2009 Ryedale GP

2009 Ryedale GP

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2009 Ryedale GP (Peter Longbottom Memorial)

Sunday 7th June 2009; British Cycling Premier Calendar; Duncombe Park
Report & images: Andrew Kennedy; NEG Motor Pilot: John Greatorex

Russell Downing wins at Ryedale

Above: Russell Downing celebrates his second win in 12 hours

Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) rounded off a great weekend with a perfectly timed attack in the final 3km of the Ryedale Grand Prix to beat Ian Wilkinson (Halfords) and Kevin Dawson (Sportscover-Spuik-JE James) on the line at Duncombe Park, North Yorkshire.
The organiser of the Ryedale Grand Prix Bob Howden promised three things before the race, “Bradley Wiggins is a late entrant”, “heavy downpours, bring your wet weather gear”, and “whatever happens we will have a cracking race”. Well Bob is usually a man true to his word but on this occasion he only got 1 out of 3. Bradley Wiggins sensibly decided to have a bit more recovery time after the Giro d’Italia, the North Yorkshire weather remained bright and sunny against all the weather forecasts, but Bob was right on the money with the third prediction.

The Ryedale Grand Prix based on a 112 mile course near Helmsley, North Yorkshire was a cracking road race. It had all the elements required for a top class event, quality field of riders, challenging course over a long distance, beautiful countryside with perfect start finish locations and above all superb organisation from an experienced team.

The Duncombe Park estate is familiar to most of the riders as it’s been used for the National Championships and the Ryedale GP for five years. Lady Feversham allows access to the private parkland grounds for the Premier Calendar Road Race and a whole host of bike events attracting a great crowd. British Cycling Go Ride coaches were on hand and organised cyclo-cross and MTB races. The North Yorkshire Schools MTB team relay Champs were the main supporting event. The organisers timed the support races to ensure a big crowd could see the elite road men battle it out at the finish, they would not be disappointed.

Zero kilometre is the start of an event when the neutralised section is over and the flag waved to begin racing. In a 112 mile race there is usually a couple of miles of steady riding, but today Kevin Dawson (Sportscover-Spuik-JE James) decided to try his luck as soon as the race began. Dawson started a move at Sproxton that would see him in the lead group all day long, ending with him crossing the line shattered and demoralised, having been caught by eventual winner Russell Downing with only 3km to the finish.

Above: Kevin Dawson (Sportscover) started the first attack of the day at 0km, he was quickly joined by a small group

Kevin Dawson was joined in his original break by Irish National team riders Phil Lavery and Stephen Barrett, Kit Gilham (SigmaSport), James Sampson (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta), David Fletcher (Halfords) and John Heaton-Armstrong (FitFor-Cycles Dauphin). The Dawson group had a lead of 1 minute on another small group led by Simon Holt (CandiTV-Marshall Pasta), which included James Sharp (York Cycleworks) Richard Cartland (Corley Cycles), Richard Wilkinson (Sports Beans-Wilier) and Ross Creber (Team Endura). With the main peloton another 2 minutes adrift.

Heaton-Armstrong was the first casualty from the Dawson group, and drifted backwards towards the Simon Holt chasing group. As the main peloton rode through Terrington into a stiff headwind at 50 miles completed, the speed reduced to 14 mph with nobody willing to take up the chase. The time gap to the leading Dawson group was 6 minutes. The pace was so sedate that riders who had been dropped earlier in the race were now re-joining the peloton.

Through the feed zone at Coneysthorpe and Mark McNally (Halfords) decided it was time to start racing. He jumped clear of the field, but at this point the Dawson leading group was 8 minutes up the road. McNally was soon joined by a workmanlike group and they started the long task of bringing back the leaders.

Kevin Dawson and Kit Gilham were driving the leaders encouraging the others to work, the two Irish riders looked uncomfortable in this company and soon Stephen Barrett was sliding back to the Simon Holt group. With 60 miles covered the race moved to the 2nd circuit based around Hovingham, Stonegrave and Gilling. The leaders had 6 minutes advantage and were still working well although Phil Lavery was missing turns. Kevin Dawson was the strongest with him and Gilham continuing to drive the break. Fletcher and Sampson were struggling to hold the wheels when Dawson moved to the front. Lavery was glued to the back of the group refusing to come through. In turn Sampson, Gilham and Dawson spoke to him but the Irish rider refused to do any work.

Above: 14 mph is not racing pace for Mark McNally (Halfords) and he jumped clear of the peloton to give chase

At 75 miles covered the Mark McNally chasing group had caught the Simon Holt group and the big names of Russell Downing and Ian Wilkinson were all present. With James Sampson and David Fletcher in the leading group the CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta and Halfords teams felt unable to chase. Premier Calendar series leader Russell Downing was cruising along pretending to snooze on the shoulder of Graham Briggs, probably trying to catch up on sleep after travelling to Yorkshire from London overnight and only getting 2 hours sleep.

With 2 laps of the final circuit remaining David Fletcher and James Sampson were dropped from the leading group, leaving Lavery, Dawson and Gilham. This would have a negative effect on the leaders as Team Halfords and CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta would now be able to drive the chasers and attempt to catch the Dawson group.

With 100 miles covered Kevin Dawson and Kit Gilham finally got Lavery to contribute to the break, the young Irishman reluctantly put his nose into the wind, it was clear he wasn’t bluffing and soon he would be out of the break.

Team Halfords riders Ian Wilkinson, Ian Bibby and Rob Partridge were joined on the front of the chasers by Yanto Barker (LeCol-Colnago) and the whole of the remaining CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta squad, the time gap was being dramatically reduced. At Stonegrave with about 8 miles to the finish the gap was 1 minute 20 seconds.

Above: The race still not fast enough for Downing and Briggs (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) with Downing pretending to have a snooze which may not be far from the truth as he was still racing at 10pm the night before in London!

With 6 miles to the finish Russell Downing and Ian Wilkinson were leading the chase, this group was now flying. Kevin Dawson was not about to concede defeat just yet and he attacked his two companions. Lavery was the first to go quickly followed by Gilham. Dawson now on his own got on with the job of getting to the finish. Behind Downing and Wilkinson were quickly closing in on the lone leader and with 3km to go they caught Dawson.

With a fast descent into Helmsley Dawson managed to stay with Downing and Wilkinson, but as the trio raced into Duncombe Park estate and 1km to go it was clear Dawson had nothing left in the tank. With a large crowd gathered at the finish Wilkinson and Downing sprinted to the line with classy Downing getting the win. Kevin Dawson crossed the line in 3rd, shattered and demoralised after leading the race for 110 of the 112 miles.

A jubilant Downing was surrounded by his team mates at the finish, celebrating a great team effort for his win at Ryedale and also capping a fantastic weekend with a win at Smithfield Nocturne at 10pm the night before.

Above: The Ryedale podium, left to right Kevin Dawson, Russell Downing and Ian Wilkinson

Above: Great weekend for Downing and his team, with a win at Smithfield Nocturne and win at Ryedale he continues to dominate the British Road scene.

Above: Simon Holt (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) leading the chasers early in the race

Above: The big field of 120 saw a couple of 'touching wheel incidents' early in the race, but nothing serious

Above: Whilst Kit Gilham (SigmaSport) and the leading group getting some prime time TV coverage at the front of the race...

Above: ... the main peloton was ambling along at 14mph
Above: A large chasing group then joined McNally including Matthew Higgins (Corley Cycles) and Rob Partridge (Halfords)

Left: Up at the front of the race the leaders had been reduced to a group of three, Kit Gilham (Sigmasport), Kevin Dawson (Sportscover) - not visible, and Irish National team rider Phil Lavery. Right: In the last 6 km Dawson dropped his breakaway companions and was time trialling alone towards the finish at Helmsley

Above: Kevin Dawson (Sportscover-Spuik-JE James) the most combatative rider although not the winner at Ryedale

Above: A rider from Corley Cycles and Simon Holt (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) led the chasing group

Above: The camera never lies, nearly every shot I have of the Dawson group has the Yorkshireman on the front driving

Above: Down to business, Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) gets on with the day job

Above: Team Halfords move to the front of the chasing group to reduce the time gap

Above: Evan Oliphant has moved to Team Endura and was active throughout the race finishing with a top 10 place

Above: Back in the action - Yanto Barker (LeCol-Colnago) drives the chase group with Rob Partridge (Halfords)

Above: Dawson decides to go it alone, with about 6 miles to the finish

1. Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) 4.35.43
2. Ian Wilkinson (Halfords) st
3. Kevin Dawson (Sportscover-Spuik-JE James) @ seconds
4. Graham Briggs (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) @18 seconds
5. Ian Bibby (Halfords) st
6. Rob Partridge (Halfords) st
7. Peter Williams (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) st
8. Marcin Bialoblocki (SportsBeans-Wilier) st
9. Mark McNally (Halfords) st
10. Evan Oliphant (Team Endura) st
11. Yanto Barker, LeCol/Colnago
12. Duncan Urquart, Endura Racing @ 30 secs
13. Phil Lavery, Ireland @42
14. Kit Gilham, Sigma Sport @58 secs
15. Richard Wilkinson, (Sport Beans-Wilier) @8.43
16. James Sharp, York Cycle Works @8.52
17. Will Bjergfelt, (Sport Beans-Wilier) 8.54
18. James WIlliamson, Sigma Sport Specialized 9.10
19. James Sampson, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta 9.17
20. Richard Cartland, Team Corley Cycles 9.36
21. Liam Holohan, Rapha Condor 10.35
22. Andrew Roche, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta 10.54
23. John Tanner, Sportscover/Spuik 10.59
24. Ryhs Lloyd, Rapha Condor
25. Owain Lovell, Ashfield RC
26. Wouter Sybrandy, SIgma SPort/Specialized
27. Robert Smail, Mid Devon CC 11.06
28. Jonathon Teiran-Locke (Sport Beans-Wilier) 11.20
29. Scott Thwaits, CrossTrax
30. Steven Guymer, Raleigh Avanti
31. Andrew Hastings, Finchely RT
32. Callum Sewell, Team Chevin
33. Ben Stickdale, Qoroz/Novatec
34. Gareth Montgomerie, Sigma Sport Specialised
35. Rob Willocks, Qoroz/Novatec
36. Simon Baxter, Adept Precision
37. Joel Davison, Glendene CC/Biketrax
38. Richard Hepworth, Artic Premier RT
39. Lee Tunnicliffe, Fit For/Cycles Duaphine
40. Chris Mark, Adept Precision
41. Dale Appleby, CandiTV Marshalls Pasta
42. David Shackleton, Cottingham Courers
43. Ben Simmons, Team Wiggle @11.32
44. Daniel Drake, Lancashire RC
45. Dominic Jelfs, Ireland
46. Richard Mason, Fit For/Dauphine Cycles
47. Alistair Kay, York Cycle Works @11.34
48. Mark Thwaites, Team Assos
49. Daniel Smith, Velo29
50. Colin Humphrey, Sportscover
51. Mark Wordsworth, Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo
52. Duncan Moralee, Planet X
53. Andrew Bye, Sigma SPort Specialized
54. Daniel Kogan, BMC UK
55. Matthew Higgins,  Corley Cycles/Cervelo
56. Simon Gaywood,  Corley Cycles/Cervelo
57, Ross Creber, Plowman Craven/Madison