2010 Noel Jones Memorial Road Race
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Story posted April 27, 2010; Report by S Thomas
A dominant performance from Abergavenny RC saw their riders fill the top three places at the weekend's Noel Jones Memorial road race over a hilly, 70 mile route around the Three Cocks village. With 7 laps to cover, each taking in a steep climb and on a rolling, energy sapping course, it is one of the toughest one day races on the Welsh calendar and always brings out the top 2nd cats.
A full field lined up at the start on a cloudy but otherwise warm day and as the race rolled out and the flag was dropped, Hefin Price (Port Talbot) immediately went on the attack with Richie Raymond (Cwmcarn) to take an early break. Their lead quickly ballooned to 45 seconds and the duo plugged away whilst Port Talbot and Cwmcarn covered moves back in the bunch, of which there were plenty!
Coming into lap 3, the wearing course started to take its toll and the enthusiasm of the bunch started to wane. Sensing this, some of the stronger riders started to play their cards with Richie Harris (Cwmcarn), George Rose (Abergavenny), Tim Rose (Abergavenny), Ian Bendall (Forza), Grant Leavy (Forza) and Dave Crowley (PTWCC) all trying their luck and stretching the bunch. On lap 3, a group of about 14 formed, which finally ate into the duo’s lead, catching them before just before the climb. Despite working well together this move didn't last and going over the top of the climb the bunch was back together.
As the race moved into lap 3, a few riders were chipping away but with James Lewis (PTWCC), ever present at the front, he brought them back close enough to allow Dave Crowley to jump across. A few more riders jumped across but the bunch was still trying to keep in contact.
However the elastic was near breaking point and with Crowley dangling off the front, George Rose jumped up to him. Rose moved quickly but Crowley went with him before Leavy, Tim Rose, Ben Simmons (Wiggle), Ian Sutcliffe (Abergavenny), Harris and Rowan Marshall (Bynea) joined them. With the favourites now all in the break and all major teams represented, the impetus in the peloton collapsed and the break was away.
The group worked well together and their gap soon went up to 3 minutes with everyone rolling through. However, with 3 strong men in the break, each capable of winning the race, Abergavenny held all the cards.
With 2 laps remaining on the board, Abergavenny started using their numbers, firing off men and forcing the others to chase. Initially an uneasy truce existed between the other riders but all were watching each other and trying not to be caught out. In that sort of environment a chase was always going to be tricky and sure enough with 3/4 of a lap remaining, George Rose jumped away.
Both Crowley and Leavy tried to get across before blowing just short of his back wheel and the subsequent chase from Marshall, Harris, Leavy and Crowley was half hearted as people started thinking about their own finishing position. With Rose being away, this move allowed the remaining Abergavenny riders an armchair ride to the finish.
Rose soloed in to the finishing hill to win by a comfortable margin of around a minute. Hitting the final hill in the remnants of the break, it was now every man for himself; Rowan kicked hard halfway up and got a gap, as did Sutcliffe and Tim Rose who by now had recovered nicely. Crowley, (who states his legs were about to explode) dug deep and managed to come past Marshall at the line but could do little to stop an Abergavenny 1,2,3, settling for 4th.
Meanwhile back in the bunch James Lewis took inspiration from a certain Fabian Cancellara and attacked on one of the flat sections of the course with 3/4 of a lap to go. In what must rank as one of the rides of the day, Lewis soloed to take 9th, a top 10 in one of the hilliest road races in Wales!
1. George Rose - Abergavenny RC
2. Tim Rose - " "
3. Ian Sutcliffe - " "
4. Dave Crowley - Port Talbot Wheelers
5. Rowan Marshall - Bynea CC
6. Grant Leavy - Forza Cycles
7. Ben Simmons - Team Wiggle
8. Richard Harris - Cwmcarn Paragon CC
9. James Lewis - Port Talbot Wheelers
10. Leyton Fleet - V.C Raphael
11. Matthew Haase - " "
12. Karl Hine - Private Member
13. Samuel Anstice - Cwmcarn Paragon CC
14. Andrew Hunt - Ystwyth CC
15. Richard Nelson - Paramount CRT
16. Jerry Rayner - Somer Valley CC
17. Arwel Davies - Bynea CC
18. Jason Perry - Cardiff Jif
19. Mike Kiss - Private Member
20. Liam Sullivan - Forza Cycles
21. Conor Ryan - V C Montpellier
22. Stephen Edwards - Cardiff Jif
23. Ian Bendall - Forza Cycles
24. Courtney Rowe - Cardiff Jif
25. Duncan Macloed " "
26. Luke Cornish = Cwmcarn Paragon CC
27. Andrew Baum - Private Member
28. Neal Craig - Forza Cycles
29. Robert Edgell - Somer Valley CC
30. Rob Mould - Cwmcarn Paragon CC
31. Paul Tucker - Agiskoviner
32. James Hansell - Cardiff Jif
33. Hefin Price - Port Talbot Wheelers
34. Richard Raymond - Cwmcarn Paragon CC
35. Ioan Williams - Cwmcarn Paragon CC
36. Steven Powell - " " "
37. Matthew Carlick - " " "
38. Robert Jeffroy - London Dynamo
39. David Finn - Newport Olympic CC
40. Adria Peall - Forza Cycles
41. Bryn Ruston - Cardiff Ajax
42. Tony trigg - " Jif
43. Paul Chick - Cwmcar Paragon CC