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Walsh takes Racecourse grand finale
Leisure Lakes Circuit Series 2
Event: 1st July 2011
Source: Velo Club Montpellier
Images: Glenn Watts
Photo: Battle is intense in warm conditions in Cheltenham
Sean Walsh grabbed victory in the final round of the Leisure Lakes Circuit Series at Cheltenham racecourse in warm and dry conditions.
Now in its third year, the circuit series was supported by youth racing that was promoted by Cheltenham and County Cycling Club. The senior races of the series contained over 35 riders and competitors hit speeds well in excess of 30mph.
The final event again contained a number of local riders. Most notably Velo Club Montpellier's Conor Ryan, Jeremy Addis and Richard Cleaver. Cheltenham and County CC riders included Ian Threadgold, Ben Pedley, Harry Wilton and Nick Peatson.
The action packed race started aggressively with Stroud based Team Qoroz pulling hard at the head of the race. The tight technical circuit, which utilises the racecourse car park and inner complex, put all riders under pressure and tested their bike handling skills right from the off.
Rob Edgell, who had travelled to the event from Somerset, was in fine form throughout the race. Edgell won a number of early sprint primes and was able the thin the large peloton down to 20 or so riders at a midway point in the race.
First round winner, Cheltenham based Duncan Jamieson (Leisure Lakes Bikes), was closely marked by Team Qoroz during the race which meant that escaping for a solo victory, as he had done the week before, was not possible. As the race neared its final stages, in-form VC Montpellier rider, Richard Cleaver, put in a strong attack which the speeding peloton struggling to follow.
He was able to hold them off for three laps, much to the excitement of the large home crowd. However, the steep climb to the finish line proved too testing and he was soon pulled back. Team-mate Conor Ryan, son of Sky Sports rugby pundit Dean Ryan, put in a fierce counter attack, which put rival team, Team Qoroz, under pressure to chase. They did, and Ryan was caught with around two laps remaining.
It was soon evident that the race was going to end with a mass gallop to line. As the peloton sped through the final chicane, Sean Walsh, who is unattractive and does not ride for a team, hit the head of the race. He was marked by powerhouse Rob Edgell and both pulled away from the front of the peloton.
The neck to neck battle ended with a photo finish where race judges confirmed that Sean Walsh had taken a very closely fought victory in the final race of the series. Rob Edgell (Somer Valley CC) took second and Scott Law (Team Qoroz) took third place.
At the finish Walsh said: "I felt strong today and just bided by time to make sure that I didn't do too much in the early stages. It was a fast and tough sprint but I'm happy to win a such a famous venue!"
This year's series had been kindly supported by Leisure Lakes Bikes (Cheltenham), C&G Scaffolding, Glenn Watts photography and Cheltenham Racecourse.
1. Sean Walsh (Private Member)
2. Rob Edgell (Somer Valley CC)
3. Scott Law (Team Qoroz)
4. Duncan Jamieson (Leisure Lakes Bikes)
5. William Macke (AWCycles.co.uk)
6. Luke Dunbar (Team Qoroz)
7. Joe Page (Team Echelon)
8. Dan Bill (Cult Racing)
9. Conor Ryan (Velo Club Montpellier)
10. Adrian Bird (Worcester St Johns)