Dan Craven's Irish Victory

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Dan Craven's Irish Victory

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Story posted May 14, 2010; by Paul Rowlands with Dan Craven

Shay Elliott Memorial: Easy as 1-2-3 for Rapha Condor Sharp
Whilst the Rapha Condor Sharp team were enjoying one of the biggest and best wins so-far in 2010 over in Lincoln (report), the remainder of the squad were far from idle with Ben Greenwood, Dan Craven, Dean Windsor and Matt Cronshaw traveling to Ireland to take part in the Shay Elliott memorial road race. Paul Rowlands spoke to Dan who relayed his take on the race.

With a one-two in the race last year, it was difficult to see how 2009’s result could be improved on, however the team duly obliged and by sweeping the podium as Dan Craven repeated his 2009 win accompanied to the finish by Dean Windsor whilst Matt Cronshaw mopped up the final podium place by defeating the remnants of the break in the sprint for third. Shades of the Chas Messenger a few weeks before won by Craven.

The 140km race is characterised by heavy rural roads of the sort that will sap the strength of all but the strongest of riders” Dan explained. “Not that you’d have realised that on the day as the tailwind opening section of the race saw the bunch averaging 50km/h in the first miles of the race.

Having reconnoitred the course the day before, the Rapha Condor Sharp contingent were well placed to respond to any early moves and as the race moved off the main roads and into the narrower and more rural sections of the course, Dan found himself off the front having jumped away from one of the race’s early breakaway moves.

Ever attentive, Dean ‘the Duke’ Windsor was part of a counter attack that tried to bridge the gap across to Dan but as the group drew close, Windsor took the initiative and jumped across alone, leaving two Rapha Condor Sharp riders to forge ahead together for the next 10km as Dean’s former co-escapee’s were swallowed up by the main bunch.

The next group to make any headway on the two leaders was a seven man move that included yet another member of the Rapha Condor Sharp quartet, Matt Cronshaw. Realising that both they and the breakaway were making headway on the bunch, Dan and Dean sat up and allowed the junction to be made. Working well together, the lead group then made steady progress, building a 1minute 40 second lead over the bunch as they approached the main climb of the day at 102km.

Anticipating the inevitable skirmishes on the climb, Dean jumped ahead 2km before the climb enabling the remaining two Rapha Condor Sharp riders to play defensive role behind. Once onto the climb, Dan Craven and one other rider bridged across to Dean with Dan immediately going to the front and setting a tempo that was hard enough to shed their breakaway companion, once again leaving the same two Rapha Condor Sharp riders in the lead whilst Matt policed the break behind.

Dan and Dean continued to work together all the way to the finish where Dan took the sprint, distancing Dean by 2 seconds. Then, what was left of the breakaway saw another rider in black, Matt Cronshaw take the sprint for third place making a clean sweep of the podium for Rapha Condor Sharp on the day.

For pictures of the race, click here: