Location: D Day Memorial Hall, Southwick, Hampshire
Event: 10 February 2013
Report: Andrew Whitehouse/Snowdon Sports
Photos: Andrew Whitehouse
Additional Reporting: Eamonn Deane
Marcin Bialoblocki took the win as Team UK Youth dominated a rain-soaked Perfs Pedal Race in Hampshire on Sunday.
Bialoblocki, a 29-year-old Polish rider who now lives in Bridgwater, crossed the line alone and more than two minutes ahead of his nearest rival, while his team-mates did a great job in controlling the remains of the break and ensured that UK Youth placed riders in the first six positions.
The cold wind and unforgiving rain made for a tough race, and as the riders ploughed round an expected five laps of the circuit, the puddles grew into pools and the organisers decided to shorten the race by one lap to avoid having to ride through a large flood at South Boarhunt.
Few would have argued with the decision, and it did little to alter the outcome of the race, which Bialoblocki won convincingly by 2-20 while team-mates Rob Partridge and Yanto Barker took second and third respectively.
UK Youth placed four riders in the top ten of last year’s Perfs Pedal Race, headed up by victory for Chris Opie (who was sixth this year).
As the race reached the end of the first full lap a group of five riders escaped the bunch including last year’s winner Opie, Alex Higham (Felt-Colbornes), Gordon Kennoway (London Dynamo), Gruff Lewis (Metaltek-Knights of Old) and Alex Camier (Pedal Heaven).
As they headed out on the Wickham road they gained a lead of 33 seconds on the main bunch, but their freedom was short-lived.
Shortly after they had been reeled in another group escaped, this time containing around 15 riders, and they quickly got a 40-second gap on the remains of a fragmenting bunch, and this time the break was destined to stick with a strong presence from UK Youth driving it onwards.
Bialoblocki attacked on the tops of the circuit, and pulled clear quickly, gaining around 40 seconds on the remaining 14 riders, who in turn had 1-45 on the remains of the bunch.
The UK Youth riders in the break did a great job of marshalling any attempts to chase down their man, who managed to stay well clear for the rest of the race and take a worthy win.
“I’m in good form at the moment,” said Bialoblocki afterwards. “I expected someone else from our team to come across to me, but it’s great that we had so many people in the break.”
“I have wanted to win this race for the last six years, I have been second, fourth, sixth, I am very pleased, I am in good form.
“It is important for the team also, the race gets good press coverage, because we are the only continental team in the race we had to show class.
“There were no real tactics on the road we just had to be near the front and chase any moves and counter attack. Next week we go back to Majorca for a training camp then we have some UCI races in France.”
Meanwhile, there was a special award given in memory of James Atherton, a member of the proming VC St Raphael who died following an incident while riding his bike. It was given to the first second category rider, which was Tristan Robbins (Cardiff JIF), who was best junior and 15th overall.
1 Marcin Bialoblocki (UK Youth)
2 Rob Partridge (UK Youth) @ 2:20
3 Yanto Barker (UK Youth) @ same time
4 Josh Hunt (UK Youth) @ 3:00
5 Ian Wilkinson (UK Youth)
6 Chris Opie (UK Youth)
7 Gruff Lewis (Metaltek-Knights of Old)
8 Tom Stockdale (Spin Rotor)
9 Francis Cade (Pedal Heaven RT)
10 Doug Dewey (In Gear-Quickvit)
James Atherton Award (first 2nd cat rider): Tristan Robbins (Cardiff JIF).
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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.