull ensued and just as the peleton was catching its breath George Sewell and David hatched another plan with George driving on with David on his wheel. Alert to the danger around 15 riders jumped across the gap and this was how the second half of the race proceeded. David and George knew the group was two big to take to the final but found themselves outnumbered as the riders had them earmarked as the danger men and so had to wait for the final as the peleton was now a minute in arrears.
The finish line was up a gradual slope so George used his power to stretch out the group and put David in a good position for the sprint. With 20m to go David was in the lead but was just pipped on the line by two other riders and had to settle for a well fought third whilst George took a solid 8th place after playing the team role. In the bunch gallop Sam put Tom into a position were he could contest the sprint, all in all a good day at the office.
Next week the team is competing in the Ilkley 2 day stage race with Luke, David and George whilst Sam, Karl and Tom will be racing in the Coalville Wheelers race.
Now then where did I put those bottles of beer?
Report by Mick Padley.

It’s been a bit hot “darn sarf” this week

Some of the lads have had a busy week with Tom Booth showing some form and taking 11th at Hillingdon during the week. Tom was in the fast closing chasing bunch and took 3rd in the bunch in the sprint, a sign that he’s making good progress.
On Sunday the whole of the team competed in the Thames Velo Nat B race on the drift circuit, which is relatively flat interspersed with a couple of drags which was reflected in the average speed for the race of 29mph.
We anticipated a break going from the start, but the first one didn’t contain any riders of significance so we bided our time in the break. Until around 32km when David Ogg went with some useful riders but the commitment wasn’t there from everyone and a Morvelo Basso rider pushed on alone whilst the break was absorbed.
As the break came back George Sewell went over the top to try and bridge to the lone leader and form a useful group. A couple of other riders went with him but the peleton sensed the danger and closed it down which was the signal for Sam Smith to chance his arm and form a breakaway with Karl Baillie and some other riders, but last years winner Dan Bigham was having non of it and with his team mate closed the gap.
With 25kms to go the winning break finally made it stick containing Dan Bigham and Rees Howell who has been making his mark this season. Even with encouragement from our riders the main group seemed uninterested in fetching them back, perhaps the 28 degree heat was taking its toll.
As the group approached the drag to the finish Luke Hind, our first year rider, tried to launch himself away from the bunch but got swallowed up in the mass sprint. Unfortunately no points today but the team animated the race and made other teams take the boys from “up North” seriously.
This coming weekend we have a 6 man squad racing in the Top Wold Actif race near Beverly and if their performance on Sunday is anything to go by they have the legs to do well.
Report by Mick Padley

Fighting on Two Fronts

This last weekend the team was competing at two events, reports Team Manager, Mick Padley. We had George Sewell, Sam Smith and Karl Baillie, getting selection for the East Midlands team in the Melton Cicle Classic whilst I took David Ogg, Tom Booth and Luke Hind to the Stockbridge RR down on the Hampshire Downs.
The Stockbridge race was held over the rolling roads of Hampshire with the course either going up hill or down hill with little chance for any recovery. For the first two laps the riders were getting the measure of each other before committing to any attacks. The finish was at the top of a 1000m long climb and it was on the start of lap 3 that David made his move taking with him 5 other riders. they worked well together and quickly created a 60 sec gap. The breakaway seemed conscious of David’s climbing ability and worked together to get rid of him, so as we went into the 5th of 6 laps David was dropped after making them work hard to drop him.
Meanwhile Luke was the victim of zealous officialdom and was disqualified for finding himself the wrong side of the white line after swerving to avoid another rider, the commissaire reversed his decision but by this time the bunch had disappeared over the hill. Tom Booth continued with his recovery after bouts of illness at the beginning of the season and used the event to get some competitive miles in his legs, not to be dismayed Tom recognises that poor early form can lead to good mid season form which he needs for his two months we have planned for him in the Flandrian region of Belgium.

Rutland CiCle Sportive in the Sun!

Last weekend Bryan and the team enjoyed some fantastic weather (for April!) as they led a group of riders around the Rutland CiCle Tour Sportive organised by ITP Events. Rider leader Paul Newson reports on the day.

Entrants had the option to sign up for the coach-led ride on the middle distance 80 mile route, and on Saturday we were joined by two riders getting back into their stride – Gary and Steve; two ladies training for an Iron Man (which involves a 112 mile ride at over 14mph average) – Sam and Tina; and Nadjia, recently recovering from surgery and still undergoing treatment, who had travelled up from London the night before especially for the opportunity to ride with Bryan and learn from his experience.

After introductions and coffee at Bryan’s van, conveniently parked at the start line, our guest riders and leaders for the day jumped the queue and set off at a steady pace while we all settled into the rhythm for the day. Key factors where pacing on the hills and making sure everyone ate and drank enough, especially as the temperatures rose to a balmy 25º. Pacing was down to us to make sure we stayed as a comfortable group, but there can be no fear of a good feast at an ITP Events Sportive with their buffet of high-carb delights at every feed station. The fruitcake is a particular speciality, and if you’ve tried it, you’ll know why!

The ride took an undulating tour through the smallest county in England, Rutland, and neighbouring counties, taking in spectacular views of the Eyebrook Reservoir and the impressive Harringworth Viaduct along its way. The route gave Bryan plenty of opportunity to speak to each rider in turn and advise them on how to improve their riding technique, especially with the hills. Nadjia in particular benefitted from the pedal technique advice which gave her that extra boost to get up the steepest sections.

By the end of the ride the hills were starting to have an effect on some of the riders but we all finished safely together to debrief back at the Giant Store Rutland for a well-earned finishers medal, coffee and recovery burger.

Tina, one of the Iran Man trainees, said afterwards: “Thank you guys so much for an epic ride today. I really enjoyed it and have taken away some valuable lessons to put into practice.” We look forward to keeping in touch and finding out how they get on!

Visit the ITP Events website for a full list of their events where you can sign-up for a ride with Bryan. We look forward to seeing you next time!

Academy Riders find their level at the Chorley GP

Bryan Steel reports on the the opening round of the British Cycling Elite Road Series for 2018 in the Chorley Borough. The race is part of the 2018 HSBC UK Spring Cup series and saw the Academy facing national professional teams such as OnePro and Madison Genesis on the start line.

This weekend the academy made a massive step up with riding the first national series road race at the Chorley GP. The riders were not only contending with some of the best riders and team in the UK, but they faced 116 miles of some of the hardest roads Lancashire could offer. Karl, Luke, Tom and Dave lined up and with the first-year riders and there were a few nervous faces with the race plan to get stuck in while learning what level they will need to be in the future.

At the end of the first 25-mile lap there was bodies everywhere with the race already spread over 10 miles in the first hour. Dave and Karl were sat nicely in the bunch but Tom and Luke, for whom this was the first time they had raced at this level, were off the back in a small chasing group.

The second time through, Dave and Karl were still sat in the main field and Luke and Tom pulled out after the long but unsuccessful chase. They told me that in the crosswind over Riverton Moor they got stuck behind a crash and at this level if a gap opens then they know it was going to have to be a very hard chase to get back on.

On the third lap the pace really picked where Karl got dropped and even if it was nicely and sunny in Chorley the weather had taken a turn for the worst on the other side of the 25-mile lap and with the weather and the distance at this speed the racing had taken its toll.

By the time the bunch came through the fourth time Dave was showing signs of struggling but OK, but he got dropped on the first hill out of Chorley which is the same place he got dropped last year and called it a day.

On the whole the academy rode very well but they now know that the level of racing is higher than they currently are, and the new riders now know the level they need to be to make progress.


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