Wiggins' Masterclass in Winning on the Road
Beaumont Trophy Road Race; British Cycling Premier Calendar
June 14, 2009; Stamfordham, Northumbria
Report & photos, Andrew Kennedy, NEG Moto Pilot: John Greatorex
Above: Bradley Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) winner of the Beaumont Trophy
The Beaumont Trophy in the North East of England has been established for 58 years and won by many famous riders, but at today’s race, 139 riders and hundreds of spectators lining the circuit were treated to a master-class in road racing. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) got in an early move with Premier Calendar series leader Russell Downing (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta) and Halfords duo Mark McNally and Ian Wilkinson, dropped them all on the vicious final ascent of the Ryalls and went on to a fine solo win in Stamfordham.
Fresh from riding the three week Giro d’Italia, and in preparation for the 2009 edition of the Tour de France, Bradley decided to ride the British Cycling Premier Calendar event and get some quality training before the Tour prologue in Monaco in three weeks time. Wiggins is in great shape and has shown through out the year in the pro races, that he is serious contender for taking the yellow jersey in Monaco.
Above: Wiggins chats with Russ Downing, Dave Williams and Rob Hayles at the start in Stamfordham
A field of 140 riders lined up for the start in Stamfordham, with perfect weather for road racing, dry, sunny and warm with a light breeze. After a few early attacks were brought back, Bradley Wiggins tried his luck just after the feed zone on the second lap.
He put in a huge effort and rode away from the peloton, glancing back to see if anyone was coming. Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) didn’t need an invitation and was soon up the road with the Grand Tour rider. Within seconds David Clarke (Pendragon Kalas), Ian Wilkinson and Mark McNally (Halfords), Will Bjergfelt (Sports Beans-Wilier), Richard Cartland and Mark Wordsworth (Team Corley Cycles) had all joined the break. The small group quickly got down to work and with everyone contributing to the pace, they soon had a gap of well over a minute.
Above: Dominic Jelfs (Wyre Forest CRC) was one of the early lone attackers
Above: The start of the race winning move - Downing and McNally create a gap followed by Will Bjergfelt (obscured), Dave Clarke and Wiggins
Above: Wiggins hits the front with Cartland, Wordsworth and Wilkinson bridging
Above: The eight man group settle down to establishing a lead
With three ascents of the short, but savage Ryalls climb to look forward to, the Wiggins group got on with increasing their lead. In the main peloton behind, the CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta and Halfords teams were attempting to control the pace, and chasing down any attacks that would have bridged to their team mates up the road.
It soon became apparent that Wiggins was the strongest rider in the leading group. He was doing double turns on the front, and had to be careful he didn’t break the rhythm of the other riders. On the first climb of the Ryalls, Wiggins led to the top, collecting valuable King of the Mountain points and prime cash. On the next lap, the group was looking a little fragile and by the top they had lost Wordsworth, Cartland and Bjergfelt. The young Halfords rider, Mark McNally, was looking particularly comfortable in the company of Wiggins and Downing and could have probably lived with a slightly faster pace.
Above: Kit Gilham (Sigmasport) and James Sampson (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta) lead the chasers
Above: The first part of the Ryalls is short and steep, the second section out of this view is the killer section however
Above: Olympic Champion Ed Clancy (Halfords) found the Ryalls climb difficult, but clocked over 50 mph on the descent to get back into the group
Above: Over the top of Ryalls with 72 miles covered and Wiggins took control of the race. He was definitely the rider in charge and the remaining riders were looking to him to keep the group together. The gap back to the peloton was now over three minutes and with CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta and Halfords riders in the break, it was left to Rapha Condor and individual riders to work together and try to bring the Wiggins group back. It wasn’t going to happen.
Above: Wiggins leading McNally up the climb
Above: And over the top, a selection had been made -- Wiggins leads
With one climb of the Ryalls remaining, Bradley Wiggins decided it was time to try and get rid of his rivals in the breakaway group. At Hallington, the circuit took a sharp left into a small narrow lane that descends towards the bottom of the Ryalls and Wiggins seized the opportunity and was soon out of sight on the twisting dark lanes.
Above: Wiggins launches his race winning attack on the narrow lanes
Above: Wilkinson catches up but how long would he last?
Above: Final climb of the Ryalls and the answer is clear
Downing and Wilkinson both tried to go with the Londoner but only Wilkinson was able to catch him. As the final climb of the Ryalls began, Wiggins looked as though he was content to have Wilkinson as company, but he wouldn’t be there for long. As the climb started to bite, Wiggins piled on the power and Wilko was looking fragile. A big crowd had gathered at the top and with cheers ringing in his ears, Wiggins went over the top alone. Wiggins had broken the best of the UK based riders with a superb display of power and strength.
Above: At the top Wiggins has dropped Wilkinson and looks totally in control
With only 10 miles to the finish and an empty road behind, it was clear to Wiggins that he had the race in the bag. A final time-gap check with race commissaire Rob Finnegan and Wiggins settled into time trial mode to ride into Stamfordham and victory, 1 minute 41 seconds ahead of the others.
Downing, McNally, Wilkinson and Clarke reformed on the run-in to the finish with Russell Downing winning the sprint from McNally. Ian Wilkinson was 4th and Dave Clarke 5th. Chris Newton (Rapha Condor) led the main peloton into the finish 2 minutes 24 seconds behind Wiggins.
Above: Bradley Wiggins takes victory in Stamfordham
Above: Congratulations for the winner, wife Cath and the children greet Dad when he arrives back from work
Beaumont Trophy rider interviews:
Winner Bradley Wiggins.
BC. Fantastic ride Bradley, it was a master-class in road racing, did you enjoy the day?
Wiggins. Thanks, yes I enjoyed it but I didn’t want to take it for granted and take chances. There were so many good riders here today including Russell (Downing) and Rob Hayles.
I just wanted to get in the breaks and managed that quite early on. I got in a break with Dave Clarke, Russell and a few other boys. It was then just a case of keeping it rolling as there were some strong boys behind. When it came to getting away I knew they would expect me to go on the climb so I hit them before that, it seemed to work. Wilko came with me and I was fortunate to drop him on the climb. But wow the last 12 miles was tough. I ran out of bottles, didn’t get my plan right with that. It got quite tough, but it was nice to win.
BC. After your attack on the narrow lanes leading to the climb you looked very strong, how did you feel at that point?
Wiggins. I did feel strong, but I knew that the other guys with me were also strong so I had to treat them with respect. You can’t come to a race like this and take it for granted. I was happy to be able to drop them on the climb, I’m in good shape at the moment and needed a hard ride today, I wouldn’t have managed that intensity with a training ride.
BC. What’s next, are you riding the National Championships in Wales?
Wiggins. The Tour de France is next I guess. I’m down for the National Champs and at the moment I’m riding, but my main focus is the prologue at the Tour so I need to make sure I get everything right in the run up to that, so you might see me at the Nationals.
2nd place Russell Downing.
BC. 2nd place today Russell behind Bradley Wiggins, you must be happy with that?
Downing. Yes I’m pleased with my performance today. It was going well until the last lap, Brad was going like a train. He’s in fantastic form from the Giro and was the man to watch.
I was confident I could stay with him on the Ryalls, people were popping out of the back, but I was always 2nd or 3rd wheel, it wasn’t comfortable but I knew I could go deeper if I had to.
He took us by surprise by going about 3 miles before the climb -- we sat and looked at each other. Halfords didn’t want to go, they thought we could bring him back. I knew we couldn’t do that, I went to go, Wilko came with me and went over the top of me. No disrespect to Wilks, but I knew he wouldn’t stay with Brad on the climb.
It was a tricky situation, I didn’t want to do all the work to pull Brad back, Dave Clarke was spent, so it was a hard lap and half. On the positive, it was a fast race and my legs felt good, so it was a good sign.
BC. What about Mark McNally, where was he in all that mix, he was 3rd and looked to be very comfortable in the company of you and Bradley.
Downing. Great ride by McNally, probably the best ride of the lot. When Wilko went after Bradley, Macca was sat in like you would expect, but tapped through to keep the momentum going. At the end the Halfords were one – twoing me, but I managed to get the sprint for 2nd.
BC. In the original break Bradley Wiggins looked to be doing double turns on the front, was that the case.
Downing. He’s world class and a level if not more above the rest of us. Brad was doing pursuit turns on the front, I was trying to do that as well, it was good for me that he was there, the legs felt good and I had a great race, 2nd to Brad I’m happy with that.
3rd place and best young rider Mark McNally.
BC. Well done Mark, good ride, 3rd behind Bradley Wiggins and Russell Downing, tell us about your ride?
McNally. It went a bit early really. We didn’t want to ride at the front for so long, but that’s the way it went so we had to go with it. I felt good in the break but the climb hurt. I knew I had to stay with Bradley and Russ up the climb and that’s what I was doing. On the approach to the final climb, Brad went on the skinny roads, he was so fast it was a bit of a shock really.
After a few words between Russ and Wilko, Wilko just went after him. I sat on Dave Clarke and Russ, they were working through, then Wilko came back. In the run in to the finish, Wilko tried jumping Russ because we knew he would be faster in a sprint, I had a go at the finish but Russ was just to fast, that’s bike racing.
BC. You were in some classy company out there today and performed well, is this your best senior result?
McNally. Yes it is, I got 6th in the Lincoln Grand Prix, so to be on the podium here is just fantastic, and I’m very pleased.
1. Bradley Wiggins, Garmin Slipstream 3.59.25
2. Russell Downing, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta @1.41
3. Mark McNally, Halfords Bikehut st
4. Ian Wilkinson, Halfords Bikehut st
5. Dave Clarke, Pendragon Kalas st
6. Chris Newton, Rapha Condor @2.24
7. Russell Hampton, 100% ME @2.40
8. Evan Oliphant, Endura, @2.45
9. Arno van der Zwet, Ruiter Wieterteam @2.47
10. Dean Downing, Rapha Condor @3.00
11. Simon Gaywood, Corley Cycles @3.16
12. Rob Partridge, Halfords Bikehut
13. Marcin Bialoblocki, Sport Beans/Wilier
14. Jonathon Tieran-Locke, Sport Beans/Wilier 3.20
15. Raphael Deinhart, Cyclingbargains.com 3.40
16. John Tanner, Team Sportscover @3.59
17. Gareth Hewitt, Sabbath-Clayton 4.03
18. Will Bjergfelt, Sport Beans/Wilier 4.11
19. Matt Rowe, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
20. Mark Wordsworth, Corley Cycles
21. Scott McCrae, Endura
22. Ashley Brown, Sportscover
23. Richard Cartland, Corley Cycles
24. Daniel Kogan BMC UK
25. Rob Hayles @6.15