Report: Elite Circuit Series (Wales)

Report: Elite Circuit Series (Wales)

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Get Connected Wales Open Criterium

Story posted July 9, 2010 | Round 4 of the British Cycling Circuit Series - Abergavenny |
by Larry Hickmott

In near darkness, Ian Wilkinson sprints across the line ahead of second placed Aussie, Dean Windsor.

Ian Wilkinson of the Endura Racing team has won the fourth round of the Elite Circuit Series after a high speed race around the streets of Abergavenny. The rider nicknamed Superman because of his party piece in riding to the start line, was part of a very select group that drew away from the rest in the latter half of the race and in the up hill sprint to the line, Wilkinson was simply too fast for the Rapha Condor Sharp duo, Dean Windsor and Matt Cronshaw.

The win by Wilkinson was his third in the series and so far his lowest placing is second. Next round is in his home county of Lancashire next Wednesday (July 14) in the town of Colne. This event is then followed by the all important Circuit Race Championships on Friday, 16th of July.

Soaked in champagne, Endura Racing's Ian Wilkinson (centre) in a Rapha Condor Sharp sandwich of Matt Cronshaw (left) and Dean Windsor (right).

The event

The large field of riders is flagged away from the start finish line for the final event of the evening.

The British Cycling Elite Circuit Series shut up shop in Stafford on Thursday night and moved down the country and into Wales for the Get Connected Wales Open Criteriums on Friday night. The work on putting the circuit together started early in the day with staff from Owen Construction putting out 800 barriers whilst Matt and his team set up the finish area based around the British Cycling podium truck.

As the final touches to the circuit were made and the roads were closed off to traffic, the pros in the event headquarter's car park watched as lots of young riders arrived to sign on and have their gears checked. Riders of all ages from 16 down were all kitted out with some bike bling catching the eye of the senior riders envious of what the youth of today have now to what many had at the same age many years ago.

Stafford GP winner on Thursday night, Ed Clancy, has his tongue out after only a couple of laps of this tough circuit.

It is though the legs that make the pedals go round and at 6.30pm the first of three Youth races kicked off with the under 10’s. Lots of attacking racing followed from the youngsters and once the Youth races were done (report below), Abergavenny businessmen and women took to the course for the Trader's Race. This saw Gateway Cycle's sales manager Steve Stokes come away with the honours. Ian Davies, of Anthony A Davies Ltd, was second and Ross Farley of M&D Cycles, came third.

There was only one more race left and the pros were soon on the circuit and getting a feel for the course which was far from flat. As ever with the Elite Circuit Series, there were a lot of Elite riders from around the area willing to give it a go and test themselves against the pros. This meant there were quite a few new faces on the start line compared to the other races in the series.

A determined Jack Bauer (Endura Racing) leads a promising early break of three riders that also included Dean Windsor (Rapha Condor Sharp) and the winner from Stafford, Ed Clancy (Motorpoint Marshals Pasta)

Unlike other races though, there was no cruising around for a few laps at the start and when the field came through led by Kuota Road CC rider Jon Mozeley from Stafford winner Ed Clancy, the field was already lined out and splits had started to open up at the back end of the field. The local Elites were finding out first hand just how fast these pros go and many took a right battering but were seemingly enjoying it nonetheless!
At the front of the race, Ed Clancy (Motorpoint Marshals Pasta) then came through the finish area with Mozeley on his wheel and a gap was opening up to Malcolm Elliott (Motorpoint Marshals Pasta) and Zak Dempster (Rapha Condor Sharp) at the head of the peloton. That break came back within a lap though  and then another more dangerous one came through Post Office square which was by now packed with people; Jack Bauer (Endura Racing), Ed Clancy and Dean Windsor (Rapha Condor Sharp).

With the three main teams represented, the field behind looked content to let them go but with many  team managers fearing Motorpoint’s Ed Clancy's sprint, it was on the cards a chase would be organised. And so it was with Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago's Steve Lampier doing his best to close it down and after 15 minutes of the race, the chase was causing the peloton to split and come back together again with the number of riders in contention shrinking as the laps went by.

Also shrinking was the lead of the break and the race by the halfway point was soon back together with around 30 riders left at the front of the race. The big three teams, Endura, Motorpoint and Rapha then went on the attack again. Kuota too sent their Dutchman Jefte De Bruin to the front and like Stafford, he too had a go at getting away.

All the attacking though didn't see a small group get away but lap-by-lap, riders would drop away and soon only a select group was leading the race by a few seconds from the chasers which only numbered a dozen or so.

The front group which formed in the latter half of the race led here by Dave Clarke (Pendragon Le Col Colnago) from Jack Bauer (Endura Racing), Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp), Andy Tennant (Motorpoint Marshals Pasta), Jeroen Janssen (Kuota Road CC), Dean Windsor (Rapha Condor Sharp), Steve Lampier (Pendragon Le Col Colnago)and Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing). Matt Cronshaw then bridged across to the leaders.

The selection had been made and while the attacking continued with Windsor one of the few to actually open up a gap, the victory looked like it was going to be settled in a sprint. Bell lap and the leaders were looking at each other and a few minutes later, the crowd saw Wilkinson and Windsor  coming out of the narrow funnel leading to the finish side-by-side with the Endura rider getting the verdict by half a length or less.

Post Race Reactions

Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing): The winner of the race, his third victory in the series, really is showing why he is nicknamed Superman. Even when he looked like he was out of it at one point, he kept on fighting and then used his powerful sprint and experience to deny the Rapha team a victory in the series. “There were only four us (from Endura) in there today and we were up against it. I was riding well though and putting myself in the right places”.

I took a page out of Ed’s (Clancy) book by making it a seated sprint from the last corner and knew if I got to the tight bit with a 100 to go, I could straight line it and hold them back a bit. It was pretty close on the line so I didn’t get my hands up again as I had to brake for the corner.”

Ian WIlkinson, who went through a bad patch mid way into the race but recovered well to win his third race out of four.

I was pretty active early on and then had a bad patch. I managed to get back to the lead group and then found it quite easy. I could lay off down the back and coast on so it wasn’t too bad. There was a bit of red mist at the end when Kristian took me out the back with five laps to go and I was like you’re not beating me now so I jumped around him and managed to slow it down a bit on the last lap and take control of it.

I put myself in the driving seat and that seems to work. I’m very pleased with that win.

Julian (Winn) who is from round here took us out for a couple hours this morning, round the lanes, and that was a nice shake out on the bike. Racing Stafford woke me up a bit after having had some time off so the legs felt a bit better except for this insect bite I got on the leg. We now have the Iron Man Sportif tomorrow!

First training ride for the Tour of Britain – write that down! I’m trying to lose a few pounds and get in shape for the Tour.

Having won three races and getting second in the other, Ian is in the driving seat of the Elite Circuit Series and the next round, Colne, is in Lancashire not far from his Barnoldswick home. “That’s a big race for me but Burkey (Steven Burke, Olympic Bronze medallist) is form there so I think Motorpoint will want to win it more than me! I am very very much up for that one on the quiet and then the Crit nationals (Beverly). It is such an important jersey now with all these crits so it a big goal.

Dean Windsor (Rapha Condor Sharp): Second to Ian Wilkinson was Australian Dean Windsor who hails from Bathurst, the same town as Cav’s leadout man in the Tour de France, Mark Renshaw. Windsor, nicknamed ‘the Duke’,has already tasted victory this season in Woking (Halfords Tour Series) in front his parents who made the trek to Britain from Oz, and Dean is now on the hunt for more circuit race victories.

In Stafford on Thursday night, he was in the mix when a double puncture after hitting a pot hole ruined his chances. In Abergavenny, Dean again was very proactive but was unable to stop Wilkinson from winning his third Elite Circuit Race out of four contested. After the race in Abergavenny as he and Matt Cronshaw shared notes on the drenching they got in the champagne celebration, Dean explained “It was a really good race tonight on another good circuit”.

Aussie Dean 'The Duke' Windsor was seemingly in every move on the night but was unable to stop Superman Ian Wilkinson from winning the event. Windsor was second. Here, late in the race, he tries to get away on his own.

It was very tight although probably not as a tight as Stafford. I really enjoyed it though because this time I didn’t have the bad luck of a puncture. Matt and I ended up in the same positions as last night but without a sprinter this time so we tried really hard to attack and blow the race apart. I think coming into the sprint, even if there were more than five riders in there, I don’t think there were more than five sprinting.

So I think we did rip it apart but unfortunately Wilko got to the front on the last bit and as I opened up my sprint, he went right as I went right so I had to sit down and lost a bit of momentum and once that happens, its hard to get round a guy like Wilkinson. I managed to get alongside him but ran out of road. To have two on the podium and not one on the top step is quite disappointing.

There was only one hard corner you had to kick out of on this circuit and then you had to try and recover for the rest of the lap. Tonight’s circuit I don’t think suited me as much as last night. In Stafford, I don’t think I hit the red zone but tonight I had to dig really deep to try and split the race up. Our team was going really strong and we have a win coming, it is just a matter of when.

Matt Cronshaw (Rapha Condor Sharp): A rider again in the action throughout the race was Matt Cronshaw who was third. “I knew with it being a tight circuit we had to race it from the front and everyone on the team did that really well especially the Duke. Dean (Windsor) covered so much and it was unreal the amount of work that he did. There was one part of the race when I drifted back and it was so hard playing catch up so when I got to the front again, I got stuck into the action and it was easier than following the attacks.

I had to make a hard effort to get across to the leading group which put us in a good position with three in there (Kristian House and Dean Windsor were the other two) but with Dean Downing behind and Briggsy ill, we missed a pure sprinter so all three of us in the front group tried to make the race hard. Ian was flying though and came out of the bottom corner the hardest. Dean had the best shot of us but Ian closed him down out of the bottom corner and that was it.

Youth talent on display around the street of Abergavenny 

Watch out for a few new names on the cycling scene in future years on the evidence of Friday night's Get Connected Welsh Open Criterium at the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling. A number of youngsters should be catching up with the likes of Wales' Tour de France hero Geraint Thomas and Olympic Games Women's champion, Nicole Cooke in the coming years.

Children from under eight to 16 joined in the fun to warm-up the track for the elite men's riders later in the evening. And there were some great performances as the youngsters took on the circuit of about a mile around Abergavenny town centre which included a tight hairpin bend on Frogmore Street.

Rhys Thomas and Rowena Smith, both from Abergavenny RC, were the first winners of the night in the under eights category, with Eve Higgins-Worrall and Anna Doheny, both also from Abergavenny RC, second and third to Smith. Results from all the age categories are down the page under the photos.

Some riders just couldn't help but melt the hearts of the crowd like this youngster in the Under 8's.

The Welsh champion (left) laps the field in his race.

The under 16's race was very fast and attacking and in peices by the end as the leaders continued to apply the pressure.

The Elite Race in Photos

Big celebration on the podium as everyone gets to taste the champagne, some more than others.

A change to the circuit used last year with a hairpin bend being used at the bottom end of the course.

Winner of the British Road Race Championship on this same stretch of road in 2009, Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp) attacks the front group around halfway through the race after the early break had been caught.

The Get Connected podium girls adding some glamour to the bike racing!

Hugh Porter was once again keeping the crowd informed of what was happening between the barriers.


Elite Circuit Series Race
1. Ian Wilkinson, Endura Racing
2. Dean Windsor, Rapha Condor Sharp
3. Matt Cronshaw, Rapha Condor Sharp
4. Andrew Tennant, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
5. Jeroen Janssen, Kuota Road CC
6. Jack Bauer, Endura Racing Team
7. Dave Clarke, Pendragon Le Col Colnago
8.  James Moss, Endura Racing Team
9. Steve Lampier, Pendragon Le Col Colnago
10. Kristian House,Rapha Condor Sharp
11. Dean Downing, Rapha Condor Sharp
12. Marcin Bialoblocki, Wilier/Big Maggies/Prendas
13. Stephe Adams, Sigma Sport Specialized
14. Malcolm Elliott, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
15. Rob Partridge Endura Racing
16. Mark Perry, Wilier/ Big Maggies/Prendas
17. Jefte De Bruin, Kuota Road CC
18. Jonathon Locke, Rapha Condor Sharp
19. Tom Last, Sigma Sport Specialized
20. James Sampson, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
21. Phil Sykes, Sigma Sport Specialized
22. Zak Dempster, Rapha Condor Sharp
23. Jon Mozeley, Kuota Road CC

Youth Results

Under 8 Girls
1. Rowena Smith, Abergavenny RC
2. Eve Higgins-Worral, Abergavenny RC
3. Anna Doheny, Abergavenny RC

Under 8 Boys
1. Rhys Thomas, Abergavenny RC
2. Joshua Tarling, Towy Riders
3. Joe Nethell, Maindy Flyers

Under 10 Girls
1. Megan James, Abergavenny RC
2. Pfieffer Georgi, Mid Devon CC
3. Isobel Meek, Maindy Flyers

Under 10 Boys
1. Joe Beingsale, Abergavenny RC
2. Owain Roberts, Towy Riders
3. Huw Higgins-Worral, Abergavenny RC

Under 12 Girls
1. Jessica Roberts, Towy Roberts
2. Lowri Thomas, Abergavenny RC
3. Mail Meek, Maindy Flyers

Under 12 Boys
1. Tomos Owens, Mid Shropshire Wheelers
2. Etienne Georgi, Mid Devon RC
3. Peter Kibble, Abergavernny RC

Under 14 Girls
1. Ffion James, Abergavenny RC
2. Megan Barker, Maindy Flyers
3. Emily Haycox, Maindy Flyers

Under 14 Boys
1. Tristian Robbins, Newport Velo CC
2. Danny Fox, Solihull CC
3. Max Nethell, Cardiff Ajax

Under 16 Girls
1. Amy Roberts, Cardiff Ajax CC
2. Amy Hill, Newport Velo CC
3. Rebecca Hunt, Newport Velo CC

Under 16 Boys
1. Joe Fox, Solihull CC
2. Matthew Cross, Solihull CC
3. Luke Cowley

Related Links

Report: Stafford Grand Prix (Round 3)
Report: Otley Town Centre Races (Round 2)
Report: Dumfries Bikefest (Round 1)