Report: National Madison Championships
27th February 2010, Manchester Velodrome
Report: Eddie Allen | Images: Larry Hickmott
The pairing of Luke Rowe and Mark Christian became National Madison Champions for 2010, with a powerful, controlling and consistent display of riding. The pairing were always at the head of the pack and never buckled, despite the close attentions of Jon Mould and Andy Fenn and spirited attacks from the Hargroves Cycles pairing of Sam Harrison and Dan Maclay, plus a final last gasp attempt to clinch victory for 100% Me's George Atkins and Erick Rowsell.
Rowe and Christian started as they meant to go on, winning the first sprint of 10 in a gruelling 200 lapper. Mould and Fenn, riding in Great Britain colours, went on to take three points in the second sprint and five in the third and began to build a lead. With Rowe and Christian beginning to take control is was the Hargroves Cycles duo of Sam Harrison and Dan Maclay, who had been there-or-there-abouts in the opening sprints, who were first to attempt to throw a spanner in the works, launching a lone attack off the front.
A crash from James Lowsley Williams added in some extra spice, but all eyes were on Harrison and Maclay as they slipped away and gained more than half a lap. The Hargroves riders stayed away for the next two sprints, claiming valuable points that edged them closer to Rowe and Christian in the overall, but as the laps ticked by it became clear that the pace set my Rowe and Christian was going to make the lap gain an impossible dream.
Overall points standings at halfway point
Rowe and Christian 18pts
Maclay and Harrison 15pts
Mould and Fenn 10pts
Magnier and Duggelby 5pts
Atkins and Rowsell 3pts
Halfway split time: 29mins 23.6secs
Still, Maclay and Harrison hung on in no man's land and were evidently suffering. Then an injection of pace from Mould and Fenn put the Hargroves riders out of their misery, with Harrison and Maclay reeled in. However, they showed stunning powers of recovery, staying in touch with the charging pack and even pointing in sprint six, which was won by Rowe and Christian, the latter pairing keen to reassert control. There were now just five teams of the starting 11 still on the same lap, with Rowe and Christian taking sprint 7 with the excellent Future Stars rider Owain Doull, paired with Josh Papworth in close attendance.
There followed a brief lull in the action as the remaining competitive teams took stock. This brief spell of relative calm was unceremoniously shattered by the upstarts Harrison and Maclay launching another attack just prior to the antepenultimate sprint. However, the pack wasn't prepared to let the duo in red and yellow get away again and stamped out the attack, with Rowe and Christian winning yet another sprint.
With two sprints remaining and only 10 points to play for, Rowe and Christian were home and dry for gold - save for a lap gain. Cue George Atkins and Erick Rowsell, relative bit-part players until this point, who went on the attack and looked likely to steal the show with a late lap gain. Atkins and Rowsell stayed away and collected 5 points in the penultimate sprint, but were slowly pegged back by the combined efforts of Rowe/Christian and Mould/Fenn - the latter unwilling to hand bronze to the escapees.
Atkins and Rowsell's attempts to steal the show began to look like too little too late. However, they stayed away for the final sprint and whilst they failed to depose Rowe and Christian, they had done enough to claim the third step on the podium, leaving Rowe and Christian to celebrate a richly deserved victory. Meanwhile Harrison and Maclay's early exertions had given them a worthy and hard earned pair of silver medals.
1. Luke Rowe and Mark Christian 38 pts
2. Dan Maclay and Sam Harrison 21 pts
3. George Atkins and Erick Rowsell 16 pts
4. Jon Mould and Andy Fenn 16 pts
5. Owain Doull and Josh Papworth 10 pts
Overall Time: 58mins 32.495secs
Average Speed: 31.842 mph