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Report: Severn Bridge Road Race
Zak Dempster has time to enjoy the victory from Marcin Bialobocki
Zak Dempster of Rapha Condor Sharp won the 39th Severn Bridge/Felt Bicycles Road Race in a tight sprint finish from Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint Pro Cycling), Matt Jones (Team Raleigh) and local rider Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport Specialized).
The race, which is centred on the village of Olveston and within sight of the Severn Bridge, saw the riders tackle a six mile and half mile loop ten times, with the testing climb of Old Down Hill a key feature of the lap.
The field of eighty riders rolled away from the start under a cloudy sky and cold temperatures, but the strong wind which was evident before the start had receded. With a very strong National Escort Group presence, the peloton headed out onto the course for a steady first lap.
The first rider to attack on Old Down Hill was Will Fox (Frome Procycliste), but the bunch were right on his wheel about ten seconds behind. The second lap saw a bit of a shake up and it was soon Ben Stockdale (Qoroz) and Steve Lampier (Sigma Sport Specialized) who were on the front.
The third lap saw the serious first break of the morning when Zak Dempster attacked at the top of the climb and dragged a couple of riders with him. This small lead group slowly grew until it was nine strong. Along with Zak there was Simon Gaywood (Team Corley Cycles), Matt Jones (Team Raleigh), Josh Yateman (Team Tor/Overt), Marcin Bialobocki (Motorpoint Pro Cycling), Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport Specialized) and Magnus Backstedt (Team UK Youth), Casey Munro (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) and Will Bjergfelt.
Laps four and five saw these nine reduced to five when Bjergfelt and Backstedt where dropped at the bottom of the hill and were riding together. The remaining five riders at the head of the field - Munro, Jones, Bialobocki, Dempster and Richardson - continued to work well together and soon the bunch was back at 1min 30secs: with most of the main teams represented in the break, there wasn't any urgency for them to chase the race.
With two laps to go there was a further development, with two groups of five a minute apart. In the leading group were Richardson, Bialobocki, Dempster, Munro and Jones; whilst the chasers were Backstedt, Bjergfelt, Baynton, Stewart and Gaywood.
After one last climb of Old Down Hill, Dempster and Richardson had a gap, but Bialoblocki and Jones bridged across to them to make a four up sprint at the finish. With all four riders giving it their all, it was Dempster who proved the strongest, taking the race by a length from Bialoblocki, with Jones a further length back and Richardson in fourth. A minute later came Will Bjergfelt, staying clear of the chasers who were led home by Backstedt, showing that all that winter track work has put some speed into his legs!
Bringing up the rear and winning the Lantern Rouge was Stewart Thompson (Banjo Cycles) who came in alone after spending six laps out on his own. Marcin Bialoblocki won the K.O.M title and the team award was won by the Motorpoint Pro Team. There were 67 finishers from the 80 field.
1stt Zak Dempster Rapha-Condor-Sharp 2hr 34min56secs
2nd Marcin Bialoblocki Motorpoint Pro Cycling @st
3rd Matt Jones Team Raleigh @st
4th Simon Richardson Sigma Sport Specialized CT @st
5th William Bjergfelt Motorpoint Pro Cycling
6th Magnus Backstedt Team UK Youth
7th Simon Gaywood Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Mavic
8th Casey Munro Rapha-Condor-Sharp
9th Grant Bayton Wilier/LifeCare/GoSelfDrive.com
10th Frederik Johansson Team UK Youth