British Cycling Members Charlie and Max Cushway report from France on their season so far
With the road season having drawn to a close, there’s just time for a quick update of British Cycling members Charlie and Max Cushway’s progress in their first year riding in various ‘Ecole de Velo’ races in Brittany before they tackle the forthcoming cyclo cross challenges.
As their form continued to improve, the wins continued for Charlie (aged 9) with Max (7) continuing to take his place on the podium.
On Bastille Day the race at La Chapelle Brain, just north of Redon featured an undulating 4km circuit with a steep uphill finish through the town’s main high street. The scorching heat made the testing course even more of a challenge. Max came in second, finishing out of the saddle only a few bike lengths behind the local winner. Charlie had to complete two laps, with an attack on the first lap on the ascent proving an early test for the 30 or so 8 and 9 year-old riders. On the final lap Charlie made his move halfway up the final climb to the finish, winning by about 10 bike lengths.
A few days later, in completely contrasting conditions, the two brothers competed at Inguinel, just north of Plouay. Rain made the short town centre circuit tricky, with yet another steep uphill finish designed to sort out the strongest riders.
Max went off first, in a field of 20 riders, with two laps to complete. The climb to the line proved testing, with Max clinging on to second place. Charlie rode three laps at a manic pace from the off but managed to time the last uphill attack well, finishing first, well ahead of the peloton.
Two weeks later, on August 7, having had a short family holiday both boys returned to competition at Saint Peran, a small town about 40 minutes east of Rennes. Here Charlie was up against his arch rival, and current Morbihan Champion, so the pressure was on. As was the heat, with the Brittany sunshine beating down throughout the afternoon.
As usual the uphill finish provided an opportunity for other riders to attack with Charlie sitting in the wheels waiting for the final ascent. With narrow, gravely roads to negotiate and some sharp turns, though, it was enough to stay upright with everyone jostling for position. Into the final climb his rival broke free and lunged for an attack, so Charlie followed, just before summonsing enough momentum to overtake, beating him by several bike lengths as he crossed the line triumphantly. Max, although finishing a close second once more had been nursing a bad cough and was disappointed he didn’t manage to secure his first victory.
Three races, three victories with brother Max claiming three seconds.
So in total, 12 road victories this season for Charlie – two against the current Morbihan departmental champion in his age group (Pupille).
With better opportunities, especially on the track, the boys have recently joined Vannes club, Veloce Vannetais. Not just because it’s one of the strongest clubs in Brittany, but because Vannes is such a lovely place, the Wednesday and Saturday afternoon training sessions can be combined with a bit of sightseeing.
With the road season over the Cushway's first ‘cross’ of the season got underway at Quistinic on October 9th, with both boys taking third place on the podium. Next race, October 23rd – Ploemel.