A BUSY WEEKEND FOR THE TEAM IN THE BUCS NATIONAL RR CHAMPS AND THE LINCOLN GP
The weekend started on Saturday for Josh Housley representing the team and Loughborough University in the BUCS national rr championships an E12 event up in York on the tricky Bulmer circuit. Josh put all his recent premier racing to good effect and put in an early attack that took away some useful riders all prepared to work in the break. They quickly established a 1.30 gap but in the closing laps of the race a strong group bridged across making this the final selection. Josh was still up there in the sprint but as could be expected had to pay for his earlier efforts in forcing the race apart and had to settle for 5th, nonetheless another 35 points in the bag as he inches ever closer to his 1st Cat.
On the Sunday the ever popular Lincoln GP was vastly oversubscribed and we only had David and Pierre on the start line whilst George and Sam were out training preparing for our next event.
A breakaway quickly formed and with all the major teams represented all David and Pierre had to do was sit tight in the bunch, no easy feat when the average speed is 25+mph. Whilst other riders were being shelled out the back, including some of the pro teams such as Raleigh and Wiggins, David and Pierre were circulating comfortingly in the bunch and positioning themselves well on the notorious Michaelgate climb. Even crashes in the feed zone and other parts of the circuit did not dull the pace of the peleton and with 3 laps to go the major teams decided they didn’t have the right men in the break and the pace picked up, rapidly thinning out the group. David and Pierre made it to the last lap but where pulled out along with dozens of other riders so not as to interfere with the final. A good performance by the lads showing how much they have progressed from last year and are not frightened to mix it with the pro’s.
Next week the team will be contesting the Upton GP in Yorkshire, the hot bed of British cycling, so can expect a fiercely challenging race.
DAVID OGG IMPRESSES WITH HIS CAPTAIN'S HAT ON
Sunday 30th April 2017
On the 30th April the team competed in the Thames Velo E123 road race at Maidenhead the next biggest race in the country after the Tour de Yorkshire. The parcour consisted of a rolling course with strong winds which ultimately played a major role in the race outcome. We fielded the whole of the team with Sam Smith making his second comeback ride after his injury in the 80 mile race.
At the team briefing we knew that only a strong group would be able to break away in the conditions and a small group was needed in the final to avoid a mass sprint along the 2km straight road. Teams such as Bike Channel and Metaltek were present which meant we had to be alert to every attack. They say the best form of defence is attack so that’s what we did at every suitable opportunity with Pierre making some strong efforts in the early stages, but with strong winds and speeds of 40mph being achieved on the tail wind sections it was always going to be difficult. The team tactic was for Pierre and David to be active in the first half of the race and if nothing materialised then Josh and George were to take over in the second half with Sam sitting tight in case it came to a final sprint.
At around half race distance David initiated another attack dragging with him a few useful riders this looked like the break that was going to succeed and with two laps to go a group of seven had a 55 sec lead on the bunch. The main team to miss out was Giant Sheffield and they massed to the front of the bunch pushing on the pace, but with little help from other teams they were never going to close the gap even though they reduced it to 30secs.
The message that the peleton was in hot pursuit was fed to the breakaway and Dan Bigham (Brother NRG) attacked his breakaway companions, with everyone looking at one another David tried to make the bridge but with no help from the others it was to no avail and he was swamped by the other riders in the run in to the line having to settle for 6th but nonetheless content with the knowledge that he had thrown everything at it.
The Peleton came in as a mass sprint with Josh, George and Sam sprinting for the minor places whilst Pierre rolled over the line after his efforts to force the pace but pleased that he had helped David getaway.
A fast well organised race with an average speed of 28mph, that’s an 80 mile race in under 3 hours, points for the team with David 6th, good cohesion within the team and Sam starting to show form on his comeback trail made the 3 hour drive worth it.
A WINDY DAY IN THE WOLDS!
Sunday 9th April 2017
As the team set off for the second round of the HSBC Spring Cup it was clear the weather was going to play a major part in the race. With time cut offs that were going to be strictly applied it was obvious that positioning was going to be everything.
The race consisted of a 20 mile transitional route from Louth out onto the Caistor loop which was to circumnavigated 3 times followed by a return to Louth and 8 laps of the town centre. Anyone more that 1 min 30 behind a lead group was not going to be allowed onto the circuit, which means there was the potential for a single rider to be circulating alone.
Most teams had realised this and the hammer went down on the transitional phase with groups echeloning along the route making it look like the E3 Harelbecke. By the time the race had reached the Caistor loop a seven man break had forced itself away and as the race climbed over Nettleton Top for the first time the race consisted of several groups with our lads in the third group.
The pace was relentless and the wind continued to take its toll with 80% of the field being withdrawn after the 3rd climb of Nettleton Top. Unfortunately we, along with a large number of the pro team riders, were also pulled out of the race.
Only 21 riders made it back to the finishing circuit which was reduced to 9 in the final laps with Brenton Jones of JLT taking the honours supported in third by the evergreen Russ Downing giving the younger riders a lesson in how to ride in the conditions.
This was the second race of the season for some members of the team racing at this level and as they say every day is a school day, which is part of the raison d’etre of the team to give East Midland U23 riders exposure to racing at the highest level the UK can offer, learn from the experience and re-adjust their aims and goals with an eye on the future.
Next week the team is aiming to compete in the Chorley GP round 3 of the Spring Cup.
Sunday 2nd April 2017
This weekend, the team took on the Klondike GP – the first of many National Series races they’ll be racing this year. Mick reports:
The first major race on the UK calendar was run out on Sunday 2nd April from Guisborough on the edge of the Cleveland fells. The organisers had put together a challenging course with little heed for the spirit level with a climb of a 20% hairpin on every lap. We fielded 5 riders David Ogg, Pierre Vernie, Josh Housley, George Sewell and Conor Williams with Sam Smith still being out with a broken collar bone.
With everyone eager to claim gold nerves were high on the run out in the neutralised zone with a major pile up of around 50 riders causing David to take a bike from the neutralised car for the rest of the race, the race being delayed some 15 minutes.
An early break ensued with some useful riders but the peleton was in no mood to get worried about them and our own Josh Housley was active on the climbs near the front of the peleton controlling the gap to the break.
As the race progressed David was beginning to tire riding a bike not set up for him whilst George, Pierre and Josh remained active in the bunch keeping to the fore on every lap. On the last lap the hammer went down as the peleton could sense the chance of striking it rich and catching the break. Unfortunately David fell outside the police protection bubble and with a large number of other riders was pulled out as the peleton approached the finish, leaving George, Pierre and Josh mixing it with the major players. As the pace hotted up Josh dug deep and held on to finish across the line in what remained of the bunch making him our leading rider whilst Chris Latham of Team Wiggins took the sprint.
A well organised and supported race, with crowds lining both sides of the road on the major climbs and the finish straight, which looks set to become a feature on the UK calendar for the next few years the Klondike GP has certainly struck gold.
The team are now looking forward to the next race on Sunday 9th April The Tour of the Wolds based in Lincolnshire
Saturday 25th March 2017
Team Captain David Ogg writes:
The awful weather that’s usually blights Darley wasn’t to be seen. Dan Bigham (BND Pro Cycling) went on the 3rd or 4th lap and time trialled to the finish while his team mate worked on the front neutralising attacks. We got in a few moves but all but one came back near the end, which we missed, whilePierre got in a late move but got caught on the last lap. I helped George move up the group and tried to keep the pace high, and Pierre, gassed from his break effort, tried to help set it up for George. Unfortunately, George lost my wheel going into one of the final corners and was too far down to open up his sprint, although we all negotiated the hair pin with no problems. Obviously disappointed not to get a result but it’s all part of the journey and we were going strong!
Pierre Vernie adds:
Difficult to pick out a good time to attack and a lot of unsuccessful digs from everybody. Impressive ride from the winner to say the least but there was never an organised chase to reel him in. Finally 4 were dragged off the front by a JLT-Condor rider late in the race. My only satisfaction was to slip off the bunch with 2 laps to go, and joined by 2 riders that got bridged the gap but were blown and we were back together for the last lap. Tried to get behind David to help lead George out for the sprint but I lost the wheel and George did too. No result but I feel like we had a strong showing today in spite of an absence of results.
Sunday 19th March 2017
Our French rider Pierre today faced up to the Derbyshire winds in the vogue of the famous French winds Le Mistral. As planned he was the last man in what appeared to be a dangerous break mid way through the race, his perceptions were correct as the break stayed away.
Back in the bunch George Sewell and Conor Williams settled in for an easy ride leaving it to the other teams to organise the chase.
The strong winds played an important role in the race and the bunch never looked like catching the break who stayed at around 60 seconds for the rest of the race. On the day it was the reserve rider Louis Szymanski of ABC Centreville who had the strongest legs and he forged ahead with two laps to go leaving the 7 remaining break away companions to fight out the minor placings. Pierre attempted to drop his companions on the uphill run to the line and drew 3 other riders away with him. Clearly all the three riders were tired and they fought out the remaining podium slots with Pierre just getting pipped for third, but fourth on a day like today is a good result as Pierre notches up some early season points.
Conor realising that they would not catch the breakaway put in an attack of his own arriving at the finishing climb with a small gap aiming to pick up some points. His brave but unsuccessful attack was caught by the bunch which released George to put in a dig up the hill putting in a strong finish to come in near the front of the diminished group.
A good team effort in preparation for the forthcoming Klondyke GP
A WEEKEND OF MIXED EMOTIONS
Saturday 14th March 2017
For the first race of the year the team was split between the E123 Roy Thame Cup in Buckinghamshire and the E123 race at Darley Moor.
David, Pierre, Conor , Josh and George were in action at the Roy Thame a race epitomised by terrible road conditions causing several punctures in the neutralised zone effectively putting the end to some riders race. The objectives of the team was to cover the moves and try and get in the deciding break whilst also becoming accustomed to racing as a largely new team. On the day Pierre had the legs and was decisive in creating what was to be the break of the day, the break was quickly strengthened by the key teams and the gap quickly grew to 1 minute 30.
Pierre then became a victim of the pot hole gremlins suffering a front wheel puncture effectively putting an end to his efforts for the day. The team tried to rally support with a chase with George putting in some strong efforts on the front but with most teams supported in the breakaway it was to no avail.
The plot was set and it was clear the winner would come from the break so the lads concentrated on maintaining their form in the bunch practising their sprints on the run into the line. All in all a day for consolidation Job Done.
Meanwhile across at Darley Moor an otherwise excellently organised event was marred by poor bike handling causing crashes in the final hairpin. The race overall was pretty uneventful with the bunch staying largely together.
Coming off of a very solid winter of training with the Bryan Steel Academy Sam Smith decided to keep his powder dry and save his sprint for the line. At the hairpin he was positioned well in the front 10 but as is the unfortunately too common occurrence a rider dived up the inside into a gap that wasn’t there causing a pile up. Sam was a victim of this resulting in a fractured collar bone. Sam was heard to say ********** showing his anger at his early season chances being spoilt after coming off the best winters training he’s ever done. Looks like Sam is going to be very familiar with his turbo for the next 6 weeks or so.