Pro Cycle Hire UK Road Race
Location: Radwinter, Essex
Event: 17 June 2012
Report: Gordon Wiseman
Photos: Lisa Maguire
Marcin Bialoblocki topped a dominant performance by Node 4-Giordana Racing at the Pro Cycle Hire UK Racing Team’s Elite Road Race after 97 miles around the leg sapping Radwinter circuit in Essex.
Nearly 70 riders lined up for the more than 10 mile neutralised ride to the race start that meant all those with aspirations for next week’s National Road Race Championships had plenty of miles in their legs to help fine tune their preparation for Britain’s top road race.
The red and white chequered flag had not finished waving to signal the start of the race before NODE4’s Matt Cronshaw put in an immediate attack to show his and his team’s intention to make this a hard race for all.
“I jumped to get the racing underway, someone needed to take the initiative. But when no one started to give me chase I wished I hadn’t been so keen” Cronshaw laughed after the race had finished. But he also acknowledged that after the short sharp bursts required for the recent Tour Series races, it was good to get out and clock up some quality road miles.
Despite having quickly built up a lead of a minute, before the race had completed half a dozen miles it was brought to a stop by the Chief Commissaire because of communication issues between the race convoy.
But once he was given the nod to restart the race Cronshaw continued in his solo ride away from the field. He was pulled back by his team-mate Mike Northey before the first lap of the circuit was completed and they were then as quickly joined by Team Corley Cycles Matt Jones and Alex Higham (Felt RT Colbornes).
This quartet continued to push hard and opened a reasonable gap which they maintained until they had crossed the finishing line for the second time when, within a couple of miles, they were joined by eventual winner Bialoblocki and Team Spirit’s recent addition Ashley Cox.
This proved to be the winning move and into the fourth of 6 laps they’d smoothly worked to open a lead of 2mins 20secs ahead of three chasing riders who themselves were a further 2mins 40secs ahead of the rest of the still mainly intact remainder of the peloton.
The chasing group increased to six riders but still they weren’t able to do anything about the leaders and they themselves were eventually reeled in by the bunch.
But with less than around 18 miles to go Cronshaw attacked again and after pulling some 200 metres ahead of the others he was joined by Northey and then Bialoblocki as the NODE4-Giordana trio then drove, in team time trial fashion, away from Jones, Higham and Cox to eventually open their own lead of three minutes at the chequered flag.
Turning into the drag up to the finishing line for the final time, Cronshaw, no doubt paying for all his earlier efforts, started to slowly drift back from his team-mates and later admitted that in the final lap Northey and Bialoblocki had been “tearing strips off me”
It was Northey who seemed to be taking the initiative in the final lap and with less than a mile to go, attacked on his own on that final climb. But in the chase to the line it was Bialoblocki who found that extra ounce of strength to take the win by just three seconds.
“Mike put in the hardest turns on the last lap and he told me that he thought his legs were better than they were and so I was able to take the win. I started the first two laps feeling brilliant, then I dropped off but I took the win in the end,” explained Bialoblocki.
Behind the NODE4 master class, Matt Jones out jumped Alex Higham for fourth place. Joe Giggins was PCH UK’s first ride home just outside the top 20 riders.
1 Marcin Bialoblocki (NODE4 Giordana Racing) 3hrs 41mins 10secs
2 Mike Northey (NODE4 Giordana Racing) @ 3secs
3 Matt Cronshaw (NODE4 Giordana Racing) @ 20secs
4 Matt Jones (Team Corley Cycles) @ 3mins
5 Alex Higham (Felt RT Colbornes) same time
6 Ashley Cox (Spirit Racing) @ 3mins 2secs
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.