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Race Reports - 30/03/15

30th March 2015

What a busy couple of weeks. The Totnes Vire stage race attracting a top class field of 6 Pro teams plus the cream of the UK’s 2nd tier teams, all set against a foul weekend’s weather racing around Devon. Stage 1 was a rolling profile, with early moves brought back as the Pros tried to get the right mix of riders in a break. Andy Feather managed to get into a very promising attack that had 1min advantage at one point, only for the chase group to reel them back. Eventually, the elastic snapped on the last lap, when into cross-head winds the pressure was really on. Andy and Josh finished in the 3rd group on the road as it all split up, 2 mins back on the winner from Raleigh-GAC.
The second stage was a criterium at Torbay Velopark, our weakest discipline! Raleigh controlled the first half of the race, One Pro took over and applied pressure continuously. The strong winds and nature of the course taking it’s toll on all but 18 riders! At the hour mark, Andy and Josh were amongst a group that got split off the back, and handed a 2 min time penalty going into day 2. Placing 30th and 31st, and with the hellishly difficult 3rd stage to come, all was to play for.
Heavy rain, 50 mph gusts and a serious atmosphere for stage 3 - around Doccombe, finishing on the brute, Hay Tor. One Pro now had the yellow jersey and controlled the first lap of 23 miles. The weather on Doccombe was savage across the top of the climb, riders drifting off the back, until a main group of 25 or so were left, including our 2. The 2nd lap saw a small group get away, building a lead of 1min 30s, however this all came back together for the final lap.The pace noticeably increased, the wind taking it’s toll with echelons and splits at the back, unfortunately Josh getting caught out in a small group spat out the back. Andy placed well in the main bunch as 4 riders got away, never to be headed again, with one lone attacker in between–on route to Doccombe then Hay Tor. At the foot of the 4-mile finishing climb, riders fell away until a 2nd group of 12 riders fought the wind and gradient. Andy tried initially to shake off a few and get away himself, a couple of guys attacking him, until, as the road became even more exposed to the howling cross-winds, he managed to get away from his group to finish a brilliant 8th, the only non-pro in top 12. This also meant a top 20 overall too, a brilliant ride by him in the toughest of conditions. A bit of an epic day.
On the same day, Emma and Lucy contested the 4 Firs TT, a round of the Kalas SW Women’s Series. 17 miles, including a climb to Woodbury common and descent back to Exeter was tough into the howling Devon winds. At the end of it all, Emma placed 5th, Lucy 10th, great results for both on a testing day. The Torbay Velopark hosted a women’s race, pre stage 2 for the Totnes Vire circuit race. Alex dealt with the strong winds brilliantly, covering attacks and being vigilant throughout, finishing a very good 5th. Sam contested a 25 mile TT in Cambridge, but was slightly unfortunate in that he encountered the worst of the day’s conditions, however 8th is a very good outcome as the TT season gets into full swing. 
The previous week, Bethan rode the hilly Tavistock 25 mile TT, taking a very good win, somewhat surprising herself! Obviously having some good climbing form and honing her TT technique, this bodes very well for the season, a great result.
The Betty Pharoah RR in South Wales again attracted a high quality field, Pro teams looking to throw down early season markers. Oscar was active throughout, looking to get in a promising break all day. However NFTO and One Pro dominated, eventually our guys finishing in the main bunch.