Location: Stockbridge, Hampshire
Event: 23 September 2012
Report: Eamonn Deane/Snowdon Sports
Photos: Eamonn Deane
Securing his seventh win of the season, Colin Parry (Wilier/Live to Ride) took victory in the 65-mile third edition of the Stockbridge Down Road Race in wind and torrential rain.
Parry outsprinted Tom Stockdale (Primal Europe) on the climb to the finish, seeming to shift onto the big ring smoother than his rival and opening up a decisive gap, with Phil Reynolds (Peter Hansford Cycles) leading in the rest 1-36 down.
A disappointing field of just 43 perhaps reflected the time of year and the forecast of heavy rain which deterred entries on the line, and it was tough for everyone as soon as the peloton rolled through the Hampshire market town of Stockbridge and the flag dropped to start the action on the circuit which enjoys a reputation as a hard man’s course.
An initial five-man break of Parry, Stockdale, Rob Ward (ASFRA Racing Team), Phillip Peters (Cannondale Racing) and junior Mitch Webber (Andover Wheelers) split the bunch and the pattern was set for the rest of the race.
Webber soon dropped back and Stockdale punctured, leaving just three at the front as the rain got heavier. Reynolds VC St Raphael pair Rowan Horner and Simon Brooks tried to bridge across to the leaders through the picture postcard village of Crawley, but they could not make contact.
Meanwhile, Stockdale had got back to the fast-dwindling bunch, having been forced to wait for a front wheel from neutral service, but he did not stay long in the wheels and only Reynolds could go with him as he set off in pursuit of the leaders.
At the bell, Ward and Peters - who had both ridden well - had been replaced by Stockdale and Reynolds, and along with Parry they had a gap of ten seconds on the valiant Ward and 50 seconds on the stragglers.
Parry attacked going through the lanes for the final time, dropping Reynolds, but Stockdale could not be shaken off and the outcome came down to the final climb.
“With a day like this you have to stay near the front at all times,” said 34-year-old Parry, from Lydney. ”I was quite lucky, I had quite an easy ride really.
“I was aware Tom had punctured, it was quite impressive of him to chase back on. I was mindful of that at the finish, it was obvious Tom was riding really well, but I felt I had the better finish. On the brow of the hill I just went as hard as I could.”
Said Stockdale: “It was a tough race, I punctured and I had to wait a few minutes to get a wheel, but I kept working hard with the bunch and then attacked to get back to the break. I fancied my chances for the win, but Colin got a bit of a jump on me - as soon as he gets a gap you don’t see him again.”
Reynolds said it was the hardest race he had ever ridden, while Webber said he planned to go early and felt good at the start, but couldn’t stay with the pace as the cold got to him.
Added the experienced Grant Bayton: “I got so cold my body just completely shut down. When I was younger I might have been able to tolerate it.”
1 Colin Parry (Wilier/Live2ride) 2-46-46
2 Tom Stockdale (Primal Europe) at 4 sec
3 Phil Reynolds (Peter Hansford Cycles) at 1-36
4 Nic Tilling (GWR Team) at 2-04
5 Rowan Horner (VC St Raphael) at 2-13
6 James Wilson (Supernovacycles.com) at 2-20
7 Dante Carpenter (Cube Fintro) at 2-30
8 Richard Phillips (Schofield - Hantspol CC) at 2-47
9 Rob Ward (Asfra RT) at3-17
10 Andy Bryson (Peter Hansford Cycles) at 4-40
11 Simon Brooks (VC St Raphael) at 4-47
12 Oliver Hitchings (Peter Hansford Cycles) at 4-48
13 Matthew Ullmer (Team Traveller) at 6-19
14 Cameron Campbell (Army CU) at 7-59
15 Duncan Lancashire (Behind the Bikeshed) at 8-51
16 Phil Peters (Cannondale Racing) at 9-40
17 Simon Healey (Andover Wheelers) at 10-55
18 James Atherton (VC St Raphael) at 22-49
Junior: Dante Carpenter
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