2009 Richmond Grand Prix
British Cycling Premier Calendar Series | The Arthur Metcalfe Memorial Trophy
Sunday 23rd August 2009; Richmond, North Yorkshire | by Andrew Kennedy
Solo win for Dowsett in North Yorkshire
With the 2009 Premier Calendar series winner Russell Downing busy at the Tour of Ireland and many of the top ten finishers from the series also riding the Irish race, the final Premier Calendar race of the season promised to give an opportunity for other riders to have a taste of victory and stand on the podium.
The Richmond Grand Prix – Arthur Metcalfe Memorial Trophy -- is held over a hilly course which takes the riders from Richmond up Swaledale to Reeth and Muker, then over the savage Buttertubs Pass with a tricky descent into Wensleydale. Returning to Richmond for a three lap finishing circuit based around Catterick Garrison and Waitwith Bank, before the final cobbled climb and finish in Richmond Market Place. Eighty two miles of torture for anyone not suited to this hilly terrain.
Above: Sunshine in Richmond as the peloton rolls our for a tough day in the saddle.
Over 110 riders lined up in the sunshine of Richmond Market place and they were soon racing up Swaledale towards the start of the Buttertubs climb. With a couple of early breaks through Reeth and Gunnerside, the pace was high as the leaders approached Muker. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke and Will Bjergfelt (SportsBeans – Wilier), Russell Hampton (Maximus Coffee), James Millard and Stephen Adams (Madison), Matt Kipling (KUK Kinesis), Kit Gilham (Sigmasport) and Alex Dowsett (100%ME) were in a small group with a lead of 10 seconds over a chasing group that included Tom Murray (KWK), Liam Holohan (Rapha Condor), Mark Thwaites (Assos) and Tom Barras (Private).
Above: SportsBeans-Wilier lead the early break through Swaledale with Jonathan Tiernan-Locke and Will Bjergfelt taking up the pace.
Above: Steve Lampier (KUK Kinesis) on the right leads the chasers at 15 seconds.
Onto the climb of Buttertubs and Tiernan-Locke took up the pace making and within a couple of hundred metres, the leading group was down to four riders, Tiernan-Locke, Hampton, Dowsett and Gilham. Buttertubs is deceptive, as you ride up from Swaledale you think you can see the top, and with quite a few spectators gathered at that point, the riders probably thought the summit was closer than it actually was. Tiernan-Locke led Dowsett over the first summit, and then they were presented with the horror of the second part. A flat section halfway up the climb leads to the final ascent and Alex Dowsett and Tiernan-Locke rode side-by-side as they approached the King of the Mountains line, with Tiernan-Locke taking the points.
Above: Start of the Buttertubs climb, Tiernan-Locke leads the front group with Kit Gilham, Matt Kipling, Stephen Adams, Rhys Lloyd and Alex Dowsett all visible.
Above: Liam Holohan (Rapha Condor) leads the second group at about 5 seconds.
Above: As the climb started to bite Tiernan-Locke took control at the front.
Above: The four leaders on Buttertubs, Tiernan-Locke kept the tempo high with only Alex Dowsett able to match him over the summit.
Dropping down into Swaledale with 30 miles covered, the race was split wide apart. Dowsett and Tiernan-Locke eased off to allow a group to form and as they approached Askrigg that group had about 13 riders including Stephen Adams, Russell Hampton, Kit Gilham, Liam Holohan, Callum Wilkinson, Rhys Lloyd, Tom Murray, Will Bjergfelt, Ross Creber, Tom Barras, Joe Skipper, Owain Lovell, James Moss, Mark Thwaites, Wouter Sybrandy and Gareth Montgomerie. This group had a two minute lead on the fragmented chasers.
Above: The reformed lead group encounters a flock of sheep let onto the road by a farmer after the Police and NEG had passed through, luckily the riders were able to slow down and negotiate their way through the unexpected hazard.
This group worked hard to maintain their lead and as they approached the start of the three lap finishing circuit, it was obvious the group wouldn’t be caught. On the first climb of Waitwith Bank, the pace set by Dowsett and Tiernan-Locke proved to be too much for some and the group was soon whittled down to nine riders.
Above: Tom Murray (KWK) and Ross Creber (Endura) lead the race on the finishing circuit.
On the climb through the feed zone and Alex Dowsett led the group at a very high pace, with the rest strung out in a line behind him. He looked back to see the damage and then pressed harder on the pedals to split the group. Over the top of the climb and Dowsett was on his own. It looked as though he had hesitated for a moment to give someone the opportunity to go with him, but had no takers. The group looked at each other but there was no reaction.
Above: Alex Dowsett (100%ME) launches his attack and there was no reaction from the group.
Above: Dowsett glances back to see if anyone is going to join him.
Above: With nobody willing or able to join him, he gets on with increasing his lead and getting in some valuable time trial training prior to the World Championships.
Dowsett dropped down from the moors to Bourlon Barracks and a time check showed he had a lead of 1 minute 20 seconds. The 100%ME rider had nearly 20 miles to the finish and it was going to take a huge effort on his part to keep the chasing group at bay.
Above: With the chasing group down to six riders it's left to Russell Hampton (Maximus Coffee) and former Academy team mate of Dowsett to organise a chase with Tiernan-Locke.
Back with the chasers and there didn’t seem to be any organisation or commitment to reel Dowsett back in, and his lead was increasing. On the final lap of the finishing circuit and Dowsett had over 2 minutes lead. He adopted an aerodynamic position and got on with the job of winning the race. Wearing a skin suit and tucked down low the British Cycling Academy rider looked as though he was competing in the National 25 mile champs instead of a Premier Calendar road race. The solo effort by Dowsett was very similar to the lone attack by Bradley Wiggins in the Beaumont Trophy earlier this summer, will Dowsett follow in the footsteps of Wiggins?
Above: Skinsuit, aero position and open road -- you could be forgiven for thinking this is a photo from a time trial, but it's Alex Dowsett who was 11th in the European Time Trial championships this year, increasing his lead in a Premier Calendar road race.
Above: Dowsett on the final climb of the day with only neutral service, TV and photography motorbikes for company.
Above: Over the top with a three mile descent into Richmond, Dowsett had a lead of over 2 minutes 30 seconds and was now secure in the knowledge he wouldn't be caught.
Above: Richmond Market Place and Dowsett crosses the line 2 minutes 43 seconds ahead of his nearest rival 2nd placed Jonathan Tiernan-Locke.
Post Race Reactions:
Winner Alex Dowsett (100%ME) -- “It was a difficult and tough course and tactics weren’t a big issue. The climbs were so hard -- Jesus, when I got up to what I thought was the top of Buttertubs I thought this is too good to be true, and it was, the climb went on again! It was so different to the climbs I’m used to in Italy, difficult but in a totally different way. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke was a lot stronger than me over the King of the Mountains and he got the points."
"But on the climb of the finishing circuit, I thought I’d hit it and soften everyone up a bit. We dropped down off the moors and onto a cross wind section; I hit it hard out of the corner and got a gap. I was hoping for someone to come with me but they didn’t. I was on my own and decided to just keep going. I got the time gaps from the commissaire and knew I was stretching them out behind."
"It was very hard on my own and I was worried I would be caught because there were six or seven of them chasing but at the finish I was surprised by the time gap. Because the big-hitters were elsewhere, everyone wanted to take advantage and that made it a tough, fast race because everyone was hungry for victory, my first Premier Calendar win, I’m very pleased with the result.”
2nd place Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (SportsBeans-Wilier) -- “Where did it go wrong for me today -- I felt strong in that early break and maybe I did too much, but I get frustrated when I miss out on these big races. Today I thought this course suits me and I’m going to go on the attack and stay on the attack. When I picked up the points for the King of the Mountains, I thought well I’ve got that in the bag. When Alex Dowsett attacked the first time, I went with him, we did a couple of rotations and then got brought back."
"Then he went a second time, I followed but he was over to the left of the road and had me in the gutter. I wasn’t going to sit in the wind or gutter behind him, so I sat up and went back to the group. I thought he’s got over 25 miles to do on his own, we have a group of seven, let him go. That was the wrong decision. The guys didn’t want to work, I tried to organise them but you know what it’s like, people missing turns, the gap increasing and pretty soon it was 1 minute 30 seconds. I thought well maybe I can still do something at the finish without dragging everyone back up to Dowsett, I got 2nd and I’m really pleased with that, good for our team.”
3rd place Owain Lovell (Ashfield RC) 23 year old former student and 2nd category rider from Nottingham who works part-time. -- “I struggle when a race starts jumping around so today was perfect for me, it was hard but the pace was fairly constant. I was feeling good and managed to get in the break, but on Buttertubs I was struggling, off the back and fighting to get back on, it was hard. I recovered through Wensleydale and when the pace went up, people were dropping out of the group, I was still there, and felt comfortable with the pace. I was happy to keep working because if it split I would probably be on the wrong side and get dropped, I’m not very good at that kind of effort. I was ill last year and that disrupted my season, but I’m OK now and getting stronger as the season goes on.”
There is no doubt the race would have been completely different if Russell Downing, Ian Wilkinson, Chris Newton and their respective teams had been lined up at the start in Richmond. But you can only beat the people that turn up and that is exactly what Alex Dowsett did today. The young British Cycling Academy rider proved he has the class to ride aggressively and attack the field with 25 miles remaining. Dowsett and Tiernan-Locke were the stars at Richmond and they gave the organisers a great race, the next generation of riders are all waiting for their turn in the spotlight and they got a taste of that today.
Result kindly provided by: British Cycling Technical Services
1 Alex Dowsett 100%ME
2 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke Sportsbeans Willier
3 Owain Lovell Ashfield RC
4 Liam Holohan Rapha Condor
5 James Moss KUK Kinesis
6 Tom Murray KWK Heistzuidenkempen VZW
7 Russell Hampton Team Magnus Maximus Coffee.com
8 John Tanner Team Sportscover
9 David Clarke Pendragon Kalas
10 Evan Oliphant Endura Racing
11 Gary Hand Endura Racing
12 Steve Lampier KUK Kinesis
13 David Shackleton Cottingham Coureurs
14 Matthew Stephens Sigmasport - Specialized - Sportful
15 Tom Barras Private
16 Mark Thwaites Team Assos
17 Marcin Bialoblocki Sportsbeans Willier
18 Ashley Cox Beds Road CC
19 Ian Taylor NFM Racing Team
20 Tom Last Sigmasport - Specialized - Sportful
21 Kevin Dawson Team Sportscover
22 Alastair Kay York Cycleworks
23 Kit Gilham Sigmasport - Specialized - Sportful
24 Wouter Sybrandy Sigmasport - Specialized - Sportful
25 Daniel Kogan BMC UK Racing Team
26 Callum Wilkinson Endura Racing
27 Ross Creber Endura Racing
28 Joe Skipper BMC UK Racing Team
29 Will Bjergfelt Sportsbeans Willier
30 Raphael Deinhart CyclingBargains.com - Infinis - Metaltek
31 Richard Handley KUK Kinesis
32 Richard Kipling MTS - Inkland RT
33 Simon Baxter Adept Precision RT
34 Ben Stockpole Qoroz Novatec
35 Andrew Hastings Finchley RT
36 Matt Wilmer Qoroz Novatec
37 Fillip Rudenstam Team Magnus Maximus Coffee.com
38 Mark Wordsworth Team Corley Cycles
39 Jack Adams Pendragon Kalas
40 James Dobbin Arctic- Premier RT
41 Mark Buckingham Huddersfield Star Wheelers
42 Andy Betts Sigmasport - Specialized - Sportful
43 Andrew Young Derby Mercury
44 Daniel Drake Lancashire Road Club
45 Daniel Smith Velo29 Cycling Team
46 James Williamson Sigmasport - Specialized - Sportful
47 Will Dorsett North Norfolk Wheelers CC
48 Richard Wilkinson Sportsbeans Willier
49 Adam Cotterell Ingear Development Squad - OneLife
50 Ashley Brown Team Sportscover
51 Mike Wragg Team Milton Keynes
52 David Lines Endura Racing
53 Joshua Cunningham Ingear Development Squad – OneLife
KOM - Richmond, Great Town of the Year 2009 Award
1st Jonathan Tiernan-Locke Sportsbeans Willier
2nd Alex Dowsett 100%ME
3rd Liam Holohan Rapha Condor
1 Alex Dowsett 100%ME
PREMIER CALENDAR FINAL OVERALL
1. Russell Downing Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta 773
2. Ian Wilkinson Team Halfords-Bikehut 530
3. Marcin Bialoblocki Sport Beans-Wilier 353
4. Rob Partridge Team Halfords-Bikehut 333
5. Mark McNally *** Team Halfords-Bikehut 265
Chris Newton Rapha Condor 265
7. Andy Tennant *** Team Halfords-Bikehut 239
8. Jon Tiernan-Locke Sport Beans-Wilier 208
9. Malcolm Elliott Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta 196
10. Peter Williams Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta 191
11. Kristian House Rapha Condor 189
12. Simon Gaywood Team Corley Cycles 182
13. Tom Murray KWC Heist Zuiderkempen VZW 174
14. James Moss KUK Kinesis 169
15. Evan Oliphant Endura Racing 166
16. David Clarke Pendragon Kalas 165
John Tanner Team Sportscover 165
18. Kevin Dawson Team Sportscover 160
19. Dean Downing Rapha Condor 153
20. Graham Briggs Candi TV - Marshalls Pasta 152
*** Under 23