Since the team’s successful trip to Morocco, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge, literally..
The washout that was Rutland Melton and subsequent and somewhat inevitable illnesses started a tough run of high quality races. The Tour of the Reservoir was a case in point, with Al suffering from sinusitis and on antibiotics, and with Luke still on the return from his Achilles problems, it was left to Conor and Todd to taste what Endura dish out. This was Todd’s first Premier Calendar race and the first experience of the flat out first 50km that characterizes these races. A split in the field and subsequent chase for 10km resulted in an abandon at half distance, good solid experience nonetheless as he builds for the summer Prems. Conor was riding well, and within himself, until at three quarter distance the huge attacks that split the field caught him out and again, a dnf for us. Ultimately disappointing but all part of our development programme.
The Lincoln GP resulted in a far better outcome, with Luke Dunbar being the standout rider. He placed himself superbly all day, handling Michealgate with ease every lap (pleasing his fan club!), and waited until the last lap to attack and split his select group of 25, down to 6 riders. Eventually finishing 40th and beating the majority of 100%ME riders, this was a great ride on a course that doesn’t really suit his strengths. Al was amongst a sizeable group that was distanced at 60km, Todd was pulled with his groupat half distance, more experience on this course and Conor was caught behind one of the many slowspeed crashes on Michealgate cobbled climb, his day was over before it got started unfortunately.
Above Image: Luke Dunbar driving the decisive break in South Divs, also with teammate Conor Ryan (hidden) in break, finishing 4th and 3rd respectively; 1st and 2nd U23 (photo Eamonn Deane)
Onto the Divisional Championship races and the form that has been building for the summer now comes to the fore. In the South Champs, Conor and Luke rode brilliantly to a plan, placing superbly, letting other riders do too much too early, and then with 20 miles to go Luke started the decisive move of the day.
Conor latched on to the chasers, forming a 5-man group that dominated the finale. Try as they might to distance Will Bjergfelt and Colin Parry on the final climb, they came up just short, finishing 3rd and 4th respectively, behind 2 guys that are going very well indeed- a great and mature ride by both, a very creditable performance.
In the SW, Al, still on antibiotics, found himself somewhat outnumbered when the selection was made. A couple of teams with guys in the 3 man break, marked Al out, however he was able to drive a small group on the finishing circuit, coming home 4th, showing the latent form that’s there. Another very good and mature ride that points to a good summer. In the W Mids, Todd had his work cut-out on a hilly course that doesn’t suit his sprinting strengths. A very attacking race saw a split of 9 get away at half distance; Todd rode to a plan, giving himself as good a chance on the uphill finish, eventually coming home 15th, another good sign for the upcoming races.
Elsewhere, good signs of form have come in midweek races with 4 top 6 finishes in the last 10 days, a win isn’t far away given these recent performances. A busy few weeks now lie ahead; follow the team and see more photos of the team on action on Facebook, Performance Cycles CMI.
Many thanks to Eamonn Deane for his photographs, visit his website here:www.sportsmassagebournemouth.co.uk
And read more from Eamonn’s race reports here