Cycle Premier-Kovert team mates Stephen Adams and Jamie Caldwell crossed the finish line of the Eastern Region Championships both with arms aloft after the pair had been clear off the front of the race for more than an hour. The judges awarded the win to Adams who is currently riding the Tour Series and lives in east London though originally from Nottingham.
Adams and Caldwell had piled on the pressure at the front of 16 rider lead group, hoping to reduce it to a workable number, but found no-one joining them and pressed on together.
Just over a minute after they finished, Jason White (Metaltek-Scott) sprinted to third place inches ahead of Owen Lake (Cambridge CC) after a remarkable bridging effort that saw White cross from the bunch to the chasers and then to stretch them out up the climb to East Hanningfield.
In the wake of these two Dean Shannon (Twenty 3C/Orbea) took fifth spot, Brian Crump (Eagle Road Club sixth, followed by Malcolm Smith (St Ives CC), Roger Maidment (East London Velo),Andy Lyons (Twenty 3C/Orbea) and Wayne Crombie (ELV).
The race covered nearly 15 laps of a five mile circuit near Chelmsford on a chilly morning with a crosswind on the long drag that constituted the finish hill.
Showing their colours in an early break were Vince Devine (Finchley RT) and Scott Cousins (Maldon & District) the latter aware that a problem with his gears was likely to end his race before the finish. Under their pressure, the field behind split with about 15 riders opening a gap on the rest that remained to the end.
With Devine and Cousins reeled in, Roger Maidment (East London Velo), Richard Da Silva (Stevenage CC), Adams and Trevor Burke (Finchley RT) made a bid off the front.
But it was a break of about sixteen that contested the first prime which went to Stephen Adams.
Adams and Caldwell then initiated their thinning-out process and found themselves away, clear in the lead after just under two hours racing.
The gap was mostly just over one minute.
“We thought as long as we kept that gap they (the chasers) would fizzle,” said Adams who had two Tour Series races already in his legs during the previous week.
As Caldwell and Adams passed East Hanningfield Church after two hours and 10 minutes racing, the bells were tolling – and it might well have been for the chances of the rest of the competitors. The pair shared the work evenly and Caldwell, who had handed in his University thesis only three days previously, balanced the prize account by taking the second prime.
Jason White (Metaltek-Scott), however, had not given up. He crossed from the bunch to the break, where Andy Lyons, Malcom Smith and Trevor Burke were noticeable at the front. With one five mile lap to go White attacked up the hill. He judged the leading pair were too far ahead but had his eyes on the bronze medal. Over that last lap the chasing group was stretched out until the final showdown on the hill.
1 Stephen Adams (Cycle Premier-Kovert) 85 mls in 3hrs 20mins
2 Jamie Caldwell (Cycle Premier-Kovert) Same time
3 Jason White (Metaltek-Scott) @ approx 30 secs
4 Owen Lake (Cambridge CC) st
5 Dan Shannon (Twenty 3C/Orbea) @ 31 secs
6 Brian Crump (Eagle RC)
7 Malcolm Scott (St Ives CC)
8 Roger Maidment (East London Velo)
9 Andy Lyons (Twenty 3C/Orbea)
10 Wayne Crombie (ELV)
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.