Road: Holohan wins West Midlands title

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Location: Hanbury, West Midlands
Event: 19 May 2013
Report and Photos: Andy Whitehouse

Liam Holohan (Madison Genesis) took a fine victory at Hanbury to win the West Midlands road race title.

The Cannock-based professional crossed the line just ahead of James Williamson after some three hours on an undulating course that saw many of the field unable to stay with the pace.

An early break saw Matt Gee and Holohan's team mate Dom Jelfs go from the flag and by the first time up Draycott Bank had gained a useful looking gap from the bunch, Williamson was on the front of the main field and was setting the pace trying to shorten the gap. Gee and Jelfs were working well together and sharing the work and soon had over a minute on the chase group.

The long heavy drag towards Needwood was soon telling on a few riders when the attacks started to go. Perry Bowater and James Newey broke away from the bunch and tried to bridge the gap to the two leaders, a group of four including Paramount's Mike Jones looked to get organised but were still some 45 seconds off the two chasers but 30 seconds to the good of the main group.

It took till the end of the second 11-mile loop for the favourites to start organising themselves to bring the escapees back, a group of five were away trying to chase back Gee and Jelfs, the two early escapees were still managing to fend off any threat from the chasers and were still holding just over a minute on the field.

A second group of seven including Holohan had formed and were only 30 seconds to the first chase group. The main field were some two minutes adrift and it could have been argued their hunt for glory was over for the day.

With just over half the race complete the two leaders were working well together and had increased their lead to 90 seconds, the group of five chasers, Williamson, Simon Alexander, Newey, Bowater and Matt Clinton looked to be on a mission and were holding the Holohan group at bay.

The long break was starting to tell on Gee and Jelfs and with two thirds of the race complete the lead had dwindled to 40 seconds. On the long straight road passing Belmont Farm, both groups of chasers were increasing their speed and soon had brought the race back together.

Taking the bell the group were working well but the testing part of the course was still to come, the 1Km steep climb up Hanbury hill to the finish line, the type of finish suited to Holohan and it would be the Madison Genesis who attacked with Williamson on the final lap but coming into the final corner of the climb Holohan went for glory but Williamson was unable to respond to Holohan's speed and crossed the line to take second place just a few bike lengths off the winner.

What they said

“It was nice to do an uphill finish that wasn't cobbled,” said race winner Liam Holohan.

“Matt and Dom clipped off the front early doors but no one wanted to race so they got away pretty early on. With Dom away, everything that tried to get away Andy (Tennant) and myself had to cover, with Dom away it made my life so easy, to be honest I really didn't have to do any real work today.

“We didn't plan any tactics for the race, because the gap of abilities in this kind of race you can't really plan anything, the race was so unpredictable. It was windy today so I knew the two guys would find things tough on their own so I just waited to be taken across the gaps and have fresh legs for the finish.”

Other Categories

Adam Lewis retained his junior title for the West Midlands region. The Wolverhampton youngster made his intentions known from the outset of the 61Kms race making an early break with Chris Wellburn up Draycott Bank.

Lewis was marked throughout the race and the small field soon pulled the 2 riders back. A small group including Lewis and Wellburn did get away but no one was allowed to escape and the conclusion of the race went to a sprint finish, Lewis just holding off a strong challenge from the Cycle Shack/Forme Coaching rider Wellburn in the final metres.

Breast Cancer Care rider Molly Weaver secured the title in the women’s race, from Sarah Byrne (Champion System) and Sophie Faulkner (Solihull CC). Alice Cobb (Scott Contessa Epic) was allowed to race in the West Midlands area and finished fourth but was awarded the East Midlands title.

Provisional Results:

1. Liam Holohan Madison Genesis
2. James Williamson Node 4-Giordana
3. Martin Ford Herbalife-Leisure Lakes
4. Dominic Jelfs Madison Genesis
5. Matthew Clinton Mike Vaughan Cycles
6. Roman Van Uden Node 4-Giordana
7. Declan Byrne MG-Maxifuel
8. Matt Gee Team Corley Cycles
9. Perry Bowater MG-Maxifuel
10 Richard Wilkinson 4 Start Racing

1 Molly Weaver (Breast Cancer Care)
2 Sarah Byrne (Champion System)
3 Sophie Faulkner (Solihull CC)

1 Adam Lewis (Wolverhampton Wheelers)
2 Chris Welburn (Cycleshack-Forme Coaching)
3 Preslav Dimitrov (Solihull CC)

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