Rapha Condor Sharp Dominate Lincoln GP
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Story posted May 10; by Paul Rowlands for Rapha Condor Sharp
The Lincoln Grand Prix is the biggest one day race on the UK calendar. With its iconic cobbled climb, massive crowds and illustrious list of winners, it’s the race every rider wants to win once in their career. Rapha Condor Sharp took to the start line on Sunday with three former winners of the race in their line up underlining the strength in-depth that has seen the team become virtually unbeatable here in the UK over recent weeks.
As the race got underway beneath clear skies at Yarborough Leisure centre, there was an immediate flurry of attacks with Graham Briggs one of the first Rapha Condor Sharp riders to try and establish a gap but with 175 fresh pairs of legs all eager to show themselves at the front, every early move was quickly neutralised as the riders bided their time until the first of 11 ascents of the cobbled climb of Michaelgate.
However at the end of the race it was Chris Newton who triumphed, capping off a superb team performance in which every rider played their part. A full report on the race can be found here
Speaking after the race, Team Manager John Herety reflected on Chris’s performance, beginning with what had seemed like a somewhat audacious lone break with 5 or 6 laps to go: “It’s exactly what he needed to do, he wanted to make sure that they had to keep coming up to him as opposed to the other way around. It’s far better for him to get that little gap first of all."
"That said, today I think Chris was going that well that it didn’t matter. This year we made sure tactically everything went according to plan. It doesn’t always work out as well as we want, but we always have a plan, we try to execute it and today was one of those days when it worked out perfectly".
A theme picked up on by Chris himself when he spoke after the race: "I was just feeling good and it wasn’t like full on. I just went hard on the climb which everyone’s got to do and then I knew something would split. The bunch were coming and a better selection of riders were going to join the break. In the first move I wasn’t really fully committed, in the headwind I just eased back, let the other two catch me and share the work."
"We stayed strong in numbers which worked out well. The guys are going well, it helped that I just had two weekends where I wasn’t racing and I just knuckled down, got some good hard training done. I was a bit tired after the East Midlands CiCLE Classic but I knew to ride through it, just backed off it a little bit and its working well now. I don’t really need to push it, the Ras will see me through to the crit series."
On a day when every member of the team contributed and could arguably have featured in the final result themselves, a special word goes out for Dean Downing who’s work out on the road was a major part in the victory of Chris and who could have won himself had things worked out a little differently on Sunday. Speaking after the finish Dean was fulsome in his praise for the team:
"We had a game plan today, to attack all around the course, not just save it for the hill or for the climb through the city so. You know, team Sky were clearly strong, but we had numbers and Russ just congratulated John Herety and said well done, your team were fantastic, which proves that we stuck to the game plan and Chris was cruising today in that break that myself and him were in. He was really cruising and he said ‘right, I’m going to smash it up the climb’ with 5 to go, so as a team we were brilliant today. From the gun everyone was attacking, everyone was near the front, I think everyone was in a move".
However, whilst most of the team could afford to celebrate, the day was soured a little for the team as Tom Southam crashed out of the race breaking an elbow and therefore missing his chance to travel to the Tour of Japan today (Monday). Graham Briggs replaces Tom in the lineup at the last minute.
There was also more success for the team with a 1-2-3 in the Shay Elliott Road Race in Ireland where the man in form Dan Craven repeated his 2009 victory ahead of Dean 'the Duke' Windsor and Matt Cronshaw.