Report: WXCRL Dorset Tour 2010

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WXCRL Dorset Tour 2010

August 21st- 23rd | By Graham Robins

Sam Gardner wins Epic Dorset Tour
The fifth running of the three day four stage race, the flagship event for the Wessex Cycle Racing League ( was boosted this year with the news that the field was to be increased to 100 entries. Following the successful running last year, more teams decided to enter the race and pre entries included last year’s winner Crispin Doyle (Swindon Road Club).

The race time table was the same tried and tested formula as last year and the race was centred on the town of Wool nestled in the Purbecks of the South Eastern corner of Dorset. Racing was supported by members of the NEG, a large group of marshals and provided neutral service throughout the weekend.

Tour jerseys were awarded before the start of each stage with a Yellow jersey awarded for the leader on the overall, a Green jersey awarded to the leader on Points and a White jersey awarded to the highest placed under 23 rider. These jerseys were supplied by this year. The WXCRL would also like to thank all the others who helped make this event so successful.

Stage 1 Whiteway Time trial 7.3km (Reduced to 5km)
Stage 2 Stokeford Circuit Road Race 109.6km
Stage 3 Lulworth Castle Circuit Road Race 124.4km
Stage 4 Lawrence of Arabia Road Circuit Race 95km

Day 1
The first morning should have started with the climb up Whiteway Hill but heavy rain and low cloud and mist almost forced the cancellation of the stage. The TT was delayed while the commissars decided what to do and after a delay of 45 minutes, the stage got underway with a shortened distance. The riders said that riding towards the climb was like riding in ‘treacle’ as the headwind was relentless. Tom Stockdale was the quickest up the climb for the second year running and he is still on junior gears. The riders then rode back to the HQ for a break and a quick towel down and a change of kit.

Stage Result
1. Tom Stockdale Team Quorz 0:09:02
2. Nicolas Hutchings CS Grupetto @2secs
3. Martin Williamson London Dynamo @9secs
4. Richard Oram Revo Racing @14secs
5. Adam Bright Revo Racing @24secs                          

Stage 2
Following the time trial and a rest, the riders took on the Stokeford Circuit in the afternoon. The field rolled away from the HQ under dark skies and drizzle which soon turned to heavy rain on onto the rolling course. The road surface was slippery with a lot of gravel being dragged onto the road giving Andy in the service vehicle plenty to do with wheel changes.

This circuit is fairly flat and the back of the course is pan flat and straight meaning that any leaders trying to get away could always be seen. The riders would complete six complete laps with only one small climb to get over on each lap. Once the racing started, there were many attacks as riders tried to find themselves a bit of space on the road.

At the first turn, Ian Holms (Virgin Active) attacked but was pulled back then down the Puddletown Road, Eamonn Deane (Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers) and Ben Jacobs (London Dynamo) took a turn out front only to be caught. As the field was quite aggressive, many of the riders found their way to the front on the early laps. The first time through the finish line to collect time bonuses was Adam Bright (Revo Racing), Tom Stockdale (Team Quorz) and Phillip Peters (Cannondale Racing).

The next couple of laps passed with Tom coming to the front collecting time bonuses along with Adam and Grueff Lewis (Ystwyth Cycling Club). However the story of the lap was a crash which disrupted the bunch and found a rider needing a visit to the hospital. Once the rain stopped, the race started to speed up and this time riders managing to get away were beginning to make attacks stick.

At one point two riders got a gap of about 30secs, these two bring Scott Law (Evesham & District Wheelers CC) and Jade Wilmot (Ystwyth Cycling Club), but soon they were pulled in as the bunch chased them down. As the race turned towards Wool, Nicolas Hutchings, Ian Holms and Ben Jacobs (London Dynamo) opened up a gap of 57 secs which dropped to 30 secs at the turn before they were caught.

At one point these three were contesting the yellow leader’s jersey before they were caught by a fast charging Eamonn Deane who took the bell on the last lap in the lead. Before the turn, Andy Rivett (VC St Raphael) got across to Eamonn and these two worked hard to get away. On the last lap, Eamonn and Andy pulled out a large gap and with Andy driving on the front, it was these two that crossed the line in that order.

After the race Eamonn was full of praise for Andy saying” Andy had the legs for the win and I am happy to have taken second and the yellow jersey.” Andy in turn said that he “had planned to sit in today and look forward to the third stage on Sunday” but things took a different turn."  

Stage 2 Result
1. Andy Rivett VC St Raphael 2:29:27
2. Eamonn Deane Bournemouth Jubilee wheelers @st
3. David Crowley Port Talbot Wheelers CC @55secs
4. Crispin Doyle Swindon RC @st
5. Nicolas Hutchings CS Grupetto @st

General Classification Day 1
1. Eamonn Deane Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers 2:39:05
2. Tom Stockdale Team Qoroz @15secs
3. Nicolas Hutchings CS Grupetto @20secs
4. Andy Rivett VC St Raphael @20secs
5. Martin Williamson London Dynamo @28secs

Points Green Jersey: Andy Rivett
Under 23 White Jersey: Tom Stockdale

Stage 3
The morning started wet and got wetter throughout the race. With standing water on many of the corners, braking and the correct line was the order of the day. The stage included eight climbs up the 5km Lulworth hill out of Wool, the first one neutralised. The overnight leader Eamonn Deane was one of many not looking forward to three hours in the saddle. He knew he would be a marked man as any race leader on a stage race will tell you.

Once over the first climb, the first attack happened. Three riders including Adam Bright (Revo Racing) pulled out a small gap but through the twisty Lulworth village they were pulled back. The pace on the first lap was fast and furious as riders wanted to get a clear gap to ride within. After the second climb, a couple of riders managed to out brake themselves into the downhill left turn with Greg Shorsbree (Merida UK) treating the marshals on the turn to a sideways slide “akin to a  Moto GP rider”(thanks Gordon).

On the third lap the rain relented a little and so did the pace, a few riders slipped off the back and out of the race favouring a dry set of clothes and a hot drink rather than the climb. At the sharp end of the race, a group of eight was beginning to form. One-by-one rider’s started to get across to Green Jersey Andy Rivett and eventual winner Sam Gardner (Cannondale Racing). These included Crispin Doyle (Swindon RC), Wayne Crombie (East London Velo), Richard Oram (Revo Racing), Ben Jacobs (London Dynamo), Adam Leech (Team Tor 2000), Adam Bright (Revo Racing) and Jack Steven (East London Velo). The bunch was now at one minute and working hard to pull back the time.

The leaders all stayed together on the last lap until they came through Wool and Sam attacked at the bottom of the climb taking Crispin with him. These two rode away from the bunch but Sam had the legs overcoming Crispin’s valiant attempt. Sam took the stage win for his team with Crispin 10 secs behind. The remainder of the leaders were brought home by Michael Leech (Team Tor 2000).

Stage 3 Result
1. Sam Gardner Cannondale Racing 3:07:15
2. Crispin Doyle Swindon RC @10secs
3. Michael Leech Team Tor 2000 @46secs
4. Andrew Boyd Revo Racing @52secs
5. Adam Bright Revo Racing @52secs

General Classification Day 2
1. Sam Gardner Cannondale Racing 5:46:37
2. Crispin Doyle Swindon RC @42secs
3. Adam Bright Revo Racing @1min 03secs
4. Andy Rivett VC St Raphael @1min 04secs
5. Eamonn Deane Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers @1min 13secs 

Green Jersey Sam Gardner
Under /23 White Jersey Tom Stockdale

Stage 4
Dorset awoke on Monday morning after one of the wettest August nights in years. There was standing water around most of the course which was added to by a small shower just before the off, but as the race got going so did the rain. The main drag to Weymouth was being shaken by the gravel Lorries and even the British Army came out to play at the Tank training area of Bovington camp.

The riders rolled away from the HQ under dark skies and a small shower. The yellow jersey holder Sam Gardner had his three team mates around him trying to protect what they had. It was a very nervy first lap with loads of attacks but nothing was sticking. At one point, Jack Cousins (Wills Wheels) slipped off the front and started to make headway but on lap two, he came back to the bunch as Cannondale were very much in control. Several attacks on laps three and four came to nothing and it was all down to the sprint finish.

At the bottom of the climb leading to the finish it seemed like the whole bunch could have taken the stage win. But as the road went upwards, it was Tim Allen (Cyclesport Pygott &Crone) that crossed the line just ahead of Matthew Theobalds (CS Grupetto) and Shane Pope (Swindon RC).

Stage 4 Result
1. Tim Allen Cyclesport Pygott &Crone 2:20:15
2. Matthew Theobalds CS Grupetto @st
3. Shane Pope Swindon RC @st

General Classification Day 3
1. Sam Gardner Cannondale Racing 8:06:52
2. Crispin Doyle Swindon RC @34secs
3. Adam Bright Revo Racing @58secs
4. Andy Rivett VC St Raphael @1min:4secs
5. Eamonn Deane Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers @1min: 13secs

Green Jersey Sam Gardner
Under 23 Jersey Tom Stockdale

After the race, Graham spoke to Sam Gardner about his win and he said it was down to the team around him and that he couldn’t have done it without them. What’s more amazing is that Sam is a fireman working in Surrey and has been on call all weekend travelling back and forth to the station covering over 600 miles and he had a ‘shout’ last night and was a little late getting to race start that morning.
Michael Cotty, Sam’s team mate said “And a final special thank you to Mark & Don Standhaft along with the whole of the Tour of Dorset team. You couldn't control the weather, but everything else you had running like clockwork. Chapeau & see you again next year!"

All the riders, family and friends said how much they enjoyed the event and how very well organised, and safe it was. Let’s hope that next year we get a dry race as we were all glad to see the back of the rain after such an epic weekends racing.