40th Girvan 3 Day Cycle Race

40th Girvan 3 Day Cycle Race

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40th Girvan 3 Day Cycle Race

Promoted by Wallacehill Cycling Club
A British Cycling Premier Calendar Event | Series Standings

Race Reports by Carl J Lawrenson www.ccs-uk.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

DAY 3 -- Stage 4, Girvan – Girvan, 72 miles
The General Classification going into the fourth and final stage of the 2009 Girvan showed five riders within 25 seconds of the leader Tom Murray (Plowman Craven-Madison), with most of the major teams represented.

Andy Tennant (Halfords Bikehut), winner of the Tour of the Reservoir was lying third at 15 seconds with Simon Richardson (Rapha Condor) fourth at the same time and Candi-TV Marshalls Pasta’s Peter Williams in fifth at 25 seconds.

The wildcard at the top of the classification was second place Marcin Bialoblocki (Sport Beans Wilier, pictured right), 10 seconds down on Murray and riding as part of the composite Team E12. Surely it would be difficult for the tall Polish born rider to maintain or even better his position against the strength of the big teams also looking for the ultimate podium place?

Another perfect spring day greeted the departure of the 99 remaining riders from Girvan, set to cover 72 miles over challenging and pictureseque terrain with three first category climbs to be tackled along the route. The pattern set on the previous stages, with attacks almost from the off, continued as the field anticipated the first King of the Mountains climb at Penkill coming at just 2.1 miles. Maximum points were collected by the polka dot jersey of Ian Bibby (Team Halfords Bikehut) with his nearest challenger in the climbing competition, Gary Hand (Endura Racing) taking second.

Dropping down the twisty and technical descent into Barr - known locally as ‘The Screws’ - Tony Gibb (Plowman Craven-Madison) was the first abandon of the day as his remaining team-mates drove hard at the front to aid yellow jersey Murray, whilst Bialoblocki punctured and had to apply maximum effort to regain the peloton after receiving service.

Tackling the first category climb at Glenella with 12 miles gone, the first significant advantage was gained as three riders went clear. Accompanying stage 2 winner Graham Briggs (Candi-TV Marshalls Pasta) were Nambia's Dan Craven (Rapha Condor) and Marc Perry (Plowman Craven-Madison).  Craven couldn’t maintain contact as the road sloped up and as quickly as he was dropped, the remaining two were joined by King of the Mountains leader Bibby.

Following the descent and on the run in to the first Hot Spot Sprint of the day at Kirkmichael, it was Perry who was now despatched back to the peloton who by now were almost a minute behind the two leaders. As Plowman Craven-Madison policed the front of the peloton, Murray’s position wasn’t seriously threatened by the breakaway’s with Bibby 2:34 down on GC and Briggs at 20:22.

 Meanwhile the leaders advantage was increasing through the prime line at Crosshill where Briggs took the hot spot, and by the 30 mile mark the peloton were 1:22 behind. As the race sped through the crossroads at Cloyntie Toll, a major crash felled a significant number of riders and the chasing group was split in two. Gary Hand came off worst of the crash victims and his race ended with a trip to hospital. However none of the main overall contenders were affected by the crash, and the breakaway’s advantage started to fall away quickly with Kristian House particularly active in reeling them in.

 As the race turned left on to Hadyard Hill, so often a decisive point in previous editions of the Girvan, the leaders were caught as the road went upwards once again. With Rapha Condor now driving hard, Tom Southam took first place across the prime line with Bibby again scoring a second place and increasing his grip on the climbers jersey. By now, the race was well and truly split asunder and just 35 riders made up the lead group whilst the back markers were more than 8 minutes behind.

An attack by Russell Downing (Candi-TV Marshalls Pasta) on the descent was soon neutralised and Murray still looked comfortable riding near the front of the peloton. With barely 4 miles between Hadyard Hill and the final climb of the race, Nick o’ the Balloch, more riders were shed as the high pace continued and the Candi-TV Marshalls Pasta team scored another KoM victory with Peter Williams crossing the summit in first place with Andy Tennant showing he has the legs for a big climb by taking second.

As the riders descended and then climbed again over Tairlaw Summit, a new lead group of 16 riders had formed. Yellow jersey Murray had missed the move and found himself in a split peloton which soon lost more than 30 seconds on the lead group which included his main challengers Downing, Tennant, Williams and Bialoblocki. Sensing the opportunity to further distance Murray the leaders set a relentless pace and the group was down to 10 members by the final hot spot sprint in Straiton. Krisitan House was first across the prime line, enough to ensure that he would be declared the winner of the green jersey Endura Sprints competition, whilst Bialoblocki was now the yellow jersey on the road as Murray’s group fell further behind.

Girvan winner in 2007 Ian Wilkinson (Team Halfords Bikehut) again showed what a strong rider he is by attacking the lead group as the roads finally flattened on the run back to Girvan. His move was countered by Russell Downing and soon the two had a 15 second advantage and this had increased to 22 seconds with just 5 miles to go. Downing showed he was the stronger sprinter, just beating Wilkinson across the line, meanwhile House finished in third place as Tennant led in the next group containing Bialoblocki who, arms aloft, knew he had done enough to deny his nearest challengers and take the final yellow jersey of the race.

With Bibby secure in the Carrick Gazette King of the Mountains competition, it was some consolation for Halfords Bikehut to win the Team Classification, and further proof of Tennant’s form as he took not only the second place overall but also the Pete Longbottom award for best Under 23 rider in the race. Peter Williams rounded off his excellent performance throughout the race by taking 3rd place on the winners podium. Speaking after the presentation ceremony, Bialoblocki was clearly delighted by his first major win - particularly in the face of potentially much stronger teams – and was already looking forward to resuming battle at the East Midlands CiCle Classic in two weeks time.

So the 40th Girvan came to a close and the final word went to race organiser Ian Sinclair who couldn’t have wished for a better outcome – top class racing, enthusiastic supporters and three days of perfect spring weather. With the backing of main event sponsor Scottish Power Renewables secure for at least a further two years, and excellent support from local Police ensuring the safe passage of the race, the Girvan can only go from strength to strength as the next chapter in it’s long history unfolds.

1. Russell Downing CandiTV-Pinarello E  3:02:50
2. Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bike Hut E at 0:01  
3. Kristian House Rapha Condor E at 0:29  
4. Andy Tennant Halfords Bike Hut Esp 1 at 0:34 
5. Marcin Bialoblocki Team E12 E  st  
6. Peter Williams CandiTV-Pinarello E  st
7. Simon Gaywood Corley Cycles E at 0:41 
8. Will Bjergfelt Team E12 E at 0:42 
9. Tom Southam Rapha Condor E  st  
10. Gareth Montgomery Sigma Sport - Spec E at 0:45

Final Classification     
1. Marcin Bialoblocki Team E12 E  9:04:52
2. Andy Tennant Halfords Bike Hut Esp 1 at 0:05
3. Peter Williams CandiTV-Pinarello E at 0:15
4. Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bike Hut E at 0:19
5. Russ Downing CandiTV-Pinarello E at 0:40
6. Kristian House Rapha Condor E at 0:55
7. Simon Gaywood Corley Cycles E at 1:05
8. Will Bjergfelt Team E12 E at 1:16
9. Tom Murray Plowman Craven E at 1:41
10. Gareth Montgomery Sigma Sport - Spec E  st
11. Tom Southam Rapha Condor E at 2:46
12. Steve Lampier KUK Kinesis E at 2:59
13. Chris McNamara Corley Cycles E  st
14. Mark McNally Halfords Bike Hut Esp 1  st
15. Malcolm Elliott CandiTV-Pinarello E at 3:01
16. James Moss KUK Kinesis 1 at 4:09
17. Callum Wilkinson Endura Racing Esp 1  st
18 Ian Bibby Halfords Bike Hut E at 4:15
19. Roy Chamberlain Corley Cycles E at 4:21
20. Matt Higgins Corley Cycles E at 5:10

Full Result: http://www.girvanrace.info/results_stage04.htm

1. Ian Bibby (Halfords Bikehut)

1. Kristian House (Rapha Condor)

Stage 3: Girvan toMinigaff, 76 miles
The longest stage of the 2009 Girvan was set to explore roads never before used in the race's 40 year history, and presented a superb scenic backdrop to a competitive day of racing in near perfect conditions.

Yellow jersey wearer Tom Murray (Plowman Craven-Madison) started the day with a 10 second advantage on GC with Marcin Bialoblocki (Team E12) second and Simon Richardson (Rapha Condor) a further 5 seconds behind.

A couple of short-lived attacks immediately enlivened the action, and with the Dailly hot spot sprint coming after just 4.7 miles it was Mark McNally (Team Halfords Bikehut) who captured first place, while second for Kristian House (Rapha Condor) allowed him to take the green jersey as James Millard (Plowman Craven-Madison) failed to take any sprint points during the stage.

Following the climb of Dersalloch Hill at 15 miles where Ian Bibby (Team Halfords Bikehut) took the KOM points, the peloton split into several groups on the technical descent. By 19 miles, as the race approached Dalmellington, a lead group of 8 riders had gone clear with Candi TV-Pinarello represented by Russ Downing, Graham Briggs and Peter Williams; Simon Richardson and Darren Lapthorne for Rapha Condor; Ian Wilkinson for Team Halfords Bikehut; Simon Gaywood for Team Corley Cycles and Bialoblocki for the Team E12 composite team there too. Significantly the Plowman Craven-Madison squad of yellow jersey Murray had failed to make the move and were foremost in the effort to bring the break back.

The pace remained frenetic and it was taking a toll at the back as many riders lost contact. While the leading group had gained a maximum advantage of 50 seconds by the 44 mile mark, the chase down continued and by the start of the 3rd category climb at Corriedoo Forest the front of the race came back together. There was a scare for Murray who suffered two punctures in quick succession but aided by a strong team effort he was safely back in the bunch as the race exited St Johns Town of Dalry.

Onto the final classified climb of the day at Glenlee, Bibby again gained maximum points to ensure that he would pull on the polka dot jersey of King of the Mountains leader, while on the descent a split in the highly active peloton separated the race again. The large front group contained all the jersey contenders and promised an exciting bunch sprint at the finish in Minigaff.

With riders spread gutter to gutter as the final gallop unfolded, it was Russell Downing who made up for his disappointment on the previous evening's criterium stage by taking the victory from Simon Gaywood (Team Corley Cycles) second and veteran Malcolm Elliott in third.

With both Bialoblocki and Murray finishing in the same time the overall lead was retained by the Plowman Craven-Madison rider, and his delight was clear to see as he accepted his third yellow jersey of the race.

Just one stage, but undoubtedly the toughest, awaits the riders on Easter Monday as along the route they tackle the often decisive climb of Hadyard Hill, swiftly followed by the fearsome ascent of the Nick o' the Balloch before the race finishes back at Victory Park in Girvan.

Stage 3 Results (top 10)
1 Russ Downing CandiTV-Pinarello E 3:02:16
2 Simon Gaywood Corley Cycles E st
3 Malcolm Elliott CandiTV-Pinarello E st
4 Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bike Hut E st
5 Marcin Bialoblocki Team E12 E st
6 Mat Kipling KUK Kinesis E st
7 Matt Higgins Corley Cycles E st
8 Mark Wordsworth Corley Cycles E st
9 Peter Williams CandiTV-Pinarello E st
10 Will Bjergfelt Team E12 E st

General Classification After Stage 3 (top 10)
1 Tom Murray Plowman Craven E 6:01:18
2 Marcin Bialoblocki Team E12 E at 0:10
3 Andy Tennant Halfords Bike Hut Esp 1 at 0:15
4 Simon Richardson Rapha Condor E st
5 Peter Williams CandiTV-Pinarello E at 0:25
6 Simon Gaywood Corley Cycles E at 1:08
7 Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bike Hut E at 1:12
8 Malcolm Elliott CandiTV-Pinarello E at 1:13
9 Kristian House Rapha Condor E at 1:15
10 Matt Higgins Corley Cycles E at 1:18


Winner of stage 2, Graham Briggs is very pleased with the sprint whilst Ian Wilkinson less so.

Stage 1: Girvan - Girvan, 62 miles
Easter weekend and the Girvan Cycle Race are inseparable in the minds of many cycling fans so it was fitting that one of the best fields ever assembled for the 40th anniversary edition. Rolling out under sunny skies, the first stage saw the riders head towards Ayr for the first time in several years. It was action almost from the start for the 101 rider peloton and the first Endura Hot Spot Sprint of the day was contested after 4.5 miles outside the world famous Turnberry Golf Course. The points were taken by James Millard of Plowman Craven-Madison narrowly beating Ben Greenwood of Rapha Condor.

As the race headed for Electric Brae, a deceptive section of road that appears to go uphill, but is in fact a downward slope, a leading group of twelve riders had established a lead of 17 seconds and included amongst them were current National Road Race Champion (and Girvan winner from 1997) Rob Hayles of Halfords Bikehut, Simon Richardson of Rapha Condor who scored a third place overall finish twelve months ago and Andy Tennant, also from the Halfords team who took his first ever Premier Calendar victory at the Tour of the Reservoir two weeks previously.

As the break consolidated it's advantage they were joined by three further riders who escaped from the peloton, former Girvan winners Chris Newton and Kristian House of Rapha Condor and Rob Partridge (Halfords Bikehut) who finished second in the 2008 edition of the race. With veteran Malcolm Elliott already in the break the group now featured four of the five former Girvan winners who were in the 2009 starting lineup.

With the lead standing at 40 seconds with 23 miles covered the peloton were very active and rapidly reduced the deficit to only 17 seconds by the time the race reached the narrow streets of Maybole. The catch seemed inevitable and it happened just before the sprint line in Kirkmichael with Tom Barras (Plowman Craven-Madison) taking the maximum points. With constant attacks continuing, the race logged an average speed of 27.5mph for the first hour and already the pace was taking its toll at the back as several riders struggled to stay in contact. Gary Hand (Endura Racing) leapt forward to secure the first Carrick Gazette King of the Mountains prime at Blairquhan but was rapidly reeled back in and the race remained in one very active group for the next 20 miles.

Speeding back towards Girvan for the Victory Park hotspot, an opportunist attack by 7 riders went unanswered by the main field and they soon had a lead of 27 seconds. Tennant and Richardson were there again, along with Peter Williams (Candi-TV Pinarello), Darren Barclay (Arctic Premier), Plowman Craven-Madison duo Tom Murray and James Millard and Marcin Bialoblocki (Team E12 composite). With Millard securing his second sprint of the day he would be destined to wear the Green points jersey on the podium, and with Murray taking the final KOM at Byne Hill Plowman Craven- Madison were enjoying a good first stage.

As the finish got ever closer the lead group continued to build their advantage to in excess of one minute. With the race swinging onto the roads around the finishing circuit at Victory Park, former team-mates Murray and Williams put in a big attack and opened a small but ultimately decisive lead. Murray edged Williams out in the sprint for the line, whilst Bialoblocki got the best of the rest to secure third.

Whilst the riders assembled for the jersey presentations, a special commemorative shield was presented by Winifred Sloan the Provost of South Ayrshire to Ian Sinclair - representing the organising club Wallacehill CC ? to mark the race's 40th edition. With Tom Murray receiving the yellow jersey of overall race leader from Martin Mathers of main sponsor Scottish Power Renewables, the polka dot will be worn by second placed Gary Hand for the evening stage, a brisk 16.5 miles around the Victory Park circuit.

1. Tom Murray Plowman Craven E  2:21:05  
2. Peter Williams CandiTV-Pinarello E  st
3. Marcin Bialoblocki Team E12 E  st  
4. Simon Richardson Rapha Condor E  st 
5. Andy Tennant Halfords Bike Hut Esp 1  st
6. James Millard Plowman Craven E at 0:03  
7. Darren Barclay Artic - Premier 1 at 0:06
8. Rob Partridge Halfords Bike Hut E at 1:03
9. Mat Kipling KUK Kinesis E  st   92
10. Malcolm Elliott CandiTV-Pinarello E  st

Stage 2: Victory Park Criterium 16.5 miles

Race leader Tom Murray (Plowman Craven-Madison) carried a 10 second lead into the second stage - the always competitive 16.5 mile critierium around Victory Park in the heart of Girvan. All 102 finishers from the earlier road stage took the start as a large crowd lined the barriers. Along with Murray in the yellow jersey, the other classification leaders took up their positions on the front row as the race was flagged away.

The pace was fast from the start and Kristian House (Rapha Condor), Rob Partridge (Halfords Bikehut) and Dale Appleby (Candi TV-Pinarello) were noticeable at the constantly changing head of the race. House took the first Hot Spot Sprint with ten laps to go but the relentless pace continued and various attacking groups were rapidly caught back.

Winner of the stage (and the race overall) twelve months ago, Russell Downing (Candi TVPinarello), launched a solo attack and gained a maximum advantage of 9 seconds, securing the second hot spot sprint of the night in the process. Meanwhile Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut) was suffering at the back, seriously off the pace.

Early break tries to stay away from the fast moving bunch.

Further pressure brought Downing's breakaway to an end and he too found himself ejected from the back of the fast moving bunch. At the bell the win was still within the grasp of what was left of the main field and at the line Graham Briggs (Candi-TV Pinarello), victor in the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series in 2008, just edged out former Girvan winner Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut) and Kristian House.

With Murray finishing safely in the bunch, the time bonuses on the line were not sufficient to displace him from the lead and his team-mate James Millard retained the green jersey of points leader.

Race leader Tom Murray marked by Marcin Bialoblocki

1. Graham Briggs CandiTV-Pinarello E  38:12  
2. Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bike Hut E  st 
3. Kristian House Rapha Condor E  st 
4. Simon Gaywood Corley Cycles E  st  
5. James Millard Plowman Craven E  st  
6. Will Bjergfelt Team E12 E  st 
7. Chris McNamara Corley Cycles E  st  
8. James McCallum Endura Racing 1  st  
9. Wouter Sybrandy Sigma Sport - Spec E  st 
10. Matt Higgins Corley Cycles E  st  

Overall after day 1
1. Tom Murray Plowman Craven E  2:59:02
2. Marcin Bialoblocki Team E12 E at 0:10
3. Simon Richardson Rapha Condor E at 0:15
4. Andy Tennant Halfords Bike Hut Esp 1  st
5. James Millard Plowman Craven E at 0:18
6. Peter Williams CandiTV-Pinarello E at 0:25
7. Darren Barclay Artic - Premier 1 at 0:31
8. Graham Briggs CandiTV-Pinarello E at 1:08
9. Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bike Hut E at 1:12
10. Kristian House Rapha Condor E at 1:15