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CYCLING: Successful weekend for Spalding Cycling Club

By Spalding Today Columnist

The weekly 10-mile TT was held in good conditions again, but rider numbers were sadly down for various reasons, mainly because some were tapering down in preparation for competing in the Amateur UCI World Championship qualifying racing at Peterborough on the coming weekend.

The main point of interest was to see the battle between Matt Ellis, back from his riding in France for a French Second Division team, for a training break, and Josh Wallis. On the night, Josh came out on top, taking another well deserved win, pipping Matt, surprisingly by 1:05. Nigel Howard had a good ride, coming in with a PB of 27:05

On the weekend of June 1-2 the main riding was at the Tour of Cambridgshire UCI championships that started and finished at the Peterborough Show Ground and all the rides had the benefit of closed roads - no vehicles, a cyclists dream.

These races give the competitors the chance to qualify to represent Great Britain at the Amateur World Championships in Poznan, Poland, in September.

All the races are broken down into age groups 19-34, then four year groupings 35-39 up to 75-plus.

Riders are therefore competing within their age group to qualify. The top three qualify by right and then they take other riders in the top 25 per cent of their group.

Spalding CC had seven riders competing over several events and had an amazingly successful weekend, managing to get a quartet of members qualifying to go to Poland - two of whom stood on the podium to receive their medals.

Saturday was the Individual Chrono and Team Chrono, on a challenging 16.5 course, which included climbing Morborn Hill that at one tops out at six per cent and several leg sapping long drags.

To add to that, most of the ride was into a brisk SW wind and temperatures were in the mid 20s.

Results were Rob Mcalinden, (19-34) 37th in 42:49, Neil Palmer whose 11th place in 38:00 gave him a qualifying spot, Andrew Gurney (50-54) 56th 44:17, Sarah Bentley(60-64) whose time of 49:46 gained her a qualifying 3rd spot and a podium presentation. Barry Drew(70-74) finished in 47:31, which gave him 3rd spot and a qualification and place on the podium. He narrowly missed 2nd spot by nine seconds having pulled back three minutes and 51 seconds on the rider who went out four minutes before him.

Sarah Bentley and Barry Drew sporting their UCI qualifying medals after their podium presentations.
Sarah Bentley and Barry Drew sporting their UCI qualifying medals after their podium presentations.

Neil Palmer then rounded the day off, becoming a double qualifier racing in the Team Chrono where he competed in team Velo One who picked up second spot against approximately 20 teams of four riders, in 36:54.

Local rider Chris Ward, who represents Team Swift, raced in the 50-54 age group, finishing in a time of 39:15 to take 23rd spot.

Sunday was the turn of the longer rides, the 67 and 100 miles Grand Fondo,which also count as qualifiers to Poland along with the equivalent road races for which a British Cycling licence is required.

There were also 100 and 67-mile Sportives, which did not involve qualification.

Conditions on the day were far more difficult than Saturday with what can only be described as a SW wind that at times felt like hitting a brick wall and a course that wound its way round the Fens and the former Alconbury airbase, turning the riders into a head/side head wind at every opportunity. To add to that, there were numerous short climbs and long drags, which made for around 1700 ft of elevation.

Two Spalding riders, Keith Seaton and Barry Drew, competed in the 67-mile Grand Fondo. Keith was in the 75-plus age group, and is due to reach his 80th birthday shortly. He became the club’s fourth qualifier, taking 3rd spot in an excellent time, given the conditions, of 4:50:00.

Barry Drew, competing in the 70-74 group, annoyingly missed out on getting under the four hours with a time of 4:00:46. His hoped for time of around 3:30 went out of the window with the wind.

Brian Johnson road the 100-mile Sportive and finished in a pleasing 6:25:00. Both Brian and Barry were unable to latch onto a group to ride with. Having no-one to draft, they rode most of the route solo.

On another front Frazer Wallis and Andy Bowser raced in the 36-mile Velo 99 race at Laughton. Frazer had a few attempts at breaking away, but the race ended up in a bunch sprint and Frazer took another 3rd place gaining one point, which puts him in top spot after six races. Andy was active all the race, making a few attacks and ended up with sixth place in the sprint.


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