Report: Gruff Lewis claims the Welsh Senior Mens Road Race title

Report: Gruff Lewis claims the Welsh Senior Mens Road Race title


Welsh Road Race Championships
(Senior Men and Juniors)
Pencampwriaeth Cenedlaethol Ras y Ffordd 2011

22nd May 2011 - Ogmore Vale Life CentRE
Pictures courtesy of Mark Alexander and Megan Backstedt
Report - Rob Powell

Full gallery of images by David Simmons: here>>>

Sis Sports images gallery: here>>>

Alan Wardough, Ogmore Valley Wheelers gallery: here>>>

A tough circuit combined with windy conditions made the 2011 Welsh Road Race Championships one of the best in years.

64 riders would have opened their curtains to 40mph gusts of wind and horizontal rain but this did not stop the riders from putting on one of the best races the Welsh Championships has seen in years.

In the race... an early break attacked straight away including James Lewis (PTW), Paul Tucker (TVR) and one of the juniors. They got a decent lead on the downhill section towards Bryncethin, but Lewis decided to go on alone. Behind, the strong tail/cross wind was causing the bunch to splinter coming across the common. Team UK Youth forced the pace up to 40mph and formed echelons across the bunch which inevitably caused some huge splits. By the time the race reached the turn point at Talbot Green 7 riders had gone clear from the bunch and joined up with James Lewis, making a break of 8 including Gruff Lewis and Magnus Backstedt with two other Team UK Youth teammates, Brendan Sullivan (Ajax), Hugh Wilson (Wilier), Dale Appleby (Metaltek) and James Lewis. Behind them the bunch was in shreds with riders spread across the road, scrambling to try to stay in the wheels and get back in contact.

Team UK Youth used the tailwind early on in the race to desimate the field

Into the headwind back across the common the speed dropped dramatically, but Team UK Youth kept driving the break and it was pretty clear that they would not be brought back. By the time they hit the mountain for the first time the lead was already about 2 minutes. Behind, the main reaction was coming from Ben Simmons (Wiggle), Anthony O'Boyle (Torq), Dan Pearson (PTW) and Owain Doull (Hargroves). Up front James Lewis was struggling a little on the mountain, but kept fighting bravely to stay with the lead selection. Finally on the third time over the pass the elastic snapped and he dropped back to the chasers. The other seven stayed together in front.

Behind, Simmons eventually took off on his own to chase the leaders - but the gap had grown to 5 minutes by this time. Simmons put in one of the performances of the day to battle up to within 20 seconds of the group but was agonisingly unable to close the final few metres and get himself back into contention. He was unable to rejoin because just when he was closest the lead group began to make the decision of which would take the gold medal - with just under 2 laps to go it was Magnus Backstedt that split the group with a huge attack at the bottom of the descent.

The chasers were joined by Juniors Dan Pearson and Owain Doull

Performance of the day went to Ben Simmons and his brave chase attempt

Magnus drove hard through the southern part of the circuit and built up a decent lead, but we suspected he was just softening up the others for the real final move, and that came at the same point on the next lap from Gruff Lewis who was followed by Brendan Sullivan. The pair worked together well and got about a minute clear of the rest of the break coming into the final section through Ogmore Vale. The two turned into the closed-road finishing section together, then Gruff Lewis kicked hard on the slight uphill to the finishing line to come in just in front of Sullivan for the gold medal. The group sprint for third was won by Nikolas Gustavson.

The junior race finished slightly earlier up on top of the mountain, where Dan Pearson of Port Talbot Wheelers took a deserved victory after being at the head of the racing all day, ahead of Matt Haase and Matt Thompson (both Cardiff JIF)

An emotional Gruff Lewis was overjoyed with his victory at the finish line 'I am really pleased, i didnt think i had it in me today. The team worked really well, I could not be happier'.

Dan Pearson of Port Talbot Wheelers said 'I am really pleased with my ride today, stuck on Juniors gears with a tail wind like that made it hard to stay in there but i managed to stay with a good group and get the win. I really liked the course and suited me'.

Both riders are first time Champions and they both proudly pulled on the Champion System supported, Champions Jerseys. Welsh Cycling would like to thank Champ System for their continued support of its Champions in 2011. Be sure to keep an eye out for the jerseys in future races around the UK.

1 Gruff Lewis Team UK Youth
2 Brendan Sullivan Cardiff Ajax
3 Niklas Gustavsson Team UK Youth
4 Hugh Wilson Wilier / goselfdrive
5 Dale Appleby Cycle Premier Metaltek
6 Magnus Backstedt Team UK Youth
7 Ben Simmons Team Wiggle
8 Rhys Lloyd Pendragon le col Colnago
9 Filip Rudenstam Team UK Youth
10 James Lewis Port Talbot Wheelers
11 John Holt Bynea CC
12 Hefin Price Port Talbot Wheelers
13 Richard Harris Cwmcarn Paragon
14 Glyndwr Griffiths Cycle Mart
15 Michael Cripps Army CC
16 Anthony O'Boyle Torq Performance
17 James Hansell Cardiff JIF
18 Jack Gibson Cardiff Ajax
19 Richard Bowen Abergavenny RC
20 Robert Jones Ogmore Valley Wheelers
21 Joe Lally CC Abergavenny
22 Thomas Ashford Cardiff JIF

1 Dan Pearson Port Talbot Wheelers
2 Matthew Haase Cardiff JIF
3 Matthew Thompson Cardiff JIF

Welsh Cycling would like to thank Rob Powell and his Ogmore Valley team for staging such a great event. WC would also like to thank the NEG and CSAS for another great job with the marshalling, the drivers, commissaires, all the helpers and last but not least Dean and his team at Ogmore Valley Life Centre for all of their support with the kids races, the main and the event HQ.

You will be able to watch Gruff compete in the Halfords Tour Series over the next 4 weeks on ITV 4 with the 2nd round taking place in Aberystwyth on the 26th May.

Hugh Wilson forces the pace over Llangeinor Mountain in an attempt to break the UK Youth boys

Anthony O'boyle and Ben Simmons chased hard after the UK Youth 44mph+ blitz accross the common

7 times up the climb soon saw riders drop away

Rhys Lloyd heads the main group up the climb for the first time

Junior Dan Pearson with team mate James 'Tank' Lewis / Dan at the finish of the Junior race

Dale Appleby puts in a big attack late in the race, chased by Wilson, Brendan Sullivan and Girff Lewis UK Youth

Hugh Wilson and Gustavson sprint for third place

Juniors - Matt Haase, Dan Pearson, Matt Thompson and Dai the Dragon

Senior - Brendan Sullivan, Gruff Lewis and Gustavson

Gruff Lewis, UK Youth and Dan Pearson of Port Talbot Wheelers were proud winners of the Champions Jerseys

Preview: Welsh Road Race Championships

Full programme availablehere>>>

Summary of races available here>>>

Ogmore Valley Wheelers are proud to celebrate our 80th anniversary by welcoming the Welsh Road Race Championships to the Bridgend Valleys.

With a star studded line up for this weekends event, predicting the winner will be harder than ever. Dale Appleby will going to the event as reigning Champion but he will be pushed all of the way by 2009 Champion, Rob Partridge and the strong line up from Team UK Youth including Magnus Backstedt.

A new 120km course, including 7 passes of the Llangeinor mountain road will test Wales' best riders and produce a worthy champion to wear the Welsh colours for the next 12 months.

Main race start is at 9.50am outside the Ogmore Vale Life Centre. Race will join the main circuit at roughly 11am, and finish at about 1pm at Ogmore Vale Primary School.

Support races for youngsters and beginners will be held at the school during the main event. Come along and try out bike racing!

Event website: more>>>

2010 Champion Dale Appleby will be looking to defend his title and pull on the Champions jersey

After the jersey was reinstated in 2009 and supplied by Champion Syetem in 2010, riders will once again be able to proudly wear their jerseys in events all over the UK. The Champions jersey is important for the sport because it means that our champions get more than just title and they can be instantly recognised.

For more information on Champion System and their jerseys: more>>>

Residents info: Roads will be open to traffic as normal during the event with the race being managed by the National Escort Group Wales, who have the same powers as police to stop and direct traffic. Drivers will be stopped briefly at junctions as the race goes through, so if you need to use your car on May 22nd please be patient, you should experience only minor delays. If your journey can wait until after 1pm then we would be very grateful for the reduced traffic on the roads.

Watching the race: Road racing is a sport which comes to you and is completely free to watch. Come down to the Ogmore Vale Life Centre to see the start and finish, and get involved with the community events and support races throughout the day. Or find a spot on the main circuit around Llangeinor Mountain and see the race unfold; usually an uphill section is the best place to watch as these tend to be the decisive parts of the race. The riders climb Llangeinor Mountain seven times.

The support races: While the main championship race takes place there will be a series of support races for young riders and adult beginners around Ogmore Vale Primary School. Whether you're a future star thinking ahead to the Olympics in years to come, or a bit older but have never tried cycle racing, come down to the school from 9.30am and get signed up.

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