Thames Velo Spring Road Races 2016
Thames Velo will be hopefully hosting two British Cycling Road Races in 2016.
2015 Race Report
Richard Hepworth (SportGrub Kuota) completed a weekend double when he sprinted to victory in the Thames Velo Spring Road Race on the Great Milton circuit in Oxfordshire.
The 28-year-old Yorkshireman had also won the York Cycleworks Circuit Race the previous day, and brought that form into the 120-kilometre Thames Velo event. But the Spring Road Race didn't quite have spring-like conditions, instead riders were greeted by a mainly overcast day that was brightened up by some exciting racing.
After 24 kilometres a breakaway of about 10 riders had made it off the front to pull out a two minute gap on the peloton, which after 50 kilometres was stretched to nearly three minutes until being pulled back to 1-35 with around 30 kilometres remaining.
On the final lap of the circuit, a group of three riders - Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis), Richard Hepworth (SportGrub KUOTA) and NTFO’s James Lewis - attacked the breakaway and put nearly two minutes between themselves and the now second chasing group of David Kingsbury (High Wycombe CC), Ryan Visser (Danny Shane-Storck Racing), Paul Londors (Arbis-Colbert Cycles), Craig Wallduck (Dream Cycling RT), Danny Axford (Artic-Tacx), Jamie Scott (Corley Cycles-Drops RT) and Joel Lewis (NFTO), whilst the peloton followed with a gap of about 45 seconds.
On the final ascent of Clare Hill, Cronshaw put in a big solo attack to distance Hepworth and Lewis for a while, only to be caught again where both riders upped the pace to ride away. Roger Hammond of Madison Genesis later reported that Cronshaw was suffering from an aggravated broken rib sustained in a crash the week before in Holland.
As the race approached its finale on the long energy-sapping drag up to the finish line, Hepworth and Lewis began the sprint with about 500 metres remaining, both putting in a gladiatorial shoulder to shoulder effort to the line which saw Hepworth take the win by the narrowest of margins.
Cronshaw was able to roll in, clearly suffering from the effects of last week’s crash for an uncontested third, and the start of an undoubted period of rest. Also of note was Danny Axford (Artic Tacx) who took a well-deserved fourth place and commented that he first raced this race way back in 1994!
The 3/4 cat race saw a very strong effort by the in-form Oliver Barbieri (Spirit Bikes Racing Team) to ride away from the peloton for a solo victory.
The bunch sprint that followed was marred by an apparent touch of wheels in the final few metres that caused James Riall (London Dynamo) to crash heavily with others coming down around him. Thankfully medical support was immediately on hand and no serious injury sustained apart from road rash.
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