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Latest Results - 2014

Archived results and reports

Sunday 29th June - BC Westerley Crits, Hillingdon

Nick Silva raced in the 4th category race and enjoyed a strong performance towards the front throughout the race. However on the final lap a prolonged effort on the front left him with little in reserve to contest the sprint. In the 3rd category race Jon Shillingford, Paul Buckley and Mickael Metayer put in plenty of endeavour at the front whilst the majority of the peloton allowed the head of the group to do all the chasing. All three Thames Velo finished well amongst the group but out of the points.

Saturday 28th June - BC Hillingdon RR, Oakley

Wet roads caused problems for Rob Mosley in another rain soaked road race which saw him involved in a crash in the early stages of the race that put an end to his day.

Thursday 26th June - SCRL Handicap, South Nutfield

Rob Mosley and Mickael Metayer braved the rain to race in the Surrey League handicap series. Mosley dropped from his group and managed to join the faster chasing bunch behind to stay with the race as all the groups were caught to form one peloton. As the race approached the final hill a crash caused problems for some but both Mosley and Metayer avoided mishap to finish safely amongst the group.

Wednesday 25th June - BC Eelmore & SCRL Dunsfold Park

Phil Mosley and John Shillingford were in action on the Eelmoor circuit. Shillingford finishing in the bunch.

Nick Silva and Paul Buckley raced the veteran series at Dunsfold. Silva was not feeling the form and early on in the race dropped off the pace leaving Buckley, who was riding strongly and confident for a good finish. However, disappointment struck when on the penultimate lap a puncture forced Buckley to abandon the race.

Tuesday 24th June - BC Hillingdon Crit. & Goodwood Handicaps

Matt Fredrickson and John Shillingford were at Hillingdon for the Tuesday evening crit. Fredrickson mixed up his tactics in the race by attacking off the front at times, joining a mini breakaway and, feeling strong, deliberately dropping to the back of the bunch to work his way back to the front and finishing mid bunch. Shillingford rode a good tactical race by monitoring a three man breakaway and when an attempt to bridge across was made, Shillingford jumped as well to follow to gap the peloton and roll across the line in a creditable 4th place.

Andy Brown was tantalisingly close to success in the staggered handicap race at the Goodwood motor circuit. Brown's group worked well together managing to stay away from the chasing groups behind but with only 500 metres to the line, the chasing group just managed to catch and sweep them up to steal the points.

Monday 23rd June - ACU Ludgershall Summer Series - Wiltshire

Paul Buckley took the Thames Velo jersey further afield to Wiltshire to race the Ludgershall summer race series. The feeling amongst the peloton appeared to be negative as every attack prompted warning shouts from someone and a frantic chase to bring everything back together. For Buckley a comfortable race amongst the group but on the final lap he found himself blocked in and unable to threaten the points.

Sunday 22nd June - Kenton RR, Mentmore

Tom Burnley and Matt Fredrickson raced in the Ginger Smallwood road race near to Leighton Buzzard. The race on narrow roads and a full field of riders made for a tough race and Fredrickson found himself unable to move forward and avoid the gaps created by flagging riders ahead of him. Fredrickson ultimately paid the price by working hard to close the gaps too many times and was himself shelled out the back later in the race. Burnley raced to his strengths coping well with the climbs and on the final lap put in a strong attack to distance himself from the chasing pack. However, before the sprint he was reeled back in to finish outside the points.

Saturday 21st June - Cycle Live Omnium

Jon Shillingford travelled to Nottingham to race the one day three stage event that included an Individual Time Trial, Devil Elimination race and a Scratch race. Accepting that the the time trial was probably his weakest discipline, Shillingford put in a powerful effort to gain maximum time before racing to his strengths in the later events. Next followed the Devil Race that eliminated the last four riders of each lap. Shillingford rode well tactically, sheltering near to the back but making small efforts to stay ahead of the eliminated riders. However a small gap eventually developed that left too much ground to close and he was eventually eliminated but in the top twenty riders. The last race was the Scratch race which was split into two groups and having gained enough points on General Classification (GC), Shillingford was seeded in the top fifty riders. The race was fast from the start and barely eased up throughout the race, Shillingford finished amongst the bunch in 26th and overall was 35th on GC.

Friday 20th June - Dunsfold 4ths & BMCC TTT, Silverstone

Andy Brown was again in action in his third race of the week, this time racing the Surrey League 4th cat race at Dunsfold. Andy finished safely in the bunch sprint at Dunsfold having been boxed in a little on the final corner.

Second claim member, Anastasia Welsh, representing RP Racing Team, took part in a nine rider team time trial at the Silverstone motor racing track in Oxfordshire. The team finished as 1st Junior Team and 18th overall from eighty teams.

Thursday 19th June - Lewes CC Crit.

Andy Brown took part in the third and final race of the Lewes CC Crit series in Sussex. Again the well represented local teams adopted deliberate tactics that kept the pace fluctuating to shell the weaker riders and maintain good position on the road. On the final lap four riders attacked on the last climb and managed to stay away to the finish. Brown sprinted with the main bunch to finish well in the top twenty.

Wednesday 18th June - Eelmore, ORRL & Dunsfold Park

Phil Mosley and Jon Shillingford raced in the 4th Pedal Heaven series race on the fast Eelmoor circuit. Shillingford felt an improvement on last week's race was achieved by racing with better positioning and both he and Mosley finished in the bunch.

Paul Buckley and Nick Silva both raced well but on the last lap Buckley, who had been in contention, had to take evasive action to avoid a crash caused by some poor riding which ended his race with Silva pulling up earlier in the race.

Tim Brass took part in the seventh race in the series to complete the race amongst the bunch.

Tuesday 17th June - BC Hillingdon Crit. & Goodwood Handicaps

Jon Shillingford went off hard from the start and got away from the pack with one other rider. After a couple of laps they were joined by another six riders who had chased to bridge over to form a good sized breakaway with the potential to stay away from the bunch. However, not all were prepared to put in their share of the effort and after about twenty minutes as a breakaway they were caught by the peloton. Shillingford recovered amongst the bunch and upon finding a bit of space during the sprint, kicked hard to get the power down only to snap his chain forcing him to roll over the line towards the back of the race.

Andy Brown travelled to the Goodwood racing circuit near Chichester for the Southdown Velo summer series racing in the company of ex-pro and Tour de France stage winner Sean Yates, as well as some of the top domestic UK racing teams. Racing alongside such prestigious talent all thoughts of winning points were forgotten and a case of just holding on not to be dropped. Once the peloton of eighty riders were all as one the pace picked up and increased with every attempted breakaway. With the pace so high, Brown battled hard to stay in touch with the back of the peloton and as the race progressed more and more riders were being spat out the back of the race. With about four laps to go a break of about ten riders managed to gap the group and eventually claim all the points whilst Brown was pleased to have raced well positionally to finish amongst the main peloton alongside the Elite riders.

Sunday 15th June - SCRL Kirdford & BC Masters, Hillingdon

Laurence Manning. Mickael Metayer and Tom Burnley took part in the Surrey League race on the tough Kirdford course with Burnley finishing the best of the trio in 21st spot.

At the BC National Criterium Championships at Hillingdon Paul Buckley finished well in 8th place.

Friday 13th June - SCRL Dunsfold Park, 4th cats.

Andy Brown was once again in action and this time joined by Adam Meads at Dunsfold. In the hope of staying away Brown initiated a solo breakaway but the pace quickened to catch him and remained high to the finish. With the speed high, on the final bends, the peloton was strung out in a long line and Meads managed to jump onto a good lead-out of riders to cross the line in the points in fourth spot whilst Brown finished amongst the bunch.

Thursday 12th June - Lewes Wanderers Crit. & MDCC Club 10

Andy Brown was the sole representative from Thames Velo in the Sussex race and had to be alert to ensure he responded to the tactics employed by the well organized teams who clearly had ‘battle plans’ for the race. On the second lap two riders from Crawley CC launched a series of attacks that resulted in an eight man breakaway with a gap of about forty five seconds. A chase from the Lewes team forced a split in the bunch and Brown was frustrated to find himself in the split second group and despite a few attempts to bridge across, finished in the bunch after witnessing some astute tactics from the better represented teams.

Over on the H10/2 course for the MDCC club 10, a fine display from Tom Burnley saw him finish in eighth place with a time of 22.51. Jon Shillingford, Paul Stonell and Ian Carswell also represented Thames Velo.

Wednesday 11th June - SCRL Dunsfold Park, Masters

Paul Buckley, Nick Silva and Tim Brass represented Thames Velo on a warm evenings racing and put on a good display of aggressive racing. Early efforts to create breaks came to nothing until midway through the race, Tim Brass attacked strongly to attract two other riders and formed a three man breakaway. Buckley sat in the bunch until Brass and his breakaway companions were caught and launched an attack of his own but with no other riders choosing to join him he returned to the shelter of the group. On the final lap Brass again attacked in a solo attempt to distance the group but on the final bend was caught, Buckley went for a long early sprint which initiated the sprint and crossed the line just outside the points.

Tuesday 10th June - BC Hillingdon Crit.

Jon Shillingford continues to impress in the evening races at Hillingdon with another good result of 5th place.

Sunday 8th June - Reading CC 50 mile TT (H50/8)

Mickael Metayer put in a gutsy effort in the fifty mile time trial completing the H50/8 course in 2.09.56 with an average speed on 23.1mph.

Saturday 7th June - BC National Masters Road Race Championships - Cublington

Paul Buckley represented the club in this 60 mile age category road race championship. In prestigious company Buckley kept himself in a good position throughout the race and on the short tough climb to the finish he competed strongly in the bunch sprint to achieve a very respectable eleventh place.

Friday 6th June - SCRL Dunsfold Park 4th's

Nick Silva and Andy Brown were both in position to finish strongly in the 4th category race until 300 metres from the finish, a rider in front cut across in the sprint to bring down another rider, also causing Brown to go over the handlebars to crash, ripping his jersey and causing ‘road rash’ to his back and arm. Silva narrowly avoiding the pile up himself. An unfortunate end to a race where Thames Velo were destined for a good result.

Thursday 5th June - Lewes Wanderers Crit., SCRL Handicap & MDCC Club 10

Andy Brown raced in the unfamiliar Sussex race on a flat but windy road circuit with some technical sharp corners which had the riders stretched out as the pace quickened with riders jostling for position. A few attacks to form breakaways amounted to nothing due to the force of the wind whilst Brown kept himself safely amongst the bunch. On the final lap the pace inevitably quickened dropping many riders out the back. The long sprint to the finish caught a few riders out but suited Brown who was able to stay in contention but was slightly hampered by riders falling back during the sprint. Having gained experience of the circuit, this race could prove to be profitable for Brown in the future.

A good race from Frenchman Mickael Metayer and Adam Meads in the SCRL handicap which saw Metayer finish well in 21st position.

At the club 10 on the A4 west of Maidenhead, Ian Carswell was unable to better his personal best from last week, however second claim member Anastasia Welsh, representing RP Racing, put in a good time of 25.48.

Wednesday 4th June - Eelmore Crit., Dunsfold Masters & Middx. Club 10

Adam Meads had an eventful evenings racing with thunder, lightning, rain and pain inducing hailstones to make the fast circuit just that little bit tougher, and with the race splitting into two groups, Meads rode strongly to make the selection with the front group. However, a rare double puncture effectively ended his race on the spot.

Paul Buckley had a good race in wet and windy conditions that suited his hard and gritty approach to racing. With breakaways up the road, Buckley worked amongst the peloton to bring them back and finished in twelfth position.

Laurence Manning put in an impressive effort to gain second place in the Middlesex 10 mile time trial with a 23.18, sixteen seconds off the winning time.

Tuesday 3rd June - BC Hillingon Crit.

Jon Shillingford put in another strong performance to finish 6th in the 3/4 category race.

Sunday 1st June - Woodcote RR & Hillingon GP

A four man Thames Velo team of Laurence Manning, Tom Burnley, Mickael Metayer and Paul Adams raced the challenging Woodcote circuit in Oxfordshire. A few attempts were made by other riders to form a breakaway but on the whole the race stayed together finishing in a tough uphill sprint. Manning found himself trapped behind riders who were tiring as they made for the line but managed to manoeuvre past them to come in just outside the points but pleased with a strong performance in a hilly race not suited to his racing style.

At Hillingdon and his third race of the week Nick Silva was joined by Steve Green and recent new addition to Thames Velo, Jon Shillingford, the latter dominant throughout to the front of the race and ultimately rewarded with a very well deserved seventh place and more BC points.

Friday 30th May - Oxford Road Race League & Dunsfold Park 4ths

Phil Mosley and Tom Burnley raced at Weston-on-the-Green in Oxfordshire, a circuit that made progressing through the pack difficult due to the narrow road width. For Mosley it was a comfortable race which in hindsight might have produced a better result had he contested the sprint. However for Burnley, a crash put an end to his race.

Over at Dunsfold, after feeling the pace in Wednesday’s race, Nick Silva, joined by Andy Brown, were pleased to race strongly and both managed to put in good efforts to finish safely in the bunch.

Thursday 29th May - Surrey League Handicap (Dunsfold) & MDCC Club 10 Time Trial (H10/2)

The handicap races require the weaker riders to start first followed by other groups until the strongest riders start last. Laurence Manning is obviously gaining a strong reputation as he was placed in the last to start with Mickael Metayer starting a group ahead. Shortly into the race Manning’s group had split to a bunch of six and in catching the previous groups, Metayer launched an attack giving Manning the opportunity to reserve energy in the chasing group. Eventually Metayer was reeled back in and Manning able to contest for the sprint frustratingly finishing just outside the points.

Anastasia Welsh and Ian Carswell produced good times in the MDCC Club 10 with Carswell achieving a personal best of 26:58

Wednesday 28th May - Pedal Heaven Eelmore Crits & Hillingdon Masters

Paul Adams took part in the first race of the Pedal Heaven series at the Eelmore circuit putting in a good effort for the first part of the race before feeling the pace and dropping from the group.

For Nick Silva and Paul Buckley at Hillingdon, the same race produced different results. Silva struggled to maintain the pace whilst Buckley finished comfortably with the main bunch.

Saturday 17th May - South East Road Race Championship

Anastasia Welsh representing RP Racing Team took part in a very fast paced race that ultimately saw her crashing out whilst part of a breakaway and unable to rejoin the race due to a mechanical issue.

Friday 16th May - Dunsfold Park 4ths

Adam Meads, Paul Adams and Nick Silva raced the 4th category race that saw a nasty crash occur in the sprint in the final 100m.

Thursday 15th May - Surrey League Handicap Series - Race 4

Mickael Metayer and Laurence Manning travelled down to Newchapel near Gatwick for Race 4 of the Surrey League Handicap race. The relatively flat course suited Manning and setting off in the penultimate group he was able to work well with the other riders to catch the earlier groups with two laps to go. In the sprint Manning went a little too early and was unable to hold on to gain any points. For the club 10's, Paul Stonell and Russell Smith entered the Maidenhead CC 10 mile Time Trial with Stonell finishing in the top 10 positions with a time of 24.10.

Wednesday 14th May - Dunsfold Park Vets Series - Race 2

Compared to last week, Paul Buckley raced in warm conditions with very little wind for race 2 of the veterans’ series. Two riders attacked from the gun without much interest from the peloton until a large enough gap opened that the pace was increased to pull them back in. Without the wind, the race stayed together ending in a fierce bunch sprint that saw Buckley finish amongst the group.

Tuesday 13th May - BC West Thames, Hillingdon

Tuesday night racing at Hillingdon is more of a training race due to the fact that there are no points awarded but, whilst the majority of Thames Velo held their regular Tuesday evening ‘chain gang’ training ride, Rob Mosely took the trip to Hillingdon to use the race for some top end training with some of the Elite riders from the prominent teams. Elsewhere, Clark Anderson took part in the New Forest CC 25 mile time trial and despite not having the benefit of aerodynamic bike or equipment, managed to achieve a top ten result with a time of 1.06.32.

Friday 9th May - Surrey League Dunsfold 4th Category Race

In a race hosted by Thames Velo, Andy Brown, Paul Adams, Phil Mosely and Adam Meads raced on the exposed Dunsfold circuit, which was made all the more challenging due to a relentless gusting wind that kept all but the brave to chance an attack from the peloton, which is exactly what Phil Mosely did along with another rider to attempt a two-up breakaway. With Mosely away up the road, Adams, Brown and Mead stayed sheltered amongst the group allowing the other teams to do the work into the wind until Mosely was eventually caught. At the conclusion of the race Brown was able to stay with the sprinters to add to last weeks points tally with a 10th place, whilst Adams was unable to contest having unshipped his chain and Mosely and Meads finishing within the bunch.

Thursday 8th May - InGear QuickVit Dunsfold Park Vets Series, Race 1

Paul Adams and Nick Silva took part in the first race of the highly competitive veterans’ series at Dunsfold Park. For Adams it was his first initiation into vets racing and any predisposed notion that vets racing means slow racing was quickly quashed when the speed of the first lap immediately split the group. For Silva it was his first race since returning from illness and was encouraged to build on his form having finished the fast paced race after a long period off the bike. Competing in time trials, Martin Porter battled a grueling head wind in the Maidenhead CC evening 10 time trial, whilst Clark Anderson entered the Crabwood CC time trial on his road bike near Winchester to produce an impressive time of 25.19 into a strong wind.

Saturday 3rd May – Monday 5th May - Condor Cycles London Three Day Stage Race

A four man Thames Velo team made up of Laurence Manning, Rob Mosely, Clark Anderson and Paul Buckley raced 150 miles over three days at three different circuits with the winner being the fastest culminated time over the three events. Day one saw the team race at the new Lee Valley Velo Park in the shadow of the Olympic Velodrome, before travelling to Kent for day two at the Cyclopark and finally day three at the familiar circuit at Hillingdon. The three days provided some extremely tough racing and in the final general classification, Laurence Manning was best placed for the Velo in a very respectful 27th position.

Monday 5th May. Hillingdon 4th Category Support Race

Andy Brown and Phil Mosely made the Bank Holiday trip to Hillingdon and were joined by a sizable group of Velo who had ridden out to watch and support. The race was brisk from the start but stayed mostly together and in the final burst for the line, Andy Brown was able to stay with the sprinters and finish amongst the points in 10th spot.

Women's Racing

Racing for her RP Racing Team but very much part of the Thames Velo family, our second claim Anastasia Welsh had a good weekend of points grabbing by coming 5th on Saturday at Hog Hill, and on Monday saw her racing the support race for Women’s Bedford Three Day Race where she rode strongly to take an excellent 2nd place.

Saturday 3rd May – BIG Events Race 1, Hillingdon

A very busy bank holiday weekend of racing had Thames Velo travelling far and wide to race. With the majority of Thames Velo opting for other races, Tom Burnley and Phil Mosely made the short journey to Hillingdon to enter the first races of the BIG Events series. Having recently returned to the UK having spent a few years racing in Holland, Tom currently enjoys the luxury of being an unknown threat to the domestic cycling scene. This proved very much in his favour when, with two laps of the race to go, Tom launched his attack and pulled out a large gap from the main bunch. By the time the chasing peloton had organised themselves to begin reeling him in, it was too late, and Tom crossed the line with a punch to the air for a commanding and convincing win. In the 4th category race Phil Mosely rode strongly to finish in the bunch but outside the points.

Sunday 27th April. Surrey League - Milland Hill

Sunday saw Laurence Manning taking the trip down to West Sussex to race the 3rd category Milland Hill race in atrocious weather conditions. Without any team mates to assist him, Manning decided on a tactical approach to the race and allow the well represented teams to chase the inevitable break consisting of four riders and sit amongst the bunch to reserve energy. On the last lap Manning and a rider from Redhill CC marked anyone attempting to attack, however a rider from the VC Meudon team counterattacked perfectly and got a gap. At the final ascent of the 25% climb to the finish Manning judged his power well and was able to sprint and hold off the chasing bunch to come 6th and gain more British Cycling points.

Saturday 26th April. Archer RC Spring Criterium - Hillingdon

Saturday saw more racing with the Archer RC Spring Criterium taking place at Hillingdon. Due to a crash in the race the E123 category race was cut short to thirty five laps. Thames Velo’s Rob Mosley started the race and sat comfortably in the bunch until halfway through the race when a crash forced him onto the grass to avoid it. After managing to rejoin the main group Mosley managed to position himself to the front of the group until a team from CSE Racing began to raise the pace causing the peloton to string out until eventually the bunch was split with Mosley unfortunately amongst those dropped. The race was won by Tony Gibb from the CSE Team who rode impressively for the win.

Thursday 24th April. Surrey League Handicap Race 1 – Staple Hill

With Spring now in full bloom the first evening races of the season began on Thursday night with the first Surrey League Handicap Road Race. The concept of the Handicap races is to allow riders from all categories to race together by starting the 4th category riders off first, followed by the 2nd and 3rds, and finally to the 1st and Elite riders with the plan of all coming together to race for the finish.

The race took place on the Staple Hill course near Chertsey instead of the usual Kitsmead Lane circuit which is still unusable due to ongoing road works.

Unfortunately for Thames Velo, due to only sixty riders being allowed to race, this meant a reduced team managed to sign on, and instead of a team of six riders only two, Laurence Manning and Mickael Metayer, got a place on the start line.

Both Manning and Metayer started with the 2nd cat group and quickly swept up the group in front before themselves were caught by the Elite group who immediately increased the pace and attacked splitting the bunch. Manning and Metayer rode strongly and stayed with the Elite group and, after catching the remaining groups, on the last lap, were still in contention and part of the lead bunch of about twenty five riders.

On the final climb of Staple Hill, and with the evening light fading, both Manning and Metayer were still to the front of the group and on the approach to the finish line Manning opened up his sprint a little too early and faded just short of the line to finish in about thirteenth position with Metayer a few bike lengths behind. The winner being Andrew Syme from the Primera UK Biking Team.

Thursday 24th April. Maidenhead CC Evening 10 Time Trial - Drift Road

Elsewhere on the same Thursday evening Thames Velo raced at the Maidenhead 10 mile Time Trial taking place on the Drift Road circuit outside Windsor. Of the forty two riders, Thames Velo had representation from Paul Stonell, Martin Porter and Ian Carswell. Paul Stonell placed highest in 8th position with a time of 24 minutes 20 seconds.

Saturday 15th March. Phil Corley Race Circuits - MK Bowl

Having emailed the organiser to confirm places were available, an organised gaggle of TV riders took to the motorways to race at Milton Keynes bowl in the Phil Corley Circuit races. Racers included, Anastasia Welsh, Rob Mosley, Phil Mosley, Steve Green and Andy Brown. It was the first time at the circuit for us all and we were all eager to try it out; some with the anticipation of placing. The BC website indicated a field of 40 for the 4ths and 3/4th and 15 in the women’s E1234 race, however, as the starting gun sounded, there were approximately 60 in the 40ths and a full field of 80 for 3/4ths (Rob was temporarily on the reserve list) and around 30 in the women’s race. For comparison, I would say that a field of 60 at MK is equivalent to a field of 80 at Hillingdon because of the nature of the track.

The 4th’s raced a different circuit to the 3/4th and the Women’s E1234. The 4ths, is best described as shaped like a broad bean, with a slight gradient on the arc of about 2% both up and down. There is a straight section, which opens out into a much wider road; however, this proved to be the most hazardous part of the track as riders used the space to make ground, thus creating a squeezing point when the course narrowed. The route for the 3/4th and Women’s races, deviated and a challenging technical element was added on (which I have to admit, would have been disastrous if the 4ths did it).

The 4ths started first, and it started at a ferocious speed – I believe my fastest lap was possibly the first one. Immediately the dangers of the track became apparent. There seemed no safe line as both the inside and outside lines were being constantly squeezed. There was a lot of nervy and dangerous riding on show too – it seemed to be the first race for many. As ever, the safest place to stay was near the front, but with the open space on the straight it was very difficult to hold it – with other racers sprinting both sides. Within a few laps Andy and Phil hit the front as a one-two, unfortunately lapping Steve as we did so whom found the early pace too hard. Phil then used me as a spring board and went for a solo effort off the front. Phil held it for a lap but was eventually reeled in. Both Andy and Phil rode strongly and aggressively, with both making attacks off the front. With Andy making use of the gradient, had a couple of efforts at the front and in Phil’s final attack he was joined by another rider, but again they couldn’t hold the pace as it was so high. With 3 laps to go , Phil and Andy were both very near the front; at the right place. The final lap came and the pace rose, some crossing of lines put Phil on his brakes – end of sprint, Andy started to move on the outside but a dramatic crash bringing 3 riders down occurred right in front forcing Andy onto the grass and put pay to his efforts.

Next was Anastasia’s turn. The women’s field was strong and contained quality team representation, so Anastasia treated the race as experience for a bigger team race series ahead. The plan was to hold on to the elite’s for as long as possible. Within a few laps a split occurred, with 12 women, including Anastasia, in the break. Anastasia being one of only two 3rd cats in the breakaway; I believe Anastasia was pressed on to the gravel as the race unfolded so battled hard to hold the group. The pace was high and Anastasia held 4th wheel for many laps looking very comfortable. The women’s race had 2 primes, which I believe Anastasia wasn’t aware of. As the whistle for the primes went, the pace picked up and Anastasia dropped back a couple of wheels – probably wondering what’s going on! Primes over, Anastasia was back in the 4th wheel spot again. As the 5 lap to go board went up, naturally the pace quickened and some attempted to make a breakaway, but nothing stuck. Anastasia was still holding a perfect position right until the final lap. As the sprint started, Anastasia was squeezed out of contention just before the climb and eased up crossing the line with the group. A very strong race indeed and which was well commented on by the runner-up and elite riders.

It was now Rob’s turn in the 3/4ths. The field looked dangerously large as the gun went. The pace was intense right from the start and it didn’t relent. Within a lap or 2 the field was decimated by what I can only assume to be very strong downgraded 2nd cats. With splits in the group forming, it proved impossible for Rob to find the right wheel to follow . Within half a dozen laps it looked like a constant stream of cyclists all going round the circuit at different speeds – must have been a commissaire’s nightmare! Rob then called it a day, and quite dramatically "placed" his pride and joy into the surrounding hedge.

Although the racing was fast and frantic, and somewhat dangerous, the atmosphere was terrific. The MK bowl offers great viewing, and there were lots of support for us all. Although, the coolest thing to be seen, had to be Anastasia riding on her rollers in amongst the spectators, next to the start/finish line, whilst watching Rob race - real class - “liking your style”. Cool

Saturday 8th February. Imperial Winter Series/MOD Chertsey/Preston Park

The Thames Velo jersey was prevalent at three different races on Saturday. Steve Green was the sole representative at Hillingdon for the final race in the Imperial Winter Series while closer to home, Andy Brown and Paul Adams raced in the 4th category race organised by London Dynamo at the Longcross Test Track in Chertsey. A fierce headwind down the long finishing straight kept the group together for most of the race, apart from one solitary lone rider who made a strong break to stay away and claim victory. Both Brown and Adams finished within the main group, however Brown remarked afterwards that the course suits his racing style and in retrospect he might have attempted a move, and is looking forward to racing the course again next week.

In the 3rd cat race, Laurence Manning, Mickael Metayer, Rob Mosley and Tom Burnley lined up alongside the Elites, 1st and 2nd cat racers. The conditions made the race challenging for all, particularly with the strong wind spraying pain inducing hail stones into the rider’s faces and combined with the fast pace, Mosley racing in his first 3rd cat race found the going tough. Manning however, again showed that his form is still on the ascendency by again placing amongst the points while Metayer and Burnley finished comfortably within the main group.

Further afield in Sussex, Phil Mosley and Clark Anderson took part in the Apres Winter League 4th cat race at Preston Park. In a fast paced race, Mosley kept the speed high by putting in some hard work on the front of the bunch. With Mosely doing the pulls, Anderson sat sheltered within the bunch and able to reserve his energy for the bunch sprint. Anderson timed his kick nearly to perfection and was able to take a fantastic second place while Mosley was rewarded for his hard work by coming in 10th spot and getting his first points of the season. Anderson has now accrued enough points to gain his 3rd cat licence and will be moving up to join what is fast becoming a very strong Thames Velo 3rd cat team ready for the Spring road races.

Imperial Winter Series Race 9 & Preston Park - Saturday 25th January

After last weeks 8th position at Hillingdon, Thames Velo's Rob Mosley decided to head South to Sussex to see if he could add to his tally of points by racing the Après Winter Series at Preston Park. Conditions were favourable being dry and sunny with just a little wind and Rob placed himself near to the front of the group of twenty-five riders. About ten minutes into the race Rob kicked hard in an attack hoping to tempt other riders to join him but with little interest he returned to the bunch. The race pace ebbed and flowed allowing occasional attacks from others, but Rob worked well with riders from London Dynamo and Ipswich CC to control the race and pull back the breakaways. As the race began to climax Rob put in strong efforts to stay in the front ten riders which proved a wise tactic as it avoided a crash directly behind Rob's wheel. With a fast sprint to the line Rob held on strongly to come 4th and gain more valuable points.

Closer to home at Hillingdon, Andy Brown was accompanied by fellow Thames Velo rider, Steve Green in Race 9 of the 4th Category race of the Imperial Winter Series. For Steve this was his first race of the series and inevitably struggled to find his racing legs on the first outing. Andy, however, has raced most of the series and finished comfortably within the pack, using the early season races as preparation for the hillier road races later in the season.

Andy Fowkes and Mickael Metayer represented the Velo in the 3rd Cat race and saw Mickael using his attacking style to join the breakaways and string the race out, finishing comfortably in the bunch but outside the points.

Race Report - Imperial Winter Series - Race 7 Saturday 11th January

In stark contrast to the weather in recent weeks Race 7 of the Imperial Winter Series held perfect racing conditions with a clear blue sky and a mild wind.

Lining up in the 4th Category race was a full field of 60+ riders with representation from Thames Velo in Andy Brown and Clark Anderson as well as, in her first race for the Velo, 17 year old junior, Anastasia Welsh from Slough.

The race started at a steady pace before rising to a high average speed of about 25mph which effectively prevented anyone making an attack from the front.

Brown and Anderson adopted the tactic of reserving energy within the main group whilst Anastasia kept too the front and, despite her diminutive stature compared to the men, responded fearlessly to any surges of pace to maintain her commanding position.

With five laps to go Anderson began to gain ground on the outside of the pack but, despite a strong ride in the final lap, was unable to move up finding himself blocked by the large field and both himself and Brown finished comfortably within the pack.

Anastasia’s tactic however worked better on the day and by moving up through the pack, she found herself on the inside of the bunch and skillfully positioned herself to be in contention for the bunch sprint, impressively finishing in 18th position of a field of 60+ racers.

Over the winter Anastasia has been training with Thames Velo and improving rapidly to show her huge racing potential. This hasn’t gone unnoticed and Anastasia has been ‘spotted’ by a woman’s development team and has signed a contract to join them full time imminently. Until she begins her tenure with her new team, Thames Velo are delighted that she has chosen to represent the Velo in races before moving on to hopefully start a very successful racing career.

Preston Park - January 11th - 4th Cat

Admittedly I drifted towards Preston Park partly to explore something new and also to avoid the 60+ peloton at Hillingdon.

Pre race was very straight forward; it's an easy journey (about 1:15) and there was street parking just 30 metres away from the entrance to the velodrome. I arrived around 1020 and set about building the bike and sorting myself out - I'd forgotten shoes covers but with bright sunshine I figured it wouldn't really matter.

Normal registration process ensued and thereafter there was a short wait for the juniors to finish up. The 4ths were given a 5 minute warm up session and then we all gather at the line. A few extra safety remarks; watch the moss on the corners (aka Laurence's slip) and be aware of the ebb and flow of the track past the start/finish line. The race compiled of about 25-30 riders (I guess) and the largest groups were from Kingston Wheelers and Crawley Wheelers (about 4-5 each).

We were given a rolling start and a second blow of the whistle to signal the start of the racing about half a lap into the riding.

My plan of this race was simple - I was going to sit in or at the back of pack and draft until the last 5 laps. I figured that there wouldn't be any breakaways and if there was I'd change tack mid race and try make it across the breaks with other riders.

As the race developed I was surprised by the changes in speed - far more than at Hillingdon, it was clear when the group was pushing and when it was not. I haven't seen my data yet (Garmin troubles today) on a pc, but my average HR was 151; power 225w. There were attempts at breakaways, but the front of the race was never more than a quarter of a lap beyond the back of the peloton - perhaps the weather helped. Quite a few riders were dropped however and we were lapping people on a regular basis. I'm not sure if this is different to Hillingdon or if it was just more noticeable in the velodrome.

At the quiet points in the race the talk was of the Cat 3 race at Hillingdon last week. People passed their good wishes onto Martin. There was also some debate as to whether it was 40 minutes plus 5 laps or 45 minutes plus 5 laps.

So from around 35 minutes as soon as I was on the back straight I was looking to see if the 5 lap board had gone up by the start/finish line - nothing for a few laps and then I spotted it go up - 5 laps to go. I quickly dropped to the back, drifted over to the right hand side and skipped past the group, moving into the front alongside a rider from Dulwich. So far so good, I'd drafted the entire race and had reasonable legs. The pace still didn't seem to bad, so I held the front and waited for someone to attack and jump on that wheel.

One lap later, I noticed vibrations from the front of the bike. Puncture. Not a slow one, I was riding on rim. Up went my hand and the group were good enough to let me drift to the right. Game over for me.

I watched the last 3 laps and a good sprint finish from the inside. A good race, I keen to go back and try again.

Imperial Winter Series - Race 6 - Saturday 6th January

Another mixed bag of success and sadness for Thames Velo at race 6 of the Imperial Winter Series at Hillingdon race circuit.

In the 4th cat race Thames Velo riders Rob Mosley and Clark Anderson worked a simple tactic where Mosley made the hard efforts to chase down the breaks leaving Anderson to sit amongst the bunch reserving energy for the final sprint. Throughout the race Mosley rode strongly, effectively sacrificing his own hope of gaining points, to ensure no breakaways were able to capitalise a lead. This allowed Anderson to race tactically until the final laps when he found himself in a commanding position near the front and able to contest the sprint to finish in sixth position and gaining his first points of the year.

Unfortunately, in the E/1/2/3 category race, Thames Velo's Martin Porter was involved in a nasty crash. The seriousness of his injuries led to the race being abandoned and the dramatic sight of the air ambulance landing on the circuit to attend to his injuries. Porter was taken to hospital suffering five broken ribs, a bruised lung and an injured elbow. Recent reports are that he is making a good recovery.

Further afield, Laurence Manning represented Thames Velo racing the Après Winter League race at Preston park in Brighton. Manning is having a storming early season by gaining points in every race he has finished. Unfortunately on this occasion the damp conditions caused him to slide and come off in the final stages of the race when he was in position to gain more points.

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