Ras De Cymru 2010
The five days, six stages and 230 miles of racing that is the Ras de Cymru came to an end yesterday (4th July) at the top of Llangynidr Mountain. The 2010 edition of this stage race for 2/3/4 category riders that is based at the Caerleon Campus of the University of Wales, Newport, had enjoyed good weather but ended with the riders battling gale-force wind and rain, as well as the gradient, up to the finish. It was fitting that Mike Smith, the race leader and KOM going into the final stage, crossed the line first to win this year's event and help Team Corley Cycles to the team title.
Ras De Cymru winner Mike Smith storms to victory on the final stage
Stage 1 had seen a successful relocation of the prologue time trial to the A48 out to Caerwent, albeit without a hill finish, after the Council had resurfaced the Llangybi/Llanhennock course only the day before, putting Clive Nicholls (High Wycombe CC) in the race leader's jersey the following morning.
A newly gritted road was again a problem on Stage 2 keeping neutral surface busy with punctures. After a few unsuccessful forays off the front, two riders broke away on the third of the six laps over the undulating nine mile circuit that is used for the Noel Jones Memorial Road Race. They established a lead that hovered around 1 min 15 secs before being brought down rapidly on the flat run-in to the finish. Basil Moss (Cambridge CC) took the win ahead of his breakaway partner Colum O'Shea (Team Isle of Man) with James Lewis (Cwmcarn Paragon RT) clipping off the front of the peloton to take third.
Day 3 saw the riders return to the Brecon area for a full day's racing, with the team time trial in the morning and a hilly road race, taking in the brutal Defynnog climb, in the afternoon. Team Isle of Man again demonstrated their time trialling ability on the gently rolling 12.4 mile out and back course and had Colum O'Shea in the race leader's jersey for the start of the afternoon stage. This was over three laps of a 17 mile circuit and a short-lived break of eight riders was away before the race had even reached the main circuit, followed by another that gained 42 secs but was caught the first time up the Defynnog climb. The peloton split on the climb, regrouping on the run-in to Brecon. By the start of the second lap a decisive break of twelve riders had gained 27 secs with the gap rapidly increasing to 3 mins 27 secs by the second time up the climb and reaching 4 mins 30 secs on the third lap, at the expense of three riders who were dropped from the break. Up the drag to the finish 3 riders attacked off the front of the break but were chased and passed by stage winner Mike Smith (Team Corley Cycles) and second-placed Ben Simmons (Wiggle Ltd).
Stage 5 took the riders over another hilly circuit from Usk to Chepstow and back via Raglan and Abergavenny. The road to Chepstow wreaked havoc in the peloton splitting it into several groups. At the front a group of eight riders eventually distanced themselves from the others and the gap slowly increased to 2mins. Local rider Tim Rose (Abergavenny RC) won the sprint for the line.
Of the original 101 riders, 83 were at the start of the final stage in Abergavenny. They seemed happy to stay as one as they returned along narrow lanes to Brecon and retraced the team time trial course but, eventually, a small break escaped, although the gap never reached much more than 30 secs and once on the climb of Llangynidr Mountain it, like the peloton, began to string out, with riders trying to gain shelter from the wind up against the hedges on the lower slopes. At the finish it was the yellow jersey of the race leader Mike Smith (Team Corley Cycles) ahead of the purple jersey of the KOM Matthew Pilkington (Sprackled).
Thanks go to Newport and South East Wales Tourism, the University of Wales, Newport, WNEG, all the officials, marshals and helpers and, of course, race organiser Chris Landon, without all of whom the event could not have gone ahead.
1st Mike Smith (Team Corley Cycles)
2nd Basil Moss (Cambridge CC)
3rd James Cartridge (Team Isle of Man)
1st Mike Smith
2nd Matthew Pilkington (Sprackled)
3rd Tavis Walker (Moonglu RT)
1st Colum O'Shea (Team Isle of Man)
2nd John Russell (Bad-Tri/Fred Baker Cycles
3rd Tavis Walker
1st Team Corley Cycles
2nd Ystwyth CC
3rd Bad Ass Bikes - Kenda)
For full results see http://www.cadencecycleracing.co.uk