In front of cheering crowd, Kristian House celebrates a solo victory
Former National Road Race Champion, Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp) honoured his pledge to go after a victory in the Edinburgh Nocturne with a fine solo victory after what had been a very attacking and exciting race. House, joined Scottish rider Evan Oliphant (Endura Racing) who had been out front on his own for a quite a few laps and the two briefly held the chase group at bay which was led by Dave Clarke (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago).
The two leaders however were eventually caught and House, who was awesome according to his teammate Dean Downing, didn't hang around waiting for another move to happen and he kicked again and this time the chase proved too much for his rivals on this 'crazy hard course' (so says Dean Downing) and House held on to win the race alone from Aussie World Track Champion Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions) and Scotland's Evan Oliphant (Endura Racing).
As locations go, Edinburgh in Scotland is one of the best possible for a bike race and whilst the circuit is probably a bit tough for most; with the Castle in the background and the bars and pubs overflowing with people, the atmosphere is magical. A short walk from the Royal Mile, the circuit is basically a long climb up some cobbled streets and then after a short flat section, the riders have a long descent down to the Grassmarket area at the foot of Edinburgh Castle.
Walking around the area, you see all sorts as well, from everyday people out on the razzle to women on their hen nights and spooky fancy dressed tour guide leaders taking groups on a sight seeing walk around this great city. But it was the bike racing we’d come to see and after many hours putting up barriers that ringed the course, the activity at the race soon got under way. Off the course, there was plenty going on in the race village whilst on the cobbles, the category 4 riders were first to challenge the climb on this historic course.
Red Bull provided shelter from the sun as well as energy boosting drinks to the riders.
An exciting race ensued with the leader, Neil Taylor of the local Edinburgh Road Club getting the crowd on their feet as he successfully managed to hold off the two chasers, Lindsay Gordon (Musselburgh RC) and David Caesar, (the Bicycle Works) in a nail baiting finish. With presentations in between racing, it was all go and after the first of two races in the Edinburgh Nocturne Team Challenge, there was another 40 minute plus five laps crit for category 2/3 riders.
The course again reduced the numbers challenging for the victory down to a handful and in the closing laps, Richard Chapman of the Bicycle Works team took flight and soloed in to take the victory ahead of the group sprint for second won by Ross Crook (Edinburgh RC) and Gary McCrae (Team Leslie Bikes/Right Move).
Former Commonwealth Games competitor, Richard Chapman, wins the 2/3 circuit race witha solo effort.
As the sun continued to sink towards the horizon, although as this was Scotland, not as far as it would have had we been down south, the following event saw a one-off final for the Folding Bike Race. As ever, this race proved to be very entertaining for the crowd with office attire combined with bike racing. With lots of board banging going on for the local favourites, after three laps, Scottish sprinter Bruce Croall showed he has a dash of endurance in him as well as he won that event solo.
The final heat of the Team Challenge followed before the Elite riders lined up for the main event. A hour plus five laps around this cruel circuit was sure to sort the climbers from the flatlanders and so it proved.
Forget the flowers, give me the bike says winner of the folding bike race, Bruce Croall of Scotland.
They started steady enough but the Scottish stars were in no mood to keep the race together for long and soon the breaks for freedom started to come thick and fast. Riders like Alex Coutts (Giant) were keen to break it up and as quickly as riders went off the front, the splits started to happen in the main peloton. For every rider that attacked, two or three went backwards and one of the biggest efforts came from Scotland’s Evan Oliphant (Endura Racing).
He went solo for a long time off the front before Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp) grew impatient and chased after him alone. It took a few laps for the man in black to make the junction on the climb on the circuit but as he did, he appeared to try and blast past him. Oliphant reacted though and the two riders continued to lead the race for a handful of laps before the chasers made contact.
As they did, House attacked again and this time he had no-one for company. On a course which played to his strengths, the former National Road Race champion continued to ride away from the chasers lead by the likes of – who else – Dave Clarke (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago).
Aussie Matt Goss corners past one of the Worlds most well known castles, Edinburgh Castle.
There was plenty of suffering going on in the chase group while House’s smile each lap grew bigger and bigger as he came past the pits to get info from his manager, the freshly shaved in a local barbers, John Herety. House saved his biggest smile for the finish as he started his celebration very early on the cobbled finish straight which was now shrouded in darkness.
House had plenty of time to roll over the line arms aloft before Cameron Meyer, who was third and behind House (2nd) last year, had streeted his rivals in the sprint for the minor placings.
Afterwards, the riders had plenty to say about the great evenings race:
Kristian House: Second in 2009, winner in 2010 was Kristian House. On how he could be seen smiling from five laps out, he says “I was pretty confident with about eight minutes to go I was going to take it. I was cruising but being careful to watch out for them and John was telling me the gap was getting bigger.”
“I do have good form although I didn’t have good form for that course last Sunday (The Road Nationals). I wanted to do well here and coming back here after being second last year to Millar, and with Cam being in here, the win here was brilliant. And to win like that was even better”.
Triple World Track Champion, Cameron Meyer streets his rivals in the sprint for second.
Cameron Meyer: This young Aussie made the world wake up and take notice the same year that Jason Kenny did in Gent (Belgium), 2006. Cameron was competing in the Junior championships with his brother Travis who like Cam, is now on the road as a professional.
Both Cameron Meyer and Jason Kenny came away from the ’06 Junior Worlds with three Gold medals each and have since gone on to bigger and better things in their different disciplines. Three World titles (Madison, Points & Team Pursuit) in the Senior World Track Championships this year shows just what a remarkable young man Cameron is.
Last year in Edinburgh, Cameron was 3rd behind teammate David Millar and Kristian House and this year moved up a spot with second. “This year was a little bit different” he says. “I think the field was a bit stronger. Last year the field broke up a bit quicker where as this year it stayed together for 20 or 30 minutes before it really broke it. I was really feeling it out there actually and Kristian was so strong.”
“In the first 20 minutes, he was looking real good and then he rode away and I wasn’t feeling great. I had to control myself to survive so I am really happy to get away with second. It is one step better than last year so maybe next year, it will be first!”
“The season has been good for me with a lot of goals. Those at the Track Worlds I achieved, the National time trial (1st) and I did my part in the Giro which I struggled through with a bit of sickness. Everything has gone well so far. I have had a bit of a mid season break and this is kicking off the second part of my season”.
“I’m looking forward to the Eneco Tour and the Commonwealth Games.” Asked if he’s envious of his teammates doing the Tour right now, he replied “Yeah, they had a really good day in the prologue with Dave Millar third and Tyler Farrar seventh so that’s a good start. Cancellara, no one was going to beat him but I’m looking forward to watching the Tour on TV and supporting my team and hopefully next year, I can join them in the Tour.”
Asked whether he expects to take part in the Road Worlds (Melbourne), he replied “it’s going to be a big thing in Australia and everyone is looking forward to it. I don’t know if I’ll get a start in it because Australia has such great depth on the road. You have the likes of Robbie McEwan, Cadel Evans, Mick Rogers and so many more. If I get a gig, I’d be really happy but if not, I’ll go to the Commonwealth Games and be really happy to represent Australia there.”
After being out on his own for a long while, Evan Oliphant was joined by Kristian House who bridged to the leader on his own.
Evan Oliphant: The Scottish champion was certainly up for the race in Edinburgh and that showed with the amount of time he spent off the front. “All my family has come down here for the weekend so I wanted to put on a show. I didn’t want to be out front on my own for that long but then Kristian came up and he was jumping me and that was putting me in the red.”
“I was really hurting when he came up to me and when they (the chasers) caught us, Kristian went again. I stayed in the group because I thought that Cameron would be strong but he seemed to be suffering. It was the other two that were doing all the driving. Last year I was in there at the end but missed out but I was lucky to make the podium tonight.”
For the first, and last time in 2010, Russell Downing dons his Circuit Race Champions skin suit.
Russell Downing: After a long first half to the season, Russell is now having a break from his Team Sky racing duties but he couldn’t resist coming to Edinburgh, donning the Circuit Race Champions skinsuit and having a go. “This is a great way to spend my break battering myself up the cobbles but it is a great spectacle!”
Russell has a week to 10 days break where he can choose whether to go out on his bike. “It has been a busy period since going to Oz on the 7th of January and since then, I’ve not really had much of a break as it’s been full on. It was switch off time after the nationals where I did my job and this week I think I’ve only ridden my bike for four hours which is the most time I’ve had off since November.”
“It has been pretty amazing so far this year. If some one had offered me the results I’ve had at the start of the year, I’d have taken them. It is a matter of building on that and hopefully get a Grand Tour in at the end of the year. That will set me up for next season which I need so I can relax during the winter. There are quite a few people who want to ride the Vuelta as prep for the Worlds and for next season, so my plan is to really peak for that.”
Russell spent some time with the long team for the Road Worlds at a camp in Lancashire and explained that should he get selected for GB, then he hopes to ride the Vuelta and then head for Australia early on to get acclimatised. “There is now a good crop of riders who can all make the GB Worlds team, 13 or 14 guys, so it’s going to be the best of them that make the team.”
Finally, asked how it felt wearing the Champions kit for the first time, he replied “It was good to put the skinsuit on but it was pretty hard out there. People were surprised at seeing me going backwards but the boys are used to it like I was last year and the racing in Europe is so different to this….”
Jonny Bellis on the come back trail. The Isle of Man star, who is coming back from a near fatal crash, has chosen two of the toughest races of the year to test his legs, the Nationals last week and the crit in Edinburgh.
Jonny Bellis: In a motor scooter accident, Jonny Bellis of the Isle of Man almost lost his life but thankfully, the talented Isle of Man rider who was third in the Under 23 World Road Race Championship in Stuttgart, is racing again. We caught up with him after the race and asked how things were going? “I have done three races but they have all been pretty hard. I suppose you have to start some where and I know it is not going to be easy.”
“I’ve got my first race with Saxobank in the middle of July and they want me to get back into the routine of racing and my fitness should come back to me quickly then. I have to be patient and I have age on my side. I’m heading back to Italy now. I got a new place there and at the end of the day, it’s now my home.”
Jonny then explained he has a keen eye on the Tour de France to see how his SaxoBank teammates go as well as some one who he has become a lot closer to him since his awful crash. “Cav and I were always good mates but I think once I turned professional we were able to spend more time chilling out together off the bike. So I’m supporting him too and hopefully he’ll take the green jersey to Paris.”
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Dean Windsor, Luke Durbridge, Zak Dempster and Cameron Meyer line up for the camera before the start. Missing is other Aussie star Matt Goss.
Luke Durbridge: One of Australia’s up and coming track and road stars for the Endurance events, Luke had made the trip to the UK for the first time from his base in Italy. Luke explained he’s heading home for a break afterwards and said of the Nocturne “It’s a really good crit with a really good atmosphere and hopefully I can come back next year and do better than I did this year.”
Luke had some bad luck and had to stop for a rear wheel puncture late in the race but added that he had enjoyed the event. “It’s my first time here in Britain and Edinburgh is a lovely city.” Luke told us that his big goal for 2010 is the World Under 23 Road Time Trial which takes place in his home country of Australia. The West Australian says of it “being my home worlds, I really want to have a good crack there. I also have some one day races to do in Italy and hopefully get some results in there.”
The Nocturne Series now moves to Blackpool with the Blackpool Nocturne taking place on August 21st. For full details go to www.nocturneseries.com
Cameron Meyer, Kristian House, and Evan Oliphant
Alex Coutts was very active in the race and is seen here attacking in the final few laps.
The race has many vantage points including this birds eye view of the climb. Edinburgh itself is a photographer's dream.
A small but quality field for the final race of the evening, the Elite Nocturne.
These folding bike races are certainly entertaining for the big crowds.
A LeMans start on the cobbles for the 'runners' in the Folding Bike Race.
The podium for the Category 4 race, Lindsay Gordon, Neil Taylor and David Caesar
1. Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp
2. Cameron Meyer, Garmin Transitions @36 seconds
3. Evan Oliphant, Endura Racing
4. Alex Coutts, Giant ART
5. David Clarke, Pendragon Le Col Colnago
6. Callum Wilkinson, ENdura Racing @1.00
7. Joshus Edmondson, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta @ 1 lap
8. David Lines, Endura Racing
9. Luke Durbridge, Jayco Skins
10. Ben Greenwood, Rapha Condor Sharp
Category 4 Race
1. Neil Taylor, ERC
2. Lindsay Gordon, Musselburgh RC @ 3 secs
3. David Caesar, the bicycle works
4. Dougy Cameron, Velo Club Moulin @ 16 secs
5. Georges Avraam, Edinburgh RC @1.06
6. Simon Muir, Velo Club Moulin @1.12
7. Malclolm Paterson, Glasgow Nightingale, @1.16
8. Ian Wallace, Edinburgh RC @1.19
9. Jack Mclaren, Falkirk BC, @1.22
10. Jack McCallum, Velo Club Moulin @1.39
Category 2/3 Race
1. Richard Chapman, The Bicycle Works
2. Ross Crook, Edinburgh RC
3. Gary McCrae, Team Leslie Bikes/Right Move
4. James Thompson, Boneshakers Trek
5. Graeme Neagle, Glasgow Wheelers
6. David Lindsay, the Bicycle Works
7. Justin Radford, Python RT
8. Andrew Matheson, Mussleburgh Roads CC
9. Harry Grey, Birkenhead NE CC,
10. Craig Adams, Falkirk BC
Folding Bike Race
1. Bruce Croall, Dahon
2. Mike McFarlane, Birdy
3. David Rees, Brompton
4. Nigel Saffery, Brompton
5. Tim Barnes, Brompton
6. Gavin Morton, Brompton
7. Gary Hitchen, Raleigh
8. James Young, Elswick Hopper
9. Paul McGreal, Ridgeback
10. Rupert Wyllie, Brompton