Report: Hassan Wins Sup6r Six Opener
Article by: Colin Renton
Photos by: Andy Shaw
Hassan Wins Sup6r Six Opener
Teenager Robbie Hassan led home a 1-2 as the Endura/Pedal Power Development Team bagged the honours in the opening round of the Scottish Power Renewables Sup6r Six Series at Gifford.
Photo (copyright Andy Shaw): Rider's preparing to set-off
Perfect conditions greeted the riders and the Endura squad made their intentions apparent from the start when Liam Cowie, Hand and Hassan led after the first of the eight laps, with Robin Wilkins (Velo Ecosse) the only interloper in a four man break.
The field was reshuffled on the second circuit, with Cowie, Ciaran O'Sullivan (Velo 29) and Graeme Neagle (Glasgow Couriers) setting the pace, while Tom Fernie (Velo Ecosse) and Alistair McNicol (Thebicycleworks.com) were a couple of seconds back and the bunch was in hot pursuit.
Another shake up on lap three saw Stuart Reid (Herbalife/Wheelbase) take the first interim sprint from Dave Henderson (GTracingUK) but it was Davie Lines (Endura/Pedal Power) and Tim Allan (Spokes RT) who seized the initiative and by the time they reached the half way point in the race, that duo had carved out a lead of around a minute over Hassan and Stuart McLuskie (Team Leslie Bikeshop - Right Move Windows).
Lines and Allan were joined by Hassan, Hand and the Herbalife/Wheelbase pair Ian Taylor and Jack Cutsforth, with that group 10 seconds clear as the race passed through Gifford village for the fifth time.
Photo(copyright Andy Shaw): Hassan (Endura) joining the pack
Hand and Hassan made their move on lap six and built a 10 second advantage as they climbed towards the B6355, although they were overhauled in the second interim sprint which was won by Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor Sharp).
The fluid nature of the leading group saw another development when Lines attacked approaching the bell. He established some daylight but failed to shake off the chasers and he was caught then dropped when the final selection occurred, leaving Hand, Hassan, Cutsforth, McLuskie, Greenwood and Last to battle it out for the win.
In a change from previous years, the finish was moved to the West side of Gifford, meaning it came around two miles after the final climb. Four riders remained in contention approaching the line and Hassan had enough left to edge out Hand and Last, with Greenwood just missing out on a podium finish.
The 19 year old winner paid tribute to the contribution of his colleagues, saying, "It was just good team work."
And he admitted that he was unsure what to expect, adding, "I'm unfit because I've been ill the past couple of weeks. I just had enough to hang in there a lot of the time."
Hassan's next target will be the Tour Donnhame at Easter, when he is looking to improve on a 27th place finish last year.
For his part, Hand was delighted at the way his new colleagues attacked the race, saying, "We are looking to help bring on the young lads in the team so that was a perfect start. Robbie was going really well.
"We knew it was going to be a fast race. Our main objective is the Premier Calendar so we said to the lads that to get the most out of the race they should race it from the start and make sure there was always a green jersey in every move.
"Robbie and I had a couple of laps when we were out on our own and that was pretty hard. When the bunch came up to us we had to make sure that one of us was up there to get the win. To get a 1-2 is a great start."
Photo (copyright Andy Shaw): Robert Hassan (Endura) taking the victory in the 'A' Event
The support race, over five laps of the same circuit, finished in a bunch sprint involving more than 20 riders. And it was the junior, Ross Green (Stewartry Wheelers), who had just enough left in the tank to snatch victory on the line from Geoff Martin (Nevis Cycles) and Ricky Sutherland (Royal Albert).
Mountain bike specialist Lee Craigie (Torq Performance) displayed her versatility when she finished 14th overall to take top spot in the women's category ahead of Laura Murray (Velocity 44 Stirling), who shared the same time.
The second race in the series takes place at Rosneath on April 3.
For all the latest SuP6R Six reports, race dates and results please check out the SuP6R Six Hub here.